What Does a PA Do? Physician Assistant Career Path & Salary (2023)

PA consistently ranks among the best jobs in the United States, yet many people are still unfamiliar with this health care career path. PAs—also known as physician assistants or physician associates—are patient care providers licensed to practice medicine in all 50 states, in every medical setting and all medical specialties. They work directly with patients, diagnosing injuries and illnesses, creating treatment plans and prescribing medications. In some environments, they act as principal care providers, and the scope of PA practice is growing in many parts of the U.S.

Even those somewhat familiar with this role may not be aware that PAs have one of the highest-paying and most in-demand jobs in the U.S. Many people are attracted to this health care pathway, not for the money, but because they can start making a profound impact in the lives of patients more quickly and for a smaller financial investment. Aspiring PAs in the University of Pittsburgh's 82-credit hybrid MS in Physician Assistant Studies program, for example, spend just under $115,000 for their degrees and can work as soon as they pass the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) licensure exam—no extra training required.

If that sounds like your ideal pathway into a medical career, keep reading. This guide explores what PAs do, how to become a physician assistant, Pitt's Physician Assistant Studies Hybrid Program, the skills PAs need and even more reasons people choose this career.

What is a Physician Assistant?

The answer to the question 'What is a physician assistant?' is defined by what they do. PAs diagnose, monitor and treat patients, and their status as "advanced practice providers" affords them relative autonomy in most medical settings. They see patients and make decisions about patient care in collaboration with a physician or surgeon, but that doesn't mean they do exactly what physicians (or advanced practice registered nurses) do. PAs train as generalists and the traditional physician assistant education emphasizes preventative care, patient education and broad didactic and clinical training.

According to the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), this lets physician associates "provide a wide spectrum of patient care and treat the whole patient. For example, during an appointment with a PA working in cardiology, in addition to discussing the patient’s heart issues, a PA might notice a skin condition and either treat it or refer that patient to a dermatology practice." PAs can also move between specialties more easily than other providers.

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The scope of physician assistant responsibilities typically includes examining and counseling patients, diagnosing illnesses and injuries, requesting diagnostic tests and interpreting results, creating treatment plans, prescribing medications, performing medical procedures and assisting in surgery. However, a PA's specific responsibilities will vary based on their professional experience, any additional training they complete, their specialty, where they work and applicable state laws.

The Difference Between PAs and MDs or DOs

Doctors and PAs both study for years and complete many clinical rotations to qualify for licensure, but MDs/DOs spend more time in school and longer in their clinical rotations before they can work independently. Despite this difference, they study many of the same subjects and hone many of the same competencies. The curriculum of MS in Physician Assistant Studies programs is similar to the traditional medical school curriculum, and the classroom experience of aspiring PAs and MDs/DOs is very similar. PAs also complete more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, psychiatry and pediatrics.

What's important to understand is that most people don't decide to become a PA after deciding not to become an MD or DO. They choose this career path because they want to work directly with patients and see how physician assistants can positively impact the health care field. MDs, DOs and PAs work collaboratively in most settings, and studies show that PAs increase access to care, make care more cost-effective and make practices more efficient.

The most significant difference between PAs and MDs or DOs may be that PAs work under the oversight of physicians or surgeons even though all three types of providers provide direct patient care. The level of management PAs receive from supervising physicians varies by state and by facility. In some settings, a physician assistant's responsibilities may be identical to that of MDs or DOs on staff.

The Difference Between PAs and Nurse Practitioners

There are probably more similarities than differences between PAs and nurse practitioners (NPs)—at least in terms of scope of practice in specific settings. For instance, nurse practitioners and physician assistants work in the same settings and both can examine patients, take medical histories, diagnose illnesses and injuries and write prescriptions. PA training, however, is based on traditional medical education and includes a much broader range of clinical health care experience. PAs must also complete at least 2,000 hours of rotations versus a minimum of 500 for NPs. Additionally, nurse practitioners typically train in a specialty area based on population (e.g., pediatrics or women's health) while PAs study general medicine and get hands-on experience in a wider variety of medical specialties.

PAs Work in Many Different Settings

There are approximately 150,000 licensed PAs practicing in different medical settings across the United States. They work in all settings where physicians and surgeons work, but not all PAs work in patient care roles. Sometimes a physician assistant's responsibilities are non-clinical, and there are PAs in administrative, educational and research settings as well as in private practices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, surgical centers, community health centers, nursing homes and mental health facilities. Additionally, some PAs work as patient care providers in the armed forces.

