Physician Assistants are in high demand

Physician Assistants in High Demand

The consistently rising shortage of physicians is said to be caused by the large number of retiring baby boomer doctors, physicians breaking free of the health care industry due to frustration with lack of insurance reimbursement and other factors that are leading to a substantive lack of primary care providers.

This is especially true of under served areas such as rural regions of the country and inner cities. Physician assistants are playing a vital role in filling the gaps and are currently in high demand across the U.S.

The job was born in 1970 as a response to all the returning soldiers from Korea and Vietnam. Now it is a key career in the medical industry and lauded as a big health care cost saver. There are 136 physician assistant training programs in the U.S. which graduate, on average, over 5,000 new PA’s every year.

Typical training time is between 24 and 30 months, depending on the program specifics and the education costs run about $1,000 per month per student (much more economical than medical school). Entrance requirements for a PA training program include a college degree and one thousand hours of work in some type of medical setting.

The physician assistant works under the supervision of a doctor and has a clearly defined scope of work which includes patient diagnostics, treatment, preventive care and prescribing medications. Physician assistants can work in general primary care practices or they may choose to specialize. The greatest need by far in underserved areas of the country for PA’s, are in general and family practices.

One career website ranks physician assistant as the second “hottest” career with an expansive salary range between $16,460 and $74,390 depending on experience. The site also states that demand in this extremely promising career is likely to grow by almost half, 49 percent by 2012.


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