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All you want to know about a Physician Assistant and a Physician Assistant Salary

December 25th, 2011

Students will be pleased to know that a physician assistant salary is relatively high. Based upon the exact location of work, a physician assistant can expect to make between $50,000 and $80,000 per year. By definition, a physician assistant, abbreviated PA, is a healthcare professional licensed by the state in which he works to practice medicine as a member of a team with doctors.


A physician assistant’s main concern is to prevent, maintain and, finally, treat both human sickness as well as injury by offering patients a wide selection of healthcare services that have been traditionally administered by doctors. It is not uncommon for such a physician assistant to perform physical examinations, diagnose sicknesses and then prescribe a course of treatment for said sicknesses. In addition, he might also order and then interpret lab tests, give advice with regard to preventive healthcare, help in surgery, hand out medical instructions and even write prescriptions. For all of these tasks, a physician assistant salary is usually quite high.

Students who go on to become physician assistants can rest assured that their physician assistant salary is somewhat higher when compared to those of other healthcare professionals. A lot of various aspects contribute to this reality, but in essence, a physician assistant actually does a lot of what a regular doctor does in the carrying out of his duties. As a result, a physician assistant currently is in high demand across many different healthcare settings, and this has a lot to do with the fact that a physician assistant is capable of performing specialized duties that, frankly, others in the healthcare field simply are not qualified to perform themselves.

With respect to the exact physician assistant salary that students can expect to be making if they go on to become a physician assistant, it will vary according to numerous factors. However, the considerations that they will have to look at in terms of how much they could make as a physician assistant are quite straightforward. What follows is a concise look at what constitutes a best-guest scenario of what students can expect to earn as a physician assistant. If students weight what they have to go through to go on to become a physician assistant with what can be achieved in such a career, they will understand that the benefits are many and extend well beyond just mere monetary ones.

Based upon a variety of factors that will be explored in greater detail in the following sections, the salary range for a physician assistant can be anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000. There are naturally going to be situations where you can expect to make either less or more than this range, yet based on information from, these numbers correctly reflect the current salary of this medical profession.

Factors That Influence the Salary of a Physician Assistant

There are several distinct factors that play a role in determining exactly how much of a physician assistant salary that a professional receives. The physician assistant, or “PA”, is considered to be one of the highest paid positions in the medical field. These professionals are paid according to their value in their field. As a physician assistant, the tasks and responsibilities that you are given are considered to be crucial to the patient’s health and the overall functionality of the medical facility that you are employed by on a part time or full time basis.

The most Common factors that determine the physician assistant salary that you will earn include the experience that you have in the medical field, your specialization, the location that you elect to work in, your educational level and the type of environment that you choose to work in while acting as a physician assistant. The following highlights more information pertaining to each of these factors:

  • Experience – According to recent studies, your experience as a physician assistant has the highest level of influence when it comes to determining your salary. If you are considered to be an amateur, you will rank in the bottom twenty-five percent of earners. This means that you will likely earn an average of $79,691.00 annually. Despite the fact that this is considered to be the low end of the scale when it comes to a physician assistant salary, this is still considered to be relatively impressive – especially considering the economic complications that are currently transpiring in the United States and other countries. If you have average experience, you will be considered for the median physician assistant salary. This includes pay of approximately $82,968. If you have above-average experience, you will have a physician assistant salary of approximately $91,439 to well over $100,000.00 annually.
  • Specialization – If you are interested in becoming a physician assistant, it is absolutely essential that you know and understand that the specialization that you choose plays an extremely large role in the amount of money that you will make. There are numerous health specializations that you may choose to work in as a professional. Examples of these include cardiothoracic surgery, endocrinology, neonatology, pediatric, preoperative care, surgical, internal medicine, and family medicine. If you elect to work in cardiothoracic surgery, the physician assistant salary will be well over $100,000.00 annually. However, as an assistant in family medicine, your physician assistant salary will likely be $79,000.00 to $85,000.00 annually.
  • Geographic Location – When evaluating facts and figures associated with a physician assistant salary, you will quickly discover that the geographic location that you elect to work in plays a large role in the amount of money that you will make. While it is true that the physician assistant salary varies from one degree to another from state to state, it is also true that it may vary from one city to another. In nearly all instances, individuals that elect to work in metropolitan regions will make more than individuals that work in a rural region. If you work in New York, for example, you will make much more than if you worked in Louisville, Colorado.
  • Education Level – When researching physician assistant salary rates, you will quickly discover that – as with any career – that the amount of education that you have directly impacts the amount of money that you make. If you acquire a Master’s Degree, you will start at a high rate. As you acquire experience, that rate will increase.
  • Work Environment – Based on information derived from an assortment of studies and files, it has been established that a work environment plays a large role in how low or how high the physician assistant salary is for a professional. There are numerous types of work environments. Examples include medical staffing firms, specialty hospitals, family clinics and critical care units. If you desire a high physician assistant salary, it is imperative that you research which work environments pay the most. In many instances, environments such as family clinics and urgent care facilities make less than medical staffing firms and specialty hospitals.

