Skip links
PA Personal Statement Service


What is the correct way to write physician assistant? It all depends on context!

If you are referring to the physician assistant profession, it will not be capitalized. Physician assistant is a profession or field of work as does not to be capitalized when using it in that context. However, physician assistant should be capitalized if you are using it to refer to a specific physician assistant or the formal name of a physician assistant program.

Here are some appropriate examples of using the “physician assistant” without capitalizations and with capitalizations:

  • “I would like to be a physician assistant someday.”
  • “I wish to attend physician assistant school.”
  • “I am a physician assistant.”
  • “Physician Assistant John Smith will be seeing you today.”
  • “My dream school to attend is Duke University Physician Assistant Program.” (which is considered as one of the top PA schools in North Carolina)

The job title physician assistant is often abbreviated as “PA.” In the case of using PA as a substituted and shortened version of physician assistant, you will capitalize it. The term PA is technically called an initialism. The definition of initialism is an abbreviation consisting of initial letters pronounced separately. Generally, initialisms are capitalized and, more specifically, PA always should be.

Here are some examples of using “PA” correctly in a sentence:

  • “She works as a PA in dermatology.”
  • “I shadowed an emergency medicine PA during college.”
  • “I will be attending PA school this fall.”

It may also be confusing how to refer to these terms in a plural form. If you are simply referring to multiple physician assistants, a single “s” will be added to the end of assistant. This is correctly written as physician assistants. Using the initialism PA, this is correctly written as PAs.

Here are some examples of using physician assistant or PA in a plural form:

  • “There are many physician assistants who work at this hospital.”
  • “I have shadowed four PAs this year.”
  • “Physician assistants are great healthcare providers.”

When it comes to referring the possessive of physician assistant or PA, apostrophe “s” will be added to the end. The possessive form of a word is used when describing ownership. This can be written as physician assistant’s or PA’s.

Here are some examples of using physician assistant or PA in a possessive form:

  • “The PA’s white coat is very nice.”
  • “The physician assistant’s attitude remained positive throughout the stressful workday.”
  • “The stethoscope belongs in the physician assistant’s medical bag.”

Combing both plural and possessive can be tricky. This is called plural possessive and can be used when referring to ownership of multiple PAs! This can be written correctly by adding an “s” to the end of the word along with an apostrophe.

Here are some examples of physician assistant or PA using plural possessive:

  • “The physician assistants’ desks are lined up along the far wall.”
  • “The PAs’ responsibilities in this practice involve seeing many patients.”
  • “All of the PAs’ demeanors have been welcoming and sincere during the time I shadowed them.”

One more tip to keep in mind while writing out the term physician assistant is to never include an apostrophe “s” after the word physician because this term is not plural or possessive. “Physician’s assistant” is incorrect in every scenario. If you include this in a personal statement, supplemental essay, or even say “physician’s assistant” out loud during an interview, you will most likely not be considered for PA school. PA programs are looking for applicants who are well-educated on the profession and who can always refer to the profession appropriately.