Utilize a Surgical PA

What do surgical PAs do in other specialties?

The American Academy of Surgical Physician Assistants (AASPA) describes the training of a Surgical PA and the variety of specialties that Surgical Physician Assistants work.

There is no “real” designation of a Surgical PA anymore.

A long long time ago (PAHx.org), there were surgical assistants or SAs, trained at programs like Cornell University Medical College Department of Surgery. When laws for Physician Assistnats were being developed, this small group of surgical assistants could not sustain themselves as a separate group, and they were grandfathered in as Physician Assistants. The NCCPA (National Commision on Certification for Physician Assistants) requires all PAs to take a national certification exam every six years along with cme requirements. The NCCPA also gave a second optional surgical certification exam. This optional exam has recently been dropped by the NCCPA and will no longer be offered.


There are currently ~130 PA programs, of these, only two have a surgical focus. Students at these programs have more didactic surgical training and a lot more clincial surgical training than at other programs.

Graduates of primary care based PA programs may begin working in any specialty and train “on the job.” Currently the AAPA reports that 25% of all PAs work in a surgical specialty.

While not a popular option, there are residency programs for PAs. Some of these residencies are specific to surgery, and one is specific to general dermatology.

These programs are listed at the Association of Postgraduate Physician Assistant Programs site.

The best training a Mohs PA can have is under a good Mohs Surgeon.

Imagine having a Fellow who never leaves you & only gets better in time. Someone you completely trust with your patients & your reputation. The Mohs PA will be a reflection of you and your practice. For this reason you have to adequately and openly train your Mohs PA.