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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.

Daily Life Of a Physician Assistant (PA)

  • Obtain, compile and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination.
  • Administer or order diagnostic tests, such as x-ray, electrocardiogram, and laboratory tests.
  • Provide physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures.
  • Prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval.
  • Make tentative diagnoses and decisions about management and treatment of patients.
  • Supervise and coordinate activities of technicians and technical assistants.

Physician Assistant (PA) Required Skills

These are the skills Physician Assistants say are the most useful in their careers:

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

  • Anesthetic Assistant
  • Gynecological Assistant
  • Certified Physician’s Assistant
  • Physician Assistant (PA)
  • Anesthesiologist Assistant

Is There Going to be Demand for Physician Assistants?

There were about 106,200 jobs for Physician Assistant in 2016 (in the United States). 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. There will be an estimated 10,600 positions for Physician Assistant (PA) per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Physician Assistants in U.S.

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.

What is the Average Salary of a Physician Assistant (PA)

The typical yearly salary for Physician Assistants is somewhere between $69,120 and $151,850.

Salary Ranges for Physician Assistants

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

How much do Physician Assistants make in each U.S. state?

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?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Physician Assistants may use on a daily basis:

  • 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)

Learn what Physician Assistant education requirements there are.

Physician Assistant (PA) Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Physician Assistant (PA)?

Physician Assistant (PA) Work Experience

Where Physician Assistants Are Employed

Physician Assistant (PA) Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Physician Assistants work:

Physician Assistant (PA) Industries

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:


Image Credit: via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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