Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.
Skip Navigation

In This Section

Classification & Qualifications General Schedule Qualification Standards

Physician Assistant Series, 0603

Individual Occupational Requirements

Series Definition

This series covers positions that involve assisting a physician by providing diagnostic and therapeutic medical care and services under the guidance of the physician.  The work requires knowledge of specific observation and examination procedures, and the ability to perform diagnostic and therapeutic tasks.  The work does not include the full scope of interpretation of medical findings requiring the full professional background of the licensed physician.  Physician assistants assist in the examination and observation of patients by performing such duties as taking case histories, conducting physical examinations, and ordering laboratory studies during hospital rounds and clinic visits.  As directed by a physician, physician assistants carry out special procedures; for example, they give injections or other medication, apply or change dressing, perform lumbar punctures, or suture minor lacerations.

Basic Requirements

All applicants must meet the following basic requirements for all grade levels:

  • Graduation from a physician assistant educational program, accredited by the Accreditation Review Committee on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) or its predecessors, at a college, university, or educational institution that is accredited by an accrediting body or organization recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education.
  • Successful completion of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) examination; must maintain status as a certified physician assistant, including completion of all requirements for continuing medical education (CME) and re-certification.

Education and Experience Requirements

Applicants who meet the above basic requirements may qualify for the following grade levels if they meet the educational and/or specialized experience requirements described below.

GS-07 (or equivalent): Applicants who meet at least one of the following requirements may qualify for positions at this grade level:

  • Completion of an accredited physician assistant educational program (certificate of completion, associate degree, or bachelor's degree); or
  • Completion of a bachelor's degree in a related health care or health related science and graduation from an accredited physician assistant educational program.

GS-09 (or equivalent): Applicants who meet at least one of the following requirements may qualify for positions at this grade level:

  • A minimum of one full year of work experience as a certified physician assistant equivalent to the GS-07 grade level and graduation from an accredited physician assistant educational program as described above;
  • Completion of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies; or
  • Completion of a master's degree in a related health care or health related science and completion of an accredited physician assistant educational program.  Examples of related master's degree programs include, but are not limited, to Master of Medical Sciences, Master of Public Health, Master of Biomedical Sciences, or other related major field of study.

GS-11 (or equivalent):  Applicants who meet at least one of the following requirements qualify for positions at this grade level:

  • A minimum of one full year of work experience as a certified physician assistant equivalent to the GS-09 grade level and completion of an accredited physician assistant educational program as described above; or
  • PhD or equivalent doctoral degree in a related health field and completion of an accredited physician assistant educational program. Examples of related doctoral degree programs include, but are not limited to, public health; allied health field; public health education; or other related health science

GS - 12 and above (or equivalent):  A minimum of one full year of work experience as a certified physician assistant equivalent to the next lower grade level and completion of an accredited physician assistant educational program is required.

Control Panel