Increase Your Earnings with These Simple Strategies

While it is true that there are many factors that may directly influence the physician assistant salary, it is also true that there are numerous strategies that may be used to increase the amount of money that you make while working as a physician assistant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average income of a physician assistant on the lower end of the scale, as of May 2010, is $51,920.00 to $76,720.00. The high-end physician assistant salary ranges from $95,700.00 to $135,620.00. If you are interested in having the highest physician assistant salary, you should consider the following facts:

Physician assistants that work in colleges and other types of professional schools average approximately $78,460.00 annually. However, those that are employed by outpatient care centers average approximately $89,900.00 annually. If you desire to have a high salary, it is best opt for work in care centers that specialize in outpatient services.

Specialty hospitals that focus on aspects of medical care other than psychiatric conditions and substance abuse services typically offer physician assistants an average of $92,620.00 annually. Whereas, physician offices, care centers for outpatient services, general medical facilities and health practitioner offices offer salaries that range from $76,140.00 to $89,900.00 annually. In order to obtain the highest physician assistant salary, it is advised that you seek employment with specialty hospitals.

Metropolitan regions always pay higher than nonmetropolitan regions. If you want to make more money, you should pursue employment in the metropolitan areas closest to your geographic location. According to the most recent statistics from the United States Department of Labor, Amarillo, Texas is the top paying metropolitan area. The physician assistant salary for this area is $135,620.00 annually. The highest paying nonmetropolitan area is Western North Carolina, which pays an average of $70,010.00 each year. By choosing to work in a metropolitan region, you will earn a higher physician assistant salary.

In order to become a physician assistant, you must attend a specialized course that provides the education that you need in order to complete the responsibilities of the profession. However, if you are interested in making a high physician assistant salary, it is essential that you receive as much education and training as possible. Earning a degree such as a Bachelor’s or a Master’s will drastically enhance the amount of money that you earn each year.

Many individuals that elect to work in the medical field find that it is extremely difficult to acquire higher levels of education. While it is true that a degree will increase a physician assistant salary, it is also true that acquiring a high level of health experience will also increase the amount of money that a PA makes. If you want to make more money, get as much clinical experience as possible, expose yourself to as many medical specialties as possible, and above all, learn all of the ins and outs of the medical field.

As you can see, it is evident that there is a wide variation in earnings based on where you elect to work, what type of work environment that you want to work in, and the education that you obtain. Furthermore, medical experience plays a vital role in the physician assistant salary that you receive. By focusing on these areas, you are sure to increase the amount of money that you earn annually.

Job Outlook

Employment for the physician assistant position is expected to grow more rapidly than the average for all of the other combined occupations in the medical field. Despite the fact that nonmetropolitan regions pay much less than metropolitan areas, extreme job growth is projected for rural medical facilities. In addition to this, inner-city medical facilities are expected to increase the number of physician assistants in their facilities. This extremely positive job outlook is due to the fact that the healthcare industry is consistently expanding. In addition to this, many healthcare facilities are focused on cost containment. As a result, they are focused on hiring physician assistants in order to avoid having to pay higher costs for medical doctors.