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Because Physician Assistant Studies programs cover an array of specialized subject matter, PAs can build unique career trajectories around their interests and professional preferences. Some work in family medicine or acute care. Others work in oncology, pediatrics, radiology or even surgery, where they assist during surgical procedures and provide post-surgery follow-up care. PAs can transition between specialty areas of medicine, and many do. One survey found that 57% reported changing specialties at least once and 49% did so during their first two years of practice.

Becoming a Physician Assistant

Aspiring PAs must graduate from ARC-PA-accredited, master's-level PA programs and pass the 300-question, five-hour, multiple-choice Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) to be eligible for licensure. Degree programs for physician assistants go by various names, including the Master of Physician Assistant Studies, the MS in Physician Assistant Studies, the Master of Health Sciences (MHS) in Physician Assistant Studies and the Master of Clinical Health Services (MCHS). The University of Pittsburgh's program is the PAS-Hybrid because it pairs interactive virtual lectures with hands-on immersion opportunities and clinical placements.

Physician assistant programs attract students with prior experience in patient care who want to make a more profound impact in medicine. Many students in the University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Studies Hybrid Program, for example, are RNs, EMTs or paramedics, nurse's aides or nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, medical assistants or otherwise professionally involved in patient care. This hands-on patient care experience is extremely useful in the PA Studies program, though students also have to meet specific academic prerequisites to be eligible to apply.

Most PA students have taken specific mathematics and science courses, and they usually have bachelor's degrees in one of the sciences or a discipline related to health care. In some cases, however, prospective PAS-Hybrid candidates must complete additional bachelor's-level coursework or experiential prerequisites to submit the most competitive application possible and prepare for what they'll encounter in the typical PA studies program. This includes a didactic curriculum covering clinical medicine, pharmacology, working with patients, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, health policy and surgery, as well as intensive clinical rotations designed to give aspiring PAs experience in a wide variety of health care settings.

Upon passing the PANCE, newly-minted PAs may use the PA-Certified (PA-C) credential. Every state has distinct licensing processes, however. In Pennsylvania, for instance, PAs with a PA-C apply for licensure by filling out Pennsylvania State Board licensure applications and paying the necessary application fees. They also submit a criminal background check, a report from the National Practitioner Data Bank, letters of good standing, proof of education and a resume or CV. Finally, they complete approved training on child abuse recognition and reporting and the practices of prescribing opioids in the context of addiction.

What Skills and Knowledge Do PAs Need?

Physician assistants need highly developed hands-on clinical skills, which they learn in their clinical rotations, as well as a solid understanding of medical ethics and health care administration. They also need effective communication, decision-making, critical thinking and research skills because caring for patients involves more than just identifying and treating illnesses. Patients are people, and the U.S. health care system is large and complex, which is why Pitt PAS-Hybrid candidates study not only clinical medicine but also health care finance and systems, interprofessional collaborative practice, leadership, legal aspects of health care and population health.

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They learn to communicate effectively and respectfully with different audiences, coordinate care for optimal outcomes and patient satisfaction, incorporate risk management into their practice, draw upon principles of public health and understand and operate within the financial constraints of patients, organizations and society.

PAs also need confidence—especially in settings where physician or surgeon oversight is indirect—which the PAS-Hybrid emphasizes in its approach to physician assistant education. Many groups also support an expanded scope of practice for PAs, allowing for increased independence or even independent practice in the future. Some states have even adopted expanded scope of practice laws for PAs to ease physician shortages.

How Much Do PAs Earn?

PAs earn more than double the national average across all occupations. The typical PA earns about $115,000 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the highest-paid 10% earn more than $162,000 annually. Ambitious PAs who pursue additional certifications or education in specialty areas can earn more. For example, the average PA working in oncology earns about $149,000. There are also many non-clinical opportunities for PAs in hospitals and health settings, and these administrative and managerial roles can be as lucrative as or even more lucrative than clinical roles.

Average salaries don't tell a complete story, however. PA salaries can vary considerably by location. Top-paying states for physician assistants include Connecticut ($137,060), Washington ($129,520), New Jersey ($129,440), Alaska ($128,530) and California ($127,520). In Pennsylvania, a successful PA can earn $130,000, while a PA in Mississippi with the same physician assistant responsibilities might earn just over $80,000. Salaries also vary by experience level. PAs with 15-19 years of experience may earn up to $30,000 more per year than their less-experienced colleagues.

