How to Get Physician Assistant Letter of Recommendation

A physician assistant letter of recommendation is a letter written by a recommender in favor of the physician seeking either a promotion or looking to shift jobs.

The letter clearly states the physician assistant’s specialties, work history, and abilities to give him/ her greater bargaining power to maneuver through greater job opportunities in the field. The primary purpose of a physician Assistant letter of recommendation is to explain the qualities, traits, and abilities of the physician assistant to increase their chances of getting considered for a job application or promotion. As a physician assistant, one has to keenly select a recommender who has adequate knowledge of them and can attest to their skills, character, traits, achievements, and capabilities. Selecting a qualified recommender to write the recommendation letter should be a well-thought-out process, and selection should be based on specific qualifications.

Who to Ask for Writing a PA Recommendation Letter

The person writing a recommendation letter should have close relations with the physician assistant to professionally attest to their qualifications. The physician assistant should consider a few factors when determining who to select to write their recommendation letter. These factors include the following;

Qualities of the writer

The physician assistant should ensure they choose someone with adequate knowledge about his or her abilities, work ethic, and expertise; for example, they could choose a supervisor or a doctor that the physician has closely worked with or known over a considerable time. Recommendation letters from people with old relationships with the physician assistant prove to have higher consideration in the shortlisting process; hence one stands a better chance of securing the job or promotion. In addition, the writer of the letter should have observed the working habits of the physician assistant and should easily be accessed or be contacted to give more information if needed.

Qualifications of the writer

It is crucial to choose a recommender with full knowledge of the profession of the physician assistant, to be able to write a relevant recommendation letter. The recommender should be someone with a seniority position in the physician assistant field; they could be doctors, supervisors, or teachers. A physician assistant could also choose a colleague they have worked with in the same position to write their recommendation letter. The idea is to get a qualified recommender in the field who can give a relevant testimony of one’s skills and achievements based on their knowledge in the field.

Examples of Potential Writers

There are several parties a physician assistant could consider keeping in mind the earlier specified factor of the relevance of the field of work when determining who to ask to write a recommendation letter for them. The parties include the following;

  • A nurse practitioner or doctor can be considered to write a physician assistant letter of recommendation because they are likely to have adequate knowledge of the physician assistant gained from their working relations. In addition, a nurse or doctor can also relevantly explain the skills of the physician assistant based on their qualifications in the medical field.
  • Another physician assistant can be requested to write a recommendation for a fellow physician since they have worked together for a while and can easily describe the abilities of the physician assistant.
  • Practice administrators can be contacted to write a recommendation letter on their behalf to attest to the qualities observed of the physician assistant during their practice. A patient can write a physician assistant recommendation letter upon request by the physician. The patient’s opinion based on the service they received from the physician assistant during their treatment can increase the chances of a physician getting considered for a job position they applied for.
  • The nursing supervisor in the unit the physician assistant works can also write a recommendation letter, detailing the skills and traits observed from the physician during their practice
  • A chiropractor or Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) may be, requested to write a physician letter of recommendation depending on how much they might have interacted with the physician assistant.
  • The medical mission trip supervisor can also write a recommendation letter for the physician assistant if one has been involved or worked under the medical mission trip supervisor.
  • A distinguished member of the AAPA, which is a national professional society for physician assistants in the U.S, is qualified enough to write a recommendation letter, detailing the skills they have observed in the physician assistant.
  • A clinically experienced tutor may also be approached to write a letter of recommendation.
  • Other parties such as senior personnel in an organization that the physician assistant is working with closely supervise the physician assistant’s actions.
  • A non-scientific instructor who closely supervises the physician assistant may also write a letter of recommendation for them.
  • A university graduate that understands well the duties of a physician assistant can write a recommendation letter, especially if they studied together and the recommender was able to closely observe qualities such as hard work and dedication towards the field of the physician being recommended
  • The physician assistant could also approach a program instructor through a research laboratory where he/she had previously worked.
  • The physician assistant may also approach a health advisor, pedagogical advisor, or a director in the department involved whom they know can easily accept to write a letter of recommendation for them depending on their relationship.

Who Not to Select

Regardless of how much someone might know or relate with a physician assistant, some considerations must be observed to get a reasonable letter of recommendation. The physician assistant, however, should never consider approaching the following parties requesting a recommendation letter:

  • Colleagues that do not supervise a physician assistant cannot write a physician assistant recommendation letter because they do not have direct information sufficient enough to attest to the physician’s skill set.
  • A high-school principal does not know a physician assistant’s professional background or experience hence cannot write a recommendation letter for them.
  • Family members cannot write a professional physician assistant recommendation letter because they do not have any knowledge of the professional practice of the physician.

How to Request for a Recommendation Letter

There are several ways you may use to communicate their request for a recommendation letter from various recommenders. This could be by use of sending emails, using phones, or meeting personally with the recommender.

Use of emails

The requestor should understand that requesting a letter of recommendation is a formal procedure and should approach it diligently by using professional communication methods such as emails. While sending an email, the physician assistant should first introduce themselves to give the recommender a better understanding of who is requesting the letter. The email should be brief, precise, and to the point.


Phone communication either via text or calls can be efficient for contacting a recommender to request them to write a recommendation letter, especially if the relationship between the requestor and recipient is strong and friendly to an informal extent. The conversation should begin with introducing themselves and the relationship they might have had with the potential recommender, followed by their request to have them write a recommendation letter on their behalf.  

Meet personally

A physician assistant looking to get a recommendation letter can request their potential recommender for a face-to-face meeting. One can send the meeting request via email or phone and state the location of the meeting.

Related: Sample physician letter of recommendation

Tips for Getting a Great Recommendation Letter

A few tips that a physician assistant should consider during the process of choosing a recommender and then obtaining the recommender letter from him or her. Some of such essential tips include:

  • The physician assistant should start tracking down their letters early because the recommenders may take a long to write the letters and submitting them, which could affect their chances of getting the job if the submission is done late. The physician assistant is also required to identify references with a broad appeal as this will make their recommendation seem authentic, hence increase their chances of consideration.
  • There could be an instance when the physician assistant’s letter of recommendation is required for admission into a school related to the field. In such a process, screening is usually done through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA), which considers the recommender’s credibility to a significant extent. Therefore, it is preferred that the requestor gets a recommendation letter from clinical officers stating their clinical experiences rather than getting it from academic references who have no actual knowledge of one’s working experience beyond a classroom. In addition, the physician assistant should ensure they choose a supportive team who can describe them appropriately and give suggestively good qualities about their efforts and abilities.
  • In case of a CASPA letter submission, a physician assistant should remember to waive his or her rights to review the final file through the option provided on the website as not doing so could result in signifying that he or she is not confident about the recommender’s opinions about them and consequently adversely impact their impression.
  • The physician assistant should also ensure not to request a hard copy of the letter from the writer as this would be burdensome to the writer.
  • The requestor should show gratitude to the writer of the recommendation letter by writing and sending them a thank you note after they have written a recommendation letter for them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should a physician assistant letter of recommendation be?

The recommendation letter of a physician assistant should be brief, with only the essential details being written down.

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