A physician is a licensed health care professional who diagnoses, treats,
operates, or prescribes for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity,
or physical condition.
A physician assistant ("PA") is a licensed health care professional who provides medical care under the supervision of a physician. PAs provide a wide range of care within the area of practice of the supervising physician.
A specialist assistant provides medical care under the supervision of a physician in one of the four following specialty areas: orthopedics, acupuncture, radiology, or urology.
A New York licensed physician has completed a program of medical education and received the doctor of medicine (M.D.), doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.), or equivalent degree. While New York State requires a minimum of two years of postsecondary education prior to medical school, most applicants admitted to medical school have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Medical programs include studies in basic and medical sciences.
New York licensed physicians have also completed a minimum of one year of postgraduate training in an approved residency program; graduates of unaccredited/unregistered medical schools must complete three years of residency training and pass a proficiency exam. In addition, licensed physicians pass a State-approved licensing examination.
Licensed New York physician assistants have graduated from a two-to-four year State-approved PA program; these programs often require two years of college-level course work prior to admission, although some programs allow entry directly from high school. In addition, PAs have passed a comprehensive licensing examination.