Physician Assistant Career - Salary, Duties & Job Information

Physician Assistants Career Description

Physician assistants practice medicine under the direction of licensed doctor. Many of these professionals provide diagnostic and basic health care for patients under the direct supervision of a physician. The physician assistant may also make house calls in certain states or when working in home health care.

Physician Assistants Career Specializations

After completing a 2 to 4 year accredited Physician's Assistant program and graduating with an Associates or Bachelors degree, a physician assistant can choose to continue their education and specialize in areas such as oncology, midwife (in some states), pediatrics, orthopedics and that's only to name a few. Such specializations generally mean an increase in earning potential and career advancement.

Physician Assistants Job Duties and Responsibilities

The full range of duties performed by a physician assistant will vary from state to state and with their individual laws. In certain states a physician's assistant is permitted to prescribe medication. In all states a physician's assistant is allowed to examine, diagnose, and in some instances to prescribe course of treatments for patients. Routine checkups are often handled by the physician's assistant and in some situations drawing lab samples. Routine charting on patient charts is a regular part physician's assistant’s job responsibilities.

Physician Assistants Work Environment

In rural areas but physician assistant may perform the role of the primary health care provider. This is a high energy job even though usually performed in a temperature controlled environment it will often require a lot of stamina and the ability to stand for long periods as well as a great deal of skill.

Physician Assistants Employment Outlook and Opportunities

Job Growth for the Physician Assistants

With the national concern for growing healthcare costs the physician assistant’s job opportunity outlook is predicted to be good. A doctor can with the assistance of a physician assistant provide excellent healthcare to more patients. This cuts the overall cost of health care and maintains the quality of care provided to a patient. Physician assistant careers are predicted to be among the top five in growth over the next seven years according to a 2006 US Department of Labor Report.

Employment Settings for the Physician Assistants

More than 50% of certified physician assistants are reported to be employed by doctor’s offices. It is also reported that many physician assistants hold more than one job. They may be required only to work part-time and hence rotate in a day from job to job. Certain private healthcare companies employ physician assistants as well. Those physicians assistants employed in this capacity may make home visits.

Salary Ranges For the Physician Assistant Professional

Earnings for Physician Assistants with 1 to 4 years experience are reported to be in the $65000 per year $80,000 per year range. Earnings for Physician Assistants with 5 to 9 years experience are reported to be in the $70,000 per year to $90,000 per year range. Earnings for Physician Assistants with 10 to 19 years experience are reported to be in the $72,000 per year to $95,000 per year range.

How to Become a Physician Assistant

The physician assistant will be required to have completed an accredited physician assistant program which generally includes an Associates or Bachelors degree as well as specialized areas of study.

Majors and Minors for a Physician Assistants program

The required Majors and minors for a physician assistant program of course vary and are set by the school. Most physician assistants programs require that you hold at the least an Associate degree with prerequisites and biology, anatomy, physiology and possibly chemistry. Some programs require that the student hold a bachelor degree with their prerequisites satisfied and the physician's assistance program is considered a postgraduate level program. The most important factor here is to ensure that the program is accredited.

Licensure and certification for the Physician Assistants

The successful graduate from a physician assistant program will find licensing programs vary within state to state.

Career Advancement for the Physician Assistants

Career advancement opportunities for the physician's assistant are dependent upon level of education, for example an Associate degree compared to a Masters degree as well as specializations. A physician assistant who specializes will usually find more career opportunities. Specializations can be pursued after graduation through continuing education and certification programs.

Physician Assistants Career Considerations

Physician Assistants are rapidly becoming one of the one of the quickest growing and best compensated profession in the health technology field. It can be a high stress job and highly rewarding emotionally as well as monetarily.

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