How To Become A Physician Assistant
Career Video: Physician Assistant
If you’re looking for a fast-growing job in the medical field with an excellent salary, you may be interested in becoming a physician assistant. Physician assistants practice medicine and work under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. You do not need to go to medical school in order to become a physician assistant, which makes it a great option for students who are interested in earning a master’s degree. Like physicians, physician assistants can make diagnoses and treat patients for injuries and illnesses. If you want to do a lot of work with patients and take on a certain level of responsibility, you may enjoy this role.
Why Become A Physician Assistant
If you are able to attend four-year college, but do not want to proceed to medical school (or you do not have the money or time), this is a good occupation to aim for. You will make more money and be able to carry out more procedures than medical workers who have an associate’s degree. There is a lot of demand, which means plenty of opportunity in the coming years.
Physician Assistant Work Environment
Physician assistants work in a variety of healthcare settings including clinics and hospitals. Some may also work in outpatient care centers, government facilities, colleges, or universities. Most physician assistants work full time. You will notice that the hourly rate for this occupation is high, though, so even part-time physician assistants have a chance to earn good money.
Physician Assistant Salary
The salary for this position is one of its best selling points as a new career. The median annual pay recorded by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2010 was $86,410, or $41.54 per year. The top 10% of physician assistants made more than $117,720. The lowest 10% earned less than $47,450. That is a pretty healthy range. Even physician assistants starting out can expect to make good money. The lowest salaries were earned by physician assistants working at colleges and universities. This is a typical salary trend which you will notice with other medical occupations as well. If you work at a hospital, you are more likely to pull in one of the highest salaries. Salaries are quite comparable across the board however, and no matter where you work, you will probably do well.
Physician Assistant Career Outlook
This job is growing at a rate of 30%, which is much faster than the average for all other occupations. This represents around 24,700 new jobs for physician assistants between 2010 and 2020.
Physician Assistant Degree
To become a physician assistant, you will need to have a master’s degree. After you attain your bachelor’s degree, you will need to do an accredited program to become a physician assistant. This may take up to 2 more years, and generally results in a master’s degree. At that point, you need to pass a licensing exam. Once you have your degree as a physician assistant and get licensed, you can start applying for jobs in this field.