Physician Assistant in OBGYN: Job Description, Salary & Necessary Experience
Discover the background information to becoming a physician assistant in OBGYN. Here, you will find out not only the job duties but the salary, job outlook, necessary experience, and degree that is needed.
Career at a Glance
Physician assistants (PAs) in OBGYN are certified healthcare professionals who are able to provide gynecological and obstetrical care for women, including pre-natal, labor and delivery, and post-partum support. They diagnose and provide treatment plans for gynecological problems and educate patients on reproductive health. Check out the chart below for a brief overview:
|Degree Required||Master's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Physician assistant|
|Licensure||Must obtain a license by passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)|
|Job Duties||Examine patients; evaluate gynecological conditions; provide infertility treatment; initiate care for pregnant patients and their delivery|
|Median Salary (2018)||$108,610 (all physician assistants)*|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)||31% (all physician assistants)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Does a Physician Assistant in OBGYN Do?
PAs who are interested in women's sexual and reproductive health can specialize in OBGYN. According to the Association of Physician Assistants in Obstetrics & Gynecology, PAs are able to provide equal standard of care as a physician. Specifically, PAs in OBGYN are able to assess and treat gynecological conditions that can include vaginal infections, menstrual problems, sexually transmitted diseases, and contraception. They also work in obstetrics by assisting women during all the stages of pregnancy. Many PAs are included on teams that focus on evaluating and treating infertility as well.
What Are the Steps I Need to Take to Become a PA in OBGYN?
First off, you will need to obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Then you will need to start applying for PA master's programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission of Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). These programs are typically 2-3 years long and will include classroom based education and 2000 hours of clinical rotations in different specializations. You will want to make sure you get in as many hours as possible in OBGYN.
After graduating, you will take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) which is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). By passing this exam and your degree program, you can obtain your state license and begin practicing as a PA.
Do I Need Experience or Continuing Education Hours?
Individuals who pursue a career as a PA often have prior medical experience, which could include that of a registered nurse or clinical nurse specialist, possibly even working in the area of OBGYN. In addition, some PA graduates choose to gain further experience and training by completing a residency program. These programs can take around 12 months and will allow you to gain extensive experience in inpatient and out-patient delivery that could include up to 200 vaginal deliveries and 50 Caesarian sections. You'll also take part in rotations learning to perform gynecological surgeries and doing office-based gynecological procedures.
You will need to complete continuing education hours every two years in order to maintain your PANCE certification. You'll also have to take a recertification exam every 10 years.
What Are the Employment Statistics?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), states that the average pay in 2018 for PAs was $108,430 per year or $52.13 per hour. The majority of PAs work full-time, and 1/4 of PAs worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016. Some PAs work on-call depending on what kind of practice they are in. The job growth projection between 2018-2028 for PAs is 31%, which is above average. There is a big demand for jobs in the health services field largely due to the growing U.S. population.
What Are Some Similar Careers?
Becoming a physician or surgeon is a great option if you are interested in going more in depth with your studies by obtaining a doctoral or professional degree. As a doctor, you also have the option of specializing in OBGYN. Other avenues could be studying to become a nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, or nurse anesthetist where you could provide patient care and other primary and specialty healthcare services. More specifically, as a nurse practitioner, you would get to diagnose and treat health conditions and have a knowledge background in disease prevention and management.