Reasons to Become a PA

The salary variations described above shouldn't give aspiring PAs pause. Physician associates are relatively high earners, and the fast-growing demand for PAs may drive salaries up further in the future. That said, there are several compelling reasons to become a PA that go beyond compensation.

The first two are job availability and job stability. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. may face a shortage of 120,000 physicians by 2030. It may very well be PAs who step in to bridge the gap, given that they work in the seventh-fastest growing profession in the country. Employers will create more than 40,000 new jobs for PAs in the next 10 years—a growth rate of 31%. Once they do, it's improbable that automation will affect the security or scope of those jobs. Becoming a PA almost certainly means having a job for life.

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There is also the versatility of this health care career pathway. PAs work in every medical setting and specialty, and while every specialty has distinct practice guidelines, PAs are qualified to work in all of them once they're licensed. More importantly, they typically don't have to recertify to change specialties or work in new settings. They can launch a career they love, whether they prefer the hustle and bustle of the ER or the routine and relationships of family medicine, and then pivot if they discover a new area of interest.

PAs tend to have a better work/life balance than other practitioners. They don't spend as much time on call as physicians and have lower rates of burnout than either physicians and nurses. According to a Physician Assistant Education Association Student Survey, the number one reason people gravitate toward this career is that they want to work in medicine and have a personal life.

There's the fact that PAs can do much of what physicians do with less schooling. U.S. MDs and DOs complete about 14 years of higher education: four years of college, four years of medical school and three to eight years in a residency or fellowship. PAs can treat patients after completing just six to nine years of higher education and comprehensive clinical rotations. Students graduate from Pitt's PA Studies Hybrid Program in just 24 months and start making a difference in the lives of patients and their communities soon after.

Finally, there's the fact that PAs have a measurable impact on patients and health systems. Physician assistants play a crucial role in providing underserved patient populations (e.g., the uninsured, rural-dwelling individuals) and will likely provide even greater access to care in the future. In some areas of the United States, PAs are the only licensed health care providers for miles around. And they can often spend more time with their patients than other providers because they don't have to worry about budgets and bureaucracy in the same way physicians do.

Whether that leads to better patient outcomes is something researchers don't know yet. What's clear, however, is that PAs do a lot to make medicine better. If you want to become one of them, now is the time to apply to the University of Pittsburgh's PAS-Hybrid program. To learn more, register for an upcoming webinar to connect with the enrollment team and get your questions answered.

The University of Pittsburgh PA Studies Hybrid Program has applied for Accreditation - Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The University of Pittsburgh PA Studies Hybrid Program anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2023, pending achieving Accreditation - Provisional status at the September 2022 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

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In the event that the program does not achieve accreditation all students who have deposited a seat in the program will receive a full refund. The program will not accept the class until which time provisional accreditation has been granted.


What type of PA gets paid the most? ›

10 PA specialties that earned the most in 2021
  • Cardiovascular/cardiothoracic surgery — $147,000.
  • Dermatology — $146,000.
  • Emergency medicine — $129,146.
  • Surgical subspecialties — $127,775.
  • Occupational medicine — $125,600.
  • Critical care — $124,886.
  • Neurosurgery — $124,000.
  • Urgent care — $123,517.
13 Jun 2022

What is the highest salary a PA can make? ›

The best Physician Assistant jobs can pay up to $252,500 per year. Physician Assistants, or PAs, work in hospitals and medical practices in routine and emergency situations.

What does a PA do? ›

Physician assistants examine patients and assess their health. Physician assistants, also known as PAs, examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the supervision of a physician.

How long is residency for a PA? ›

A PA residency is additional training beyond physician assistant school. Residency provides a chance for physician assistants to focus on a specialty and receive intense, organized training. Although the length of a residency can vary, many are completed in a year to eighteen months.

Is PA school hard to get into? ›

Like many other medical schools, physician assistant programs are notoriously difficult to get into for most students. According to the PAEA, the average acceptance rate into a PA school is around 20%. But this acceptance rate can vary by state.

How long is PA school? ›

Most physician assistant programs take approximately two years to complete. PCOM offers a 26-month program leading to a Master of Science (MS) in Health Sciences Physician Assistant Studies degree.

