Physician Assistant Salary in United States for 2023
Average Annual Salary: $126,010 Hourly Rate: $60.58
Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API. Updated at December 8, 2023
Best Colleges and Universities for Physician Assistants in 2023
- University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PAIn-State Tuition: $61,71010644 students
- Georgetown UniversityWashington, DCIn-State Tuition: $59,9577395 students
- Yale UniversityNew Haven, CTIn-State Tuition: $59,9506535 students
- Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York, NYIn-State Tuition: $63,5308832 students
- Duke UniversityDurham, NCIn-State Tuition: $60,2446815 students
Best Online Degree Programs for Physician Assistant
Projected Job Employment for Physician Assistant:
|Projected Annual Job Opening
Physician Assistant Career Path OverviewA career as a Physician Assistant (PA) offers a rewarding path in the healthcare sector. This dynamic role involves working under the supervision of a doctor, and can entail a broad spectrum of tasks from diagnosing diseases to developing treatment plans.
What is a Physician Assistant?A Physician Assistant is a qualified healthcare professional who works under the supervision of a physician. They provide various medical services that would traditionally be performed by doctors. These services may include conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting tests, counseling on preventive health care, assisting in surgery, and writing prescriptions.
Education Requirements for a Physician AssistantThe path to becoming a PA involves extensive education and training. It typically begins with a bachelor's degree in a science-related field such as biology or chemistry. Following this, prospective PAs must complete a Master’s degree from an accredited PA program, which generally takes about two years. These programs often include classroom instruction in biochemistry, pathology, human anatomy, physiology, clinical pharmacology, clinical medicine, physical diagnosis and medical ethics. They also include supervised clinical training in several areas such as family medicine, internal medicine, surgery, prenatal care and gynecology, geriatrics, emergency medicine, and pediatrics.
Licensing and CertificationUpon completion of the educational requirements, aspiring PAs must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Once they pass this exam, they may become licensed by the state in which they plan to practice. To maintain their certification, PAs must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and pass the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE) every 10 years.
Skills Required for a Physician AssistantIn addition to education and licensing, PAs need a specific set of skills to succeed in their role. These include strong communication skills, emotional resilience, problem-solving abilities, and a deep understanding of medical principles and procedures. They also need to be detail-oriented and have excellent manual dexterity for tasks such as drawing blood or suturing wounds.
Career Advancement OpportunitiesPAs have numerous career advancement opportunities. They may choose to specialize in a specific area of medicine such as dermatology, emergency medicine, orthopedics, or psychiatry. Additionally, some PAs choose to pursue further education to become a physician or surgeon. Others may move into administrative roles within healthcare organizations or academia.
Job Outlook and Salary ExpectationsThe job outlook for PAs is quite positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of PAs is projected to grow 31 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for PAs was $112,260 in May 2019, with top earners bringing in more than $157,120. In conclusion, becoming a Physician Assistant can provide a fulfilling career in healthcare with numerous opportunities for advancement and specialization.
Physician Assistant Career Path Education and TrainingEmbarking on a Physician Assistant (PA) career path involves extensive education and training. This career path is intellectually challenging, requiring a strong commitment to lifelong learning and adaptation to advances in medical science and practice.
Undergraduate EducationThe journey to becoming a PA starts with a solid foundation of undergraduate education. Most PA programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in health or science-related fields such as biology, chemistry, psychology, or nursing. During this phase, students develop essential skills and knowledge in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and medical ethics.
Healthcare ExperienceMany PA programs also require applicants to have some healthcare experience. This could be in the form of medical scribing, emergency medical services (EMS), nursing, or other direct patient care roles. These experiences allow aspiring PAs to acquire hands-on skills and understand the dynamics of a healthcare environment.
Graduate EducationFollowing undergraduate education and healthcare experience, the next step in the PA career path is completing a Master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies. These programs are usually 24-36 months long and are offered by many universities across the country. The curriculum combines rigorous classroom instruction in biomedical sciences with extensive clinical rotations in various specialties such as family medicine, internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, and emergency medicine.
CertificationUpon completion of a PA program, graduates must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Successfully passing the PANCE results in the PA-C (Physician Assistant-Certified) designation, which is required for licensure and practice in all states.
Continuing Medical Education and RecertificationTo maintain their certification, PAs are required to complete 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every two years. Additionally, they must take and pass the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE) every ten years. This ensures that PAs stay updated with the latest advances in medicine and continue to provide high-quality care to patients. The education and training for a Physician Assistant career path is rigorous, but it equips PAs with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide excellent patient care in a variety of healthcare settings. The commitment to continuous learning and professional development is a hallmark of this rewarding career.
Physician Assistant Career Path ProgressionThe career path of a Physician Assistant (PA) can be immensely rewarding, offering the opportunity to work in various specialties, environments, and settings. This progression pathway provides a comprehensive view of the journey, starting from the initial education phase through to the pinnacle of professional accomplishment.
Educational RequirementsThe journey of becoming a PA begins with obtaining a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as biology, chemistry, or health sciences. Post-undergraduation, aspiring PAs must apply for a Master's program in Physician Assistant Studies. These programs are typically 2-3 years long and are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The curriculum includes classroom learning and clinical rotations in areas like family medicine, pediatrics, and surgery.