While it is true that there are numerous office-based physician assistant jobs – which are the most traditional – it is also true that there are many different opportunities popping up in various types of institutions such as clinics, various types of hospitals, medical centers at academic facilities, and even correctional facilities for inmates. By utilizing the information within this guide, you will know how to increase the physician assistant salary that you receive when working in the medical profession. According to facts and figures obtained from many reputable sources, such as the United States Labor Department, the growth for this position is expected to meet and/or exceed approximately 40% by the year 2018. The physician assistant salary is also expected to grow as the profession demand grows. As a result, you will have a high-paying, satisfactory professional career.

Physician Assistant Schools in New York

May 30th, 2012

As you look at the physician assistant programs in New York, you will find that you have access to quite a few different options through some of the top schools in the area. Take a moment to consider the following schools and determine which ones might be the best match for you and your education needs.

Albany Medical College

With the ability to obtain a Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies, this could be the best choice for you. Not only is this school well known for educating some of the top medical professionals, but it also has one of the most respected programs in New York as well.

Cornell University

With a Master of Science degree, you will have a chance to get your education from a top school. Best of all, the mixture of classroom and hands on opportunities that will be offered here will make this one of the physician assistant schools in New York that you will want to consider.

New York Institute of Technology

This is one of the physician assistant programs in New York that can actually be completed in as little as three years. It will be here that you will have a chance to go through their intensive clinical training and to help you to get the education you need to become successful in the role of a Physician’s Assistant.

City University of New York

This highly regarded college is one that has had quite a bit of top physicians graduate from it. In fact, this is one school where the success rate of its graduates are higher than most of the other schools you will find. The drawback though, will be that it can be fairly difficult for you to enroll in this college.

Daemon College

If you are worried about the boards to become certified, then this school could be the perfect choice. Their graduates have a record rate of 97% passing the national certification exams on their very first try. That is something to consider when your goal is to start working as soon as possible.

Wagner College

If you are looking more towards academic excellence, then you may want to consider Wagner College. This institute is well known for being among the best choices you will have when you are getting both your Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. In fact, your degree from this institute will be among those you can truly be proud of.

No matter what route you go when it comes to your physician assistant programs in New York, you will want to ensure that you do consider some of the best. That way, you can be proud of your experience and feel more comfortable when you are out there in the world practicing. After all, there should always be a level of pride in the education you have, especially when you have completed the courses at a well-respected school. You will want to keep that in mind when you are looking over your different options.

List of Physician Assistant Schools in California

May 24th, 2012

A look at the different physician assistant schools in California will show you that there are quite a few different options out there. Each of these schools will offer you a quality education from an accredited facility. Of course, before you choose to join any program, ensure you have all the prerequisites in place and understand what the general cost of each of these schools will be and enroll in the location that is going to work best for you.

A.T. Still University of Health Science

When you look at this institute as one of the options you have for physician assistant schools in California, you will find that you do have a chance to participate in a course that can give you a 40 credit hour Master’s Program that can be done entirely online.

Loma Linda University

Those looking to spend more time on campus will consider Loma Linda University. It will be here that you will have a chance to experience hands on patient care and to understand just how to this profession can touch the lives of others. This is a Master level program, so ensure that you have all the education you need to successfully enroll in this program in advance.

University of Southern California

If you are looking for a well-respected college to give you the education that you need, then this will be the perfect university. Not only are they known for having one of the most diverse set of students, but they also have a very respected medical program that is going to help you to get noticed by recruiters.

University of California, Davis

Since 1991, the school has offered a physician assistant program. This has been the top choice for many people seeking out a Master of Science degree here and you will want to consider it among the top choices you will have when you are looking over the different physician assistant schools in California.

Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine

If you are looking for a slightly different approach to getting your degree, you may want to consider this school that can be found in San Francisco.

Samuel Merritt University

Based in Oakland, this school now offers a graduate level program that can help you to become a physician’s assistant. If this is the direction you will want to go, there is a waiting list to attend this program.

University of California, Irvine

In as little as two years, you will have a chance to obtain your degree through this college. Of course, this will require that you do devote these years as a full time student. However, this respected college will help to open more doors for you after you graduate.

As you can see, there are plenty of choices out there for you when you are looking at physician assistant schools in California. Make sure that you do take your time to explore all the different choices you have and begin to do your research and connect with the location that will work best for you.

