Physician Assistant Career Options: A Top-Ranked Job with Outstanding Prospects!

Physician Assistant Career Options A Top-Ranked Job
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October 06, 2022 01:49 AM (GMT-05:00)
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If you’re a physician assistant or on the path to becoming one, you’ve picked a top-ranked career with endless opportunities!

There are nearly 120,000 licensed physician assistants in the U.S. as of 2022 (KFF). The career continues to grow, with expected growth in demand for PAs of 31% over the next decade (BLS). There’s no question that it’s a great career. Physician assistant was ranked No. 2 in Best Health Care Jobs and No. 3 in 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News & World Report for 2022.

Nationwide, physician assistants serve in clinical and non-clinical roles in various facility types and across all specialties and subspecialties. The versatility of the career is hard to beat.

Here, we’ll explore several routes you can pursue as a physician assistant through various:

  • Clinical roles
  • Non-clinical roles
  • Work environments
  • Career scheduling options

Physician Assistant Clinical Roles

Physician assistants have opportunities to practice across all fields of medicine – from general to highly specific. Plus, PAs can pursue certificates from various organizations in many of these specialties. Physician assistant specialty certifications include:

  • Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery CAQ
  • Emergency Medicine CAQ
  • Hospital Medicine CAQ
  • Nephrology CAQ
  • Orthopaedic Surgery CAQ
  • Pediatrics CAQ
  • Psychiatry CAQ

For more information on pursuing the PA certificate and specialty certifications above, PAs can visit the various certifying organizations:

In addition to the specialties above, other clinical areas physician assistants can consider are:

  • Acute care
  • Allergy immunology
  • Cardiology
  • Critical care medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Family medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Gerontology
  • Hematology
  • Hospitalist medicine
  • Infectious disease
  • Neonatology
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Pain medicine
  • Pathology
  • Primary care
  • Public health
  • Pulmonology
  • Rheumatology
  • School nursing
  • Sleep medicine
  • Sports medicine
  • Transplant medicine
  • Trauma medicine
  • Urology

Physician Assistant Non-Clinical Roles

Physician assistants aren’t bound to clinical roles and patient care. If PAs need to make a change to avoid burnout or mix things up a bit, they can get creative and pursue non-clinical opportunities like (AAPA):

  • Academics
  • Expert witness
  • Government and policy
  • Hospital administration
  • Insurance
  • Legal medicine
  • Media
  • Medical informatics
  • Medical writing
  • Research
  • Organizational leadership
  • Wellness coaching

Physician Assistant Work Environments

Although physician assistants may envision themselves working in hospitals and traditional healthcare facilities, PAs can actually practice in all types of environments. As a PA, you may find yourself working at an:

  • Academic research center
  • Acute care clinic
  • Ambulatory surgery center
  • Ambulatory/transport care
  • Cancer center
  • College/university campus clinic
  • Laboratory
  • Inpatient hospital
  • Government (VA, HIS, DOD, military)
  • Home health
  • Hospice/palliative care center
  • Otolaryngology
  • Outpatient clinic
  • Private practice
  • Psychiatric facility
  • Public or private schools
  • Rehabilitation Center
  • Skilled nursing facility
  • Substance abuse center
  • Telemedicine
  • Trauma center

Career Options for Physician Assistants

Physician assistants aren’t locked into permanent, salaried, full-time positions, though that may appeal to some. Consider the many options you can choose from to help find a schedule and work-life balance that suits your lifestyle:

  • Full-time or part-time
  • Day shift, night shift, or weekends
  • Salaried, permanent position or hourly, locum tenens assignments
  • Nearby work or travel opportunities

Which of the roles above can you envision yourself in? What work environments would bring you the most reward and joy? Do you see yourself working part-time or full-time? Working near home or traveling the country? Consider the many possibilities and picture yourself in each scenario to find your ideal match.

We’re here to help find the very best physician assistant position for you!

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