Certification and LicensingOnce educational requirements are met, graduates must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). After passing the PANCE, individuals can officially use the PA-C (Physician Assistant - Certified) credential. In addition to national certification, each state requires PAs to be licensed to practice; this often involves an application process and additional state-specific requirements.
Entry-Level PositionAs newly certified PAs enter the field, most start in general medicine or primary care positions. These roles allow them to gain experience and develop a solid clinical foundation. Entry-level PAs work under the supervision of physicians, assisting in patient examinations, diagnosing illnesses, and prescribing medication.
Specialization and AdvancementAfter acquiring some experience, PAs often choose to specialize in areas like dermatology, emergency medicine, orthopedics, or psychiatry. Specialization may require additional training or certification, depending on the field. As PAs gain experience and demonstrate competence, they may take on more responsibilities, lead a team of medical professionals, or even manage a clinic.
Continuing Education and RecertificationTo maintain their PA-C credential, PAs must earn a specific number of Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits and pass the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE) every ten years. This ensures they stay updated with the latest advancements in healthcare and medicine.
Leadership RolesWith extensive experience and expertise, PAs can progress into leadership roles within healthcare organizations. They might become medical directors, clinical coordinators, or healthcare executives. These roles involve managing teams, developing healthcare policies, and making strategic decisions. The career progression of a Physician Assistant is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Each PA can tailor their path to suit their interests and goals, whether they lie in clinical practice, research, education, or administration. With dedication and continuous learning, the possibilities for growth and success in this field are vast.
Physician Assistant Career Path Specializations and SubfieldsAs a physician assistant (PA), you have a vast array of specializations and subfields to explore. These subfields not only offer diversity in your work but also offer opportunities for continual learning and career growth. Let's delve into some of the key specializations within the PA career path.
Emergency MedicineEmergency Medicine PAs are pivotal in providing quick, life-saving treatments to patients in emergency departments. They perform tasks like suturing wounds, interpreting X-rays, and managing trauma. The fast-paced environment requires the ability to make critical decisions swiftly and effectively.
Family MedicineA Family Medicine PA provides comprehensive healthcare for individuals of all ages. From diagnosing and treating common illnesses to conducting check-ups and counseling patients on lifestyle changes, these PAs serve as a primary care provider for many families.
SurgeryPAs in Surgery assist surgeons during procedures, provide preoperative and postoperative care, and perform certain surgical procedures under the supervision of the surgeon. This subfield requires a high level of technical skill and precision.
DermatologyDermatology PAs diagnose and treat skin conditions, perform minor surgical procedures like biopsies, and conduct screenings for skin cancer. They often work in collaboration with dermatologists to provide comprehensive skin care.
OrthopedicsOrthopedic PAs play a crucial role in managing patients with musculoskeletal conditions. They assist in surgeries, perform joint injections, apply casts, and help with post-surgery rehabilitation.
PsychiatryPsychiatry PAs assess, diagnose, and treat mental health conditions. They often work as part of a team with psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to provide holistic mental health care.
CardiologyCardiology PAs perform physical exams, interpret diagnostic tests, and manage patients with heart conditions. They play a significant role in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart diseases.
OncologyIn Oncology, PAs manage the care of patients with cancer. They provide education about the disease, discuss treatment options, and provide support throughout the treatment process. In conclusion, the diverse specializations within the PA career path provide a range of opportunities for those seeking variety and continual learning in their work. By choosing a specific subfield, you can tailor your career to your interests and strengths while making a significant impact on patient care.
Physician Assistant Career Path Job Market and Outlook
The field of Physician Assistants (PAs) is an integral part of the healthcare industry. The demand for PAs has been on a steady incline over the years, making it a promising career path for those interested in medical services. This rise is due to several factors, including an aging population, advancements in healthcare technology, and a growing emphasis on preventive care.
Job Market for Physician Assistants
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. This rate of growth indicates a robust job market for aspiring and practicing PAs.
The job market for PAs is not confined to hospitals alone. These professionals are needed in various healthcare settings such as private practices, outpatient care centers, and even educational institutions. Additionally, PAs can specialize in various areas of medicine, including family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, and psychiatry, broadening their job prospects.
The Outlook for Physician Assistants
The outlook for physician assistants is quite positive. The BLS reports that the median annual wage for physician assistants was $112,260 in May 2019. Furthermore, the highest 10 percent earned more than $157,120. These figures point to a rewarding career path both in terms of job satisfaction and financial compensation.
However, it's worth noting that salary can vary based on factors such as geographical location, specialty, experience level, and the specific healthcare setting. For instance, PAs working in metropolitan areas or specialized fields like dermatology or cardiology may earn more than those working in rural areas or general practice.
Future Trends in the Physician Assistant Field
Future trends in the PA field also point to a growing career path. For instance, as healthcare continues to evolve and embrace technology, PAs will likely be at the forefront of implementing these changes, potentially leading to new areas of specialization and opportunities.
Moreover, as the healthcare industry grapples with physician shortages, particularly in rural and underserved areas, PAs are expected to play an even more significant role in patient care. This could lead to increased responsibilities and scope of practice for PAs, enhancing their role and importance in the healthcare team.
In conclusion, the job market and outlook for the physician assistant career path appear promising, with ample opportunities for growth and advancement. For those interested in a dynamic and rewarding career in healthcare, becoming a PA presents a viable and attractive option.