What state pays PA's most? ›

Alaska is the state where the highest-paid physician assistants are employed while Kentucky is the state where PAs earn the lowest salaries.

Can a PA do surgery? ›

There's really quite a bit of overlap between the two roles, physician assistants vs doctors. However, one key difference is that PAs often assist doctors during surgical procedures, but they themselves are not actually licensed to perform surgery.

Can a PA become a doctor? ›

Some providers, however, are interested in advancing from their current role as a physician assistant (PA) to a Doctor of Medicine (MD). To transition from PA to MD, you'll need to apply to medical schools, attend an MD program, and complete residency training.

What can a doctor do that a PA Cannot? ›

Some of the differences between PA and MD depend on where you're practicing (state/province/country), but, on the whole, PAs do not perform surgery (they can assist), they do not take on the most complex or acute medical cases, and they may or may not be able to prescribe medications (again, depending on location).

Do PAs take work home? ›

It really depends on the field and hours/pay structure, but yes, PAs can bring work home. I sometimes choose to leave early so that I avoid rush hour traffic, and then I do the rest at home.

What are top 3 skills for PA position? ›

6 qualities of a successful personal assistant in 2022
  1. Communication skills. ...
  2. Interpersonal skills. ...
  3. Time management skills. ...
  4. Strong organizational skills. ...
  5. Ability to multitask. ...
  6. Attention to detail.

How many hours a week do PAs work? ›

The number of hours you work as a PA depends on your specialty. First of all, there's a huge variation between different specialties. In some specialties, you can work as little as about 30 hours per week, even as a “full-time” employee. And in others you might work over a hundred hours per week.

Is PA a good career? ›

As a physician assistant, you will always be in demand. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for a physician assistant is excellent. This profession is expected to grow by 31% by 2029. This is a faster than average job growth than other professions.

Who makes more money RN or PA? ›

Differences in salary

Because PAs require more education and training, they tend to have more job opportunities and salaries tend to be higher for them. On average, registered nurses enjoy a median annual salary of $75,330, compared to $115,390 for physician assistants, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Do you get paid during PA residency? ›

PAs participating in a residency program earn compensation from $50,000-$75,000 depending on the program. While this is better than having no income during PA school, it is well below the national PA salary average. The national PA salary average in 2020 was $112,260.

What is better PA or MD? ›

The key differences between the role of a PA and MD come to light when a complex issue arises. MD's have more knowledge about complicated conditions that PAs may not possess. PAs are also not able to perform surgeries, although they are able to assist when needed.

What GPA do I need for PA school? ›


Most PA programs have a minimum overall GPA requirement and a minimum science GPA requirement between 2.75 and 3.2. These are non-negotiable. “If the school you're applying to has a minimum of 3.2 and you have a 3.19, your application won't even be considered.”

What is a good GPA for PA school? ›

PA school GPA requirement

Some PA programs don't list minimum GPA requirements. Of those that do, most use a 3.0 GPA as the cut-off, although some will have lower or higher PA school requirements.

Is a PA called Dr? ›

If you want to address a PA in a somewhat formal manner, you simply say “PA” and then their last name, just like you would do with a doctor. For example, if their last name is Smith, you would call them “PA Smith”. You can't really ever go wrong with that approach.

Can a PA deliver a baby? ›

A: Absolutely! PA training provides a generalist foundation for their students, which includes mandatory training in obstetrics and gynecology.

How old are most PA students? ›

PA programs value clinical and life experience, so the average age of a successful applicant is 26+ years old. Physician assistant programs vary in length between 18 and 36 months. The national average is 27 months long.

What is a PA degree called? ›

A physician assistant degree is a master's-level degree; students must have a bachelor's degree and have completed prerequisite science courses. PA students may enter programs with health care job experience as sports trainers, medical assistants or paramedics.

Is it harder to get into PA school or medical school? ›

Physician Assistant (PA) School

It's easy to see why – of the close to 27,000 applicants that applied, only about 9,000 got accepted to a school, yielding 33% of applicants obtaining a seat. That's lower than the 40% for medical school in the U.S.

How do you become a PA after high school? ›

To become a PA, you must graduate from an ARC-PA accredited entry-level PA program. Most entry-level PA programs require applicants to have an undergraduate degree. However, some PA programs offer a pre-professional phase that is open to recent high school graduates and students with some college credit.