Pathologist Assistant Jobs

May 14th, 2012

The main responsibility of a pathologist assistant or a PA is to study the anatomy of the human body. A pathologist should have relevant knowledge about cells, organs, tissues, and other bodily fluids. The job is basically the same with a pathologist. However, a pathologist assistant cannot make any diagnosis. He relies heavily on the pathologist but still plays an important role in a medical environment.

Most pathologist assistants work for scientists, hospitals and laboratories. Many of them work in morgues to conduct autopsies in order to determine the cause of death of a person, or for the purpose of obtaining evidence for a crime. This includes all post-mortem examination wherein the PA takes pictures of the body and writes an autopsy report. After an autopsy, the pathologist assistant prepares the dead body for the funeral.

In hospitals, a pathologist assistant usually works with a team and examines tissue samples and specimens using a microscope. This is usually done to look for specific diseases. Pathologist assistants are also allowed to perform surgical procedures but they cannot diagnose a specific disease or illness.

Tips on How to Find Pathologist Assistant Jobs

As with any profession, looking for a job requires hard work and patience. Of course, you also need to make sure that you are qualified for the position so you will not end up wasting your time looking for pathologist assistant jobs and finding out in the end that you lack the needed qualifications.

The first thing to do is to look for available jobs in your area. You can find vacancies posted in newspapers and online websites. If you’ve been submitting applications but business owners and managers do not seem to notice you, you can try the following tips:

  • Create a personal website and post your resume. Include your work experience, educational background and other pertinent information. Highlight the years of work experience you have and the main duties that you were assigned to do. Also leave a contact information for employers to be able to contact you.
  • Post an ad about yourself in a local newspaper.
  • Post your resume in forums and Internet boards to get noticed.
  • Visit the websites of the companies you want to work for and submit your resume.


Pathologist assistants undergo exhaustive training programs, which should be completed by anyone who aspires to be a PA. These programs take four to six years to complete. After the program, the student ends up with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. This gives ample time for an aspiring pathologist assistant to gain knowledge about this field of science.

Most pathologist assistants obtain a bachelor’s degree first in any basic field of science such as chemistry, medical technology and forensic science. After obtaining a degree, a master’s degree in Pathology should also be obtained. A master’s degree in Pathology consists of lectures and clinical training.

Pathologist assistants in the United States need to obtain a certification from The American Society of Clinical Pathology Board of Registry. Once you obtain a certification, it will be good for three years. Upon expiration, you need to acquire continuing education units for recertification. To be able to land a good job, additional certification from the American Association of Pathologist’s Assistants or AAPA should be considered.

Pathology is a field of science that involves science and a little coverage of math. The field has focus on different area of science such as biology, physiology, anatomy, physics and chemistry. A person who aims to be a pathologist assistant should have good knowledge about these branches of science. He or she should also have good communication skills, patience, attention to detail, and should be able to work alone or with minimal supervision.

Physician Assistant Salaries

May 6th, 2012

Physician assistant salaries are quite lucrative when you think about it, especially when you consider that you do not have to go to school anywhere near as long as you do for a doctor’s occupation. In other words, you can live quite comfortable on the salary of a physician assistant, but to become one, you will still have to go through years of school. Essentially, a physician assistant can get a license to do practically everything that an actual doctor would do when carrying out his or her duties on the job. The only catch is that this medical professional has to usually work under the supervision of a doctor, without any autonomy of his own.

A physician assistant receives training and a license to practice medicine so long as he works under the supervision of a physician. As a healthcare professional, the physician assistant’s primary concern lies with stopping, maintaining, and treating all sorts of human sicknesses and injuries. His role is to offer a variety of healthcare services that were traditionally offered by a doctor. As far as his job description goes, a physician assistant is qualified to perform physical examinations, diagnose as well as address illnesses, order tests and analyze test results, give advice on preventative healthcare, help out in the operating room, provide medical orders and write some prescriptions.

You can usually find a physician assistant in the following environments: a clinic, a hospital or any other sort of healthcare facility. They can, at times, exercise a certain degree of autonomy, but only to the point that their supervising physician determines. Before an individual can practice as a physician assistant, he usually has to get his bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and complete a clinical internship. Once a physician assistant obtains his license to practice, he has to get it renewed every few years, which varies according to the state in which he is working.

