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Becoming a Physician Assistant

Becoming a PA is so much more than a career choice. It’s a lifelong commitment to serve humanity. 

Most people don’t roll over in bed one day and say, “you know what, I think I’ll be a PA.” In fact, arriving at the decision to pursue a career as a PA is not one anyone should arrive at lightly. It requires a lot of thought, soul searching, introspection, and deliberation.

From submitting the CASPA to applying for state licensure, each milestone met is one step closer to affirming that promise to a lifetime of health and healing. Being crowned with the “C” that follows the PA title which indicates certification as PA, is much like placing a wedding ring on your partner’s finger. You take vows, promise to care for one another in sickness and in health, and on this day your journey as a couple really begins. Much like getting married, becoming certified as a PA is the true beginning of a lifelong pursuit of community health and wellness.

Caring for our fellow humans is no small feat. It demands courage, sacrifice, and discipline. Through countless hours of training, we pair the art of medicine with the principles and theories of science, set forth by scholars before us. We learn humility and empathy through the blood, sweat, and tears that come with caring for ill patients and their families. But most importantly, we learn what isn’t taught in the classroom or gleaned from books, we learn only what our patients can teach us, and that's to treat the person behind the pathophysiology.

Because when my health, when my life is in your hands, PA, you’re all I’ve got. You’re my one chance to defeat illness, to get back up on my feet, to keep enjoying the one shot I have at this thing called life. Please, see my eyes, hear my words, and understand my story.  I believe in you.

The PA profession was born in the United States out of the dire need for healers when the demand for primary care providers far exceeded supply. Through the guidance and leadership of Dr. Stead and the willingness of our servicemen and women, a new breed of healthcare professional was born. The PA.

In the face of this disparity, our early brothers and sisters of the PA profession rose to the challenge. To answer this call to duty, those before us overcame stigma, resistance, and conquered what seemed to be an impossible task. Fifty years later, we’re still here and stronger than ever.  But our job isn’t done just yet; we’ve got a long way to go.

We are proud to be PAs. We care about the health and wellness of the patients we serve. We are a partner in improving our quality of life both on an individual and community level. 

My name is Stephen Benton, I’m a second year PA student at Emory University, and one day soon, I will have the great honor to serve as a PA. Happy 50th Birthday PAs!

About the author:

Stephen Benton is a current PA student who was born in England, raised in Colorado, and now attends PA school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He began pursuing medicine as a career after completing his degree in performing arts and music, as he realized how much he craved having a more direct impact on the well being of his community. Follow Stephen on Instagram and visit his website at Don't forget to check out his You Tube channel here!