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A physician assistant (PA) is a professional in the healthcare industry who, as the name states, assist physicians as a team and individually. Frequently, the PA provides patient care alone, thereby relieving the workload from the staff doctors. They perform a vital role in clinical and hospital settings where their qualifications may exceed nurses but are not on a par with those with an M.D.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook is impressive, with a projected growth or turnover rate of 31% for ten years (2018-28). The percentage computes to a change in 37,000 positions or roughly 3,700 each year . As of 2018, the BLS reported 118,800 employed in the country.

The number of PAs in the U.S. pales in comparison to the 3,059,800 nurses. This category has a lower expected growth rate of 12%, but a higher figure for job changes with 371,500. A smaller percentage of a larger total results in more anticipated openings in nursing versus physician assistants. Another consideration is the nursing data refers to those with a Bachelor’s degree, whereas the PA requires a Master’s.

A significant difference exists in the median pay. The registered nurse (RN) has an average salary of $73,300 (BLS), which is much less than the $112,260 for the PA. Using the BLS employment records, the PA’s job outlook will be better in these states based on the 2019 statistics:

  • New York: 13,270
  • California:  10,980
  • Texas:  8,040
  • Pennsylvania:  7,200
  • Florida:  6,630

Another statistic that may affect job opportunities is the concentration of jobs per thousand jobs. In other words, how many PAs are there per every 1,000 workers in a state? Here are the top five:

  • Alaska:  1.49
  • New York:  1.39
  • Maine:  1.37
  • Montana:  1.36
  • West Virginia:  1.31

Before packing your belongings to move to Montana, for example, keep in mind that there are only 640 physician assistants in the entire state! However, you may be able to find more affordable housing or rent than New York and still earn a median income of $112,330.

Most PA jobs exist in densely populated cities across the United States. Again, according to the BLS, the data support this premise. For example, New York-Newark-Jersey City area has the most PAs at 11,470 . Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim is a distant second with 3,460. The statistics for concentration levels, per one thousand jobs, by metropolitan areas, paint a different picture. The following illustrates this point:

  • Muncie, IN:  3.83
  • Ann Arbor, MI:  3.43
  • Asheville, NC:  2.92
  • Altoona, PA:  2.76
  • Beckley, WV:  2.51

Unfortunately, all of these cities have relatively low numbers for employed physician assistants. Beckley, West Virginia, has only 110, and Muncie, in first place, employs only 170 in the field. Therefore, the high number of PAs in a metropolis doesn’t translate to more possible job openings.

The popularity of a particular specialty may help, or it may hinder job prospects. If too may opt for a specific area in medicine, it could create a surplus. As an example, emergency rooms are attractive for aspiring PAs, as approximately 19% choose this branch of medicine. Close behind this choice is family medicine and general practice.

PA stats job outlook

However, by perusing online employment sites, like Indeed , you’ll see a myriad of postings for the profession. These positions include orthopedics, dermatology, urgent care, weight loss, Ob/Gyn, endocrinology, neurosurgery, pediatrics, and many more. The majority appears to be in clinics; however, there are postings from hospitals, spas, universities, corporate groups, and the U.S. Army.

Other sites, such as the American Academy of PAs is a valuable source of employment opportunities. As of August 2020, it lists 958 employers seeking physician assistants in all specialties.

The online employment site, SimplyHired, has a list of 3,874 PA jobs. Judging from the variety and the vast number of job openings, the unemployment rate for the profession must be meager. As expected, some require years of experience and training in a specific area of medicine. The requisite skills and knowledge depend on the essential duties and responsibilities of the job.

The job outlook for a PA is so promising that U.S. News ranks it second on its 20 Best Jobs in Health Care for 2020. Some of the criteria for the selection are the median wage, ten-year-growth volume, future job prospects, and unemployment rate. The latter is 1.1%, which is only exceeded by certain medical specialties as anesthesiologists, surgeons, and veterinarians. All of these occupations have an unemployment rate of 0.4%, according to the U.S. News report .

Additional Resources:

Top 25 Physician Assistant CCG电子竞技现场直播 Programs

Does a Potential PA Take the MCAT or a Similar Entry Exam?

Is Getting Into a PA Program More or Less Competitive Than a Med School?

Does a PA Have a Medical License?

What Level of Math Will I Need to Take? How Will I Use It as a PA?

Do I Have to Have Finished My Bachelor’s CCG电子竞技现场直播 When I Apply for a Graduate PA Program?

What undergraduate classes should I take to become a PA?

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