What is the best state to work as a PA? ›

Whether you have student loans to pay off, or just want to ensure that you are compensated fairly, salary is an important part of choosing where to work. According to the 2021 AAPA Salary Report, the states with the highest PA compensation are Washington, Alaska, and California.

How do you address a physician's assistant? ›

To promote uniformity of address in clinical and other settings, use PA as the honorific before the person's name, e.g., PA Pam Smith or PA Smith.

Can a physician assistant draw blood? ›

Medical assistants are only able to draw blood in a medical office while working under a doctor's license. Four states require healthcare workers phlebotomist certification to draw blood in the lab setting: California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington.

Is a physician assistant above a nurse practitioner? ›

Is NP higher than PA? Neither profession ranks "higher" than the other. Both occupations work in the healthcare field, but with different qualifications, educational backgrounds, and responsibilities. They also work in different specialties.

Is being a PA stressful? ›

Analysis revealed that, in general, PAs experience modest levels of burnout but are happy at work. More than half (55.6%) rated spending too many hours at work as an important contributor to stress. A higher percentage of female PAs than male PAs (32.2% versus 25.6%) have quit a job due to stress.

Why is MD better than PA? ›

While shadowing PAs and MDs, I have found that PAs have a greater focus on patient care and fewer bureaucratic tasks. In addition, the workflow and teamwork of a PA are more suited to my personality. Beyond the balance of autonomy and collaboration, becoming a PA will offer the flexibility of switching specialties.

Do physician assistants get white coats? ›

Although white coats are closely identified with doctors, medical students, physician assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners often wear them, too. There's no rule or regulation restricting them to doctors alone, though some physicians wish there were.

Which is harder nurse practitioner or physician assistant? ›

The average program length to become an NP is 15-24 months with 720 clinical hours as a nurse first. Physician's assistant training programs are highly competitive and require undergraduate coursework in science as well as several years of hands-on medical experience with direct patient contact and care.

How do PAs introduce themselves? ›

I always introduce myself as "Hi, I'm Jane. I am a Physician Assistant. What are we working on today?" I have a name tag with my name and PA-C on it but I always say the full Physician Assistant.

How long does it take to become a physician assistant? ›

It will take around 30 to 36 months to complete.

How many vacation days do physician assistants get? ›

Vacation: Full time Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants will accrue 2 weeks (80 hours or 10 days) of vacation per year for the first 3 years (1-36 months) of employment, increasing to 3 weeks (120 hours or 15 days) after 3 years (37 – 72 months) of employment, and 4 weeks (160 hours or 20 days) after 6 years ...

Are PAs always on call? ›

That's right: physician assistants are often on call – even on weekends and holidays. But more than that, there is a growing push to keep clinics and hospitals open on weekends and holidays, which will not only require PAs to be on-call, but to actually be at the work site.

Are PAs happy? ›

As it turns out, physician assistants rate their career happiness 3.0 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 35% of careers.

What does a PA do on a daily basis? ›

PAs manage and source resources and conduct research so they need to be well informed about many things. They also need to keep up-to-date with the latest apps and gadgets, and with professional best practice.

What qualifications do I need to become a PA? ›

You'll need:
  • administration skills.
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
  • the ability to work well with others.
  • to be flexible and open to change.
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
  • knowledge of English language.
  • business management skills.
  • excellent verbal communication skills.

What makes an excellent PA? ›

Good personal assistants understand, in detail, their boss's numerous tasks. A great personal assistant understands how these tasks fit into the overall scope of the business and is able to communicate with senior executives in all areas of his or her boss's work. Become an Expert in Communication.

What are PA schedules like? ›

Work environment

The typical PA works full time, 40 hours per week. This role may often times require additional hours. Their shifts vary, and they may be required to work nights, weekends, or holidays. This role is also usually required to be on call occasionally.

Are PA's in high demand? ›

The BLS projects that job opportunities for PAs will increase by 31% in the next 10 years—an astounding growth rate that adds up to more than 40,000 new jobs for physician assistants. By 2030, close to 170,000 PAs will be practicing medicine in the U.S. alongside registered nurses, doctors and specialists.

What is the acceptance rate for PA school? ›

Getting accepted to PA programs is not easy. According to the latest data, the overall PA school acceptance rate in the United States is 31.6%, compared with about 40% acceptance rate for medical schools.

