School of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Studies

Physician Assistant Profile

Physician Assistant: A Top JobPA student Jerry Schrier


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A profession in the health care industry has been ranked the 2nd best job in the country. 

They work under a doctor, but still diagnose patients. In most states, they can write prescriptions. But what exactly is so great about being a physician assistant?

USD physician assistant student Jerry Schrier was in the newspaper business for 15 years. He made the switch over to medicine, and according to Money Magazine, he made the right choice.

"It's always exciting to have your profession honored or picked as an attractive field," Schrier said. The ranking makes it an attractive time to be graduating, which Schrier will do in a couple months.

But it's also an attractive field for another reason. "Right now, the P.A. profession I think is getting a lot of attention because of the attention to health care," Schrier said.

And the need for more primary care physicians. "It's really putting more bodies into the formula of delivering more health care because we certainly have a shortage of providers," Schrier said.

To get your Physician's Assistant degree from The University of South Dakota, students must have a four-year bachelor's degree and then must complete 28 months of the P.A. masters program. So instead of 10 plus years to become a physician, it takes six to work right along side one.

"You have to be a team-oriented person, as well. You always work as a team. It's a physician, PA team and it always has been and always will be," Wade Nilson, Physician's Assistant Program Director at USD, said.