What Are Some Career Options for a Physician Assistant?

Training as a physician assistant can lead to a career in a clinic or a rural area, providing healthcare to those who need it. Physician assistants may work in hospitals in specialized areas like surgery, emergency medicine, dermatology, or oncology with additional training. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options

According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA, www.aapa.org), the physician assistant (PA) profession began in the 1960s during a shortage of full-fledged physicians and a drop in the quality of healthcare. Physician assistants took courses to help provide healthcare to those who needed it while working under a licensed physician supervisor. Today, the same is true. Oftentimes, physician assistants work in rural areas or in clinics that aren't as attractive to physicians who want to work in areas that pay better and offer more opportunities.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Median PayIn 2014, the median annual wage for physician assistants was $95,820.
Job OutlookEmployment in this field is projected to increase much faster than average; it is expected to grow 38% by the year 2022.
Entry-Level EducationTo get a job as a physician's assistant, typically one must have a bachelor's degree and related work experience. Some people who apply to be a physician's assistant already have experience working as a registered nurse or an EMT.
Similar OccupationsEMTs and Paramedics, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Physicians and Surgeons

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Clinics and Rural Areas

Physician assistants work under the supervision of doctors, in doctors' offices, or in hospitals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), they often work in traditional office-based settings as part of a healthcare team. Since clinics and hospitals in rural areas often pay less, they tend to have difficulty attracting physicians; physician assistants often work in these areas.

Specializations

Clinics aren't the only option for physician assistants. Physician assistants can work in doctor's offices and hospitals as well, providing specialized healthcare to those who need it. For instance, in hospitals, a PA might be a first or second surgical aide to a surgical physician. Further education and certification can lead to more and specialized career options. According to the BLS and the Association of Postgraduate Physician Assistant Programs (APPAP, www.appap.org), PAs can work in a number of specialties (with additional education), including:

  • Emergency medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Neonatology
  • Surgery
  • Occupational medicine
  • Urology
  • Critical care
  • Psychiatry
  • Dermatology

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Brightwood College

    Brightwood College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Brightwood College:

    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Baltimore, Beltsville, Towson
  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Virginia College

    Virginia College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Virginia College:

    • Certificates

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Georgia: Columbus, Macon, Savannah
    • North Carolina: Columbus, Macon, Savannah, Greensboro
    • Oklahoma: Columbus, Macon, Savannah, Greensboro, Tulsa
    • South Carolina: Columbus, Macon, Savannah, Greensboro, Tulsa, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, Spartanburg
  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next »