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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.

What Do Physician Assistants Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Obtain, compile and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination.
  • Examine patients to obtain information about their physical condition.
  • Visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy, and reporting back to physician.
  • Supervise and coordinate activities of technicians and technical assistants.
  • 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.

Physician Assistant (PA) Needed Skills

Physician Assistants state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

Other Physician Assistant (PA) Job Titles

  • Doctor
  • Anesthesia Technician
  • Doctor Assistant
  • General Surgery Physician Assistant
  • Family Practice Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant (PA) Employment Estimates

In the United States, there were 106,200 jobs for Physician Assistant in 2016. 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.

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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 average yearly salary of a Physician Assistant (PA) ranges between $69,120 and $151,850.

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Physician Assistants who work in Connecticut, Washington, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

How much do Physician Assistants make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $92,880
Alaska $122,260
Arizona $101,590
Arkansas $99,280
California $117,230
Colorado $102,770
Connecticut $125,610
Delaware $105,300
District of Columbia $114,740
Florida $105,930
Georgia $103,190
Hawaii $121,120
Idaho $109,090
Illinois $108,260
Indiana $96,090
Iowa $110,550
Kansas $104,720
Kentucky $91,010
Louisiana $85,990
Maine $110,030
Maryland $108,180
Massachusetts $108,700
Michigan $110,240
Minnesota $116,200
Mississippi $81,130
Missouri $94,480
Montana $106,130
Nebraska $106,700
Nevada $116,850
New Hampshire $111,080
New Jersey $116,270
New Mexico $108,610
New York $117,000
North Carolina $104,680
North Dakota $107,340
Ohio $105,410
Oklahoma $104,200
Oregon $113,570
Pennsylvania $98,510
Rhode Island $103,710
South Carolina $103,710
South Dakota $102,830
Tennessee $87,700
Texas $109,590
Utah $102,710
Vermont $106,520
Virginia $99,340
Washington $123,980
West Virginia $104,180
Wisconsin $107,920
Wyoming $116,890

What Tools do Physician Assistants Use?

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 to Become a Physician Assistant (PA)

What kind of Physician Assistant requirements are there?

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Where Physician Assistants Are Employed

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The table below shows the approximate number of Physician Assistants employed by various industries.

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Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming a Physician Assistant might also be interested in the following careers:

Are you already one of the many Physician Assistant in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

Image Credit: via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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