Is getting into PA school hard? ›

Like many other medical schools, physician assistant programs are notoriously difficult to get into for most students. According to the PAEA, the average acceptance rate into a PA school is around 20%. But this acceptance rate can vary by state.

How hard is becoming a PA? ›

Yes, it is hard to become a physician assistant.

First, you must meet the prerequisites for PA school. Once you are accepted to a PA program, it takes another three years of course work and clinical experience. Then to become certified, you must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

How hard is PA school? ›

And because PAs will be handling the lives of their patients, they need exceptional training. Diagnosing illnesses and coming up with the right treatment plan is nothing to take lightly. And to prepare students for that, PA school is just as rigorous as medical school even though some schools can be easier to get into.

What specialty should I choose as a PA? ›

Dermatology, Hospital Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics–General Practice, and Psychiatry round out the top ten certified PA practice areas. The top ten PA specialties (along with the rest of the PA profession) continue to show higher than average job growth.

Are PA's in high demand? ›

The BLS projects that job opportunities for PAs will increase by 31% in the next 10 years—an astounding growth rate that adds up to more than 40,000 new jobs for physician assistants. By 2030, close to 170,000 PAs will be practicing medicine in the U.S. alongside registered nurses, doctors and specialists.

Do personal assistants earn a lot? ›

The personal assistant profession probably has the widest salary range of any industry in the world. It can range anywhere from working for free or minimum wage, all the way up to $150,000 or even $250,000 per year.

Do PA's get called doctors? ›

No. They're called either Physician Assistants or PA's. Only an individual with a doctoral degree (pharmacy, divinity, education, osteopathy, dentistry, etc.) or medical degree has earned the right to be called “doctor”, and that includes Nurse Practitioners who hold a Doctor of Nurse Practice degree (DNP).

How long is PA school? ›

Most physician assistant programs take approximately two years to complete. PCOM offers a 26-month program leading to a Master of Science (MS) in Health Sciences Physician Assistant Studies degree.

Do physician assistants have a good work life balance? ›

The PA profession embodies the possibilities of successful work-life balance. Career flexibility is a hallmark of the profession and highly valued by PAs.

Are there different types of PA? ›

The Outpatient Medicine PA

However, there are many outpatient physician assistant specialties like endocrinology, nephrology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, OBGYN, psychiatry, pain management, and pediatrics. Some outpatient PA specialties can get even more specific.

Is PA school easier than med school? ›

In the same year, the average GPA of accepted PA students was a 3.5 science and 3.6 overall. So if you were to only consider GPA, you could say PA programs are easier to get into than MD programs—but by an extremely slight margin.

Why become a PA instead of a doctor? ›

2. What are the advantages of choosing PA over MD? PAs typically spend less time and money on school and can switch specializations more easily than MDs. Most PAs begin practicing after 2 or 3 years of education and enjoy comfortable starting salaries.

Is it hard to find a job as a PA? ›

Becoming a physician assistant (PA) can be an exciting and rewarding career opportunity, but finding your first PA job can be challenging if you have little or no experience. Recent graduates may find that employers prefer to hire candidates with previous professional experience.

How much do personal assistants make a month? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing monthly salaries as high as $6,667 and as low as $1,167, the majority of Personal Assistant salaries currently range between $2,250 (25th percentile) to $3,875 (75th percentile) across the United States.

What is a Personal Assistant salary? ›

The average salary for Personal Assistant is £37,014 per year in the London Area. The average additional cash compensation for a Personal Assistant in the London Area is £2,625, with a range from £765 - £9,007.

What is it like working as a Personal Assistant? ›

A personal assistant role is usually supporting someone senior, be it within a business or a private individual and therefore the exposure the PA gets can be fascinating. From reading through your boss's inbox to sitting in on meetings, you will most likely be exposed to sensitive and confidential information.

Should you address a PA as doctor? ›

If you want to address a PA in a somewhat formal manner, you simply say “PA” and then their last name, just like you would do with a doctor. For example, if their last name is Smith, you would call them “PA Smith”. You can't really ever go wrong with that approach.

How do PAs introduce themselves? ›

I always introduce myself as "Hi, I'm Jane. I am a Physician Assistant. What are we working on today?" I have a name tag with my name and PA-C on it but I always say the full Physician Assistant.

How long does it take to become a physician assistant? ›

It will take around 30 to 36 months to complete.


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