Physician Assistant Career

physician-assistant-500If you’re interested in becoming a Physician Assistant or PA, you’ll treat patients with a variety of injuries and illnesses. You will likely need to pick an area to specialize in and may work in a hospital or private office setting. About half of all PA’s specialize in primary care medicine.

The exact responsibilities of a Physician Assistant depend on the amount of education they have received and the state they reside in. Some states allow Physician Assistants to prescribe medicines while others do not.

Physician Assistant Snapshot

Physician Assistants commonly work in one of the following three settings; physician’s offices, medical and surgical hospitals, and outpatient care centers. Those that work in surgery spend much of their day standing. Physician Assistants need to be comfortable walking from patient to patient. Those that work in physician offices will likely work a 40 hour work week, while those in hospitals may need to work weekends, evenings and holidays.

The snapshots below outline physician assistant careers (statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average earnings for physician assistants per year.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Master’s degree, 30% have a Bachelor’s degree.

Physician Assistant Education

Physician Assistants will need to complete the proper training through a certified Physician Assistant program. These programs usually take about 2 years of full time work to complete. PA schools usually require candidates to have completed at least 2 years of college, however most PA school candidates have already completed a Bachelor’s degree.

Physician Assistant Job Outlook

According to the, employment for physician assistants are expected to increase by 30% between 2014 and 2024 which is much faster than the average occupation. The growth of the population as well as the growth in the aging population will account for much of the increase in employment for physician assistants.

Physician Assistant Salaries

Physician assistants are paid a fairly high salary. Even the lowest paid physician assistants earn $62,760 a year while the highest paid earn more than $139,540 a year.

Physician Assistant Job Duties

Physician Assistants work under the supervision of physicians and surgeons helping to treat patients. PA’s often perform diagnostic and therapeutic services along with the treatment of minor injuries. In most states, physician assistants may prescribe medicine. They also frequently order medical equipment and supplies as well as manage medical assistants and technicians.

Physician Assistant Career

Becoming a physician assistant requires special skills and abilities as outlined below.

Physician Assistant Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Physician Assistants:Typical Work Activities:
•Active Listening
•Critical Thinking
•Reading Comprehension
•Judgement and Decision Making

•Oral Comprehension
•Oral Expression
•Problem Sensitivity
•Deductive Reasoning
•Inductive Reasoning
•Central Venous Catheters
•Head or Neck Traction Supplies
•Spirometers or Accessories

•Getting Information
•Assisting and Caring for Others
•Making Decisions and Solving Problems
•Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge

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