What is a Physician Assistant?
Career Description Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
Daily Life Of a Physician Assistant (PA)
- Supervise and coordinate activities of technicians and technical assistants.
- Obtain, compile and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination.
- Prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval.
- Instruct and counsel patients about prescribed therapeutic regimens, normal growth and development, family planning, emotional problems of daily living, and health maintenance.
- Order medical and laboratory supplies and equipment.
- Administer or order diagnostic tests, such as x-ray, electrocardiogram, and laboratory tests.
Skills Needed to be a Physician Assistant (PA)
When polled, Physician Assistants say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.
Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Related Job Titles for this Occupation:
- Physician’s Assistant
- Anesthesiologist Assistant
- Surgical First Assistant
- Anesthetic Assistant
- Physician Extender
Is There Going to be Demand for Physician Assistants?
In 2016, there was an estimated number of 106,200 jobs in the United States for Physician Assistant. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 37.4% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 39,700 new jobs for Physician Assistant by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 10,600 job openings in this field each year.
The states with the most job growth for Physician Assistant (PA) are Arizona, Utah, and Florida. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Mississippi, or Alaska. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Salary for a Physician Assistant (PA)
The salary for Physician Assistants ranges between about $69,120 and $151,850 a year.
Physician Assistants who work in Connecticut, Washington, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Physician Assistants in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$114,740|
Tools & Technologies Used by Physician Assistants
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Physician Assistants:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Web browser software
- Word processing software
- Spreadsheet software
- MEDITECH software
- Medical procedure coding software
- Epic Systems
- Healthcare common procedure coding system HCPCS
- Medical condition coding software
- Electronic medical record EMR software
- ChartWare EMR
- Teleconferencing software
- Teleradiology systems
How do I Become a Physician Assistant (PA)?
What education or degrees do I need to become a Physician Assistant?
How many years of work experience do I need?
Who Employs Physician Assistants?
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
Other Jobs You May be Interested In
Those thinking about becoming a Physician Assistant might also be interested in the following careers:
Those who work as a Physician Assistant sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:
More about our data sources and methodologies.