As far as how much money a physician assistant can make, according to the website called, the median expected salary for this medical professional is quite rewarding to say the least. The median expected salary for a physician assistant in the U.S. stands at just under $90,000 at $89,864. Of course, since this is just the median salary for a physician assistant, there will be extremes on both sides of the salary scale.

For example, the bottom 10 percentile of all physician assistants in the U.S. is about $74,985. Now, while this is still a very tidy sum of money that one can use to live a comfortable life, it is obviously a lot less than the median salary. On the other end of the spectrum lies the top 90 percentile of all physician assistants in the U.S. The salary for a physician assistant at this extreme is $106,618, which is, again, according to information provided by It goes without saying that this type of salary is obviously what can be considered a very high compensation.

It must be pointed out that not every physician assistant can expect to make the same amount of money since there are varying factors that contribute to how much money a physician assistant can make. For instance, if you are a physician assistant who lives in a large, metropolitan area, then you can stand to probably make a little bit more than what you would be making if you worked in a more rural area. Similarly, if you are a physician assistant with a lot of experience under your belt, you, too, can expect to make more money than if you are a physician assistant just starting out.

Consultation Skills: Are They The Most Important Skill in the Medical Field?

April 30th, 2012

As a physician assistant, the need for exceptional consultation skills is an absolute necessity. All PAs are under the direct supervision of a licensed physician who serves as their first line of consultation or advice on procedures or treatments. The supervising physician need not be in the same location as the physician assistant. Many PAs work in settings where the office or clinic is remotely located with the supervising doctor elsewhere; even in a different state or country.

This is where the physician assistant’s skills in consultation are mandatory. Here is a short list of the skills required to be a successful, caring and empathetic physician assistant. This list is by no means complete or entire, but a guideline.

  1. Know WHEN to seek consultation – This is vitally important to the success of the clinic or remote practice and falls squarely on the PA. While it is true that a physician assistant is able to examine, diagnose and treat patients as well as prescribe medication, knowing when to ask for advice is crucial. For instance, in a scenario where a possible outbreak or other epidemic may be in the works, it is required that the PA consults with the supervising doctor. If a patient is afflicted with a malady that is life threatening, is chronic and worsens or is questionable, consultation is mandatory.
  2. Get familiar with technology – With the doctor possibly in a different geographic location, the consults can be performed remotely, without the doctor actually visiting the facility. All the consults may be done over the phone, via text messages or email, if applicable. This makes it crucial for the physician assistant to have massive verbal as well as written skills. It is important to get the point across and reach the resolution for treatment as quickly as possible.
  3. Keep complete records of all consultations – No matter what method of communication is used between the PA and the doctor, keep physical records of those conversations. This is not so much for your protection (though that is a part of this skill), as much as it is a matter of law in some states. In the case of an audit or review of the practice where a physician assistant is in place, this can save a lot of time and trouble. Especially when a patient doubts their treatment or diagnosis. The decision that is made should always be in conjunction with a licensed physician.
  4. Consultation skills are not limited – The successful physician assistant should be able to consult effectively with ANY medical professional that may have information they require to treat a patient. The supervising doctor is always there as guide and mentor, but on occasion, you may need to ask other medical personnel. Maybe you need to consult with a snake expert on a particularly nasty bite or identify the snake to procure the proper antidote for the venom. Possibly, the PA may need to talk to a poison control center or consult with a midwife. In any of these cases, the consultation skills of the physician assistant may the most important skill acquired.


In conclusion, sharpening the consultation skills of the physician assistant can be done during the continuing education (CE) that is required by the AAPA (American Association of Physician Assistants). The skills needed in this area may also be honed on the job and in practical application. In either case, the skills you posses, acquire or enhance can save the life of many patients over the course of your career as a physician assistant.

The Art of Physician Assistant Shadowing – Clinical Observation

April 23rd, 2012

As part of the physician assistant process, you will be asked to spend some time doing some shadowing. This is where you follow around a professional in this field to observe them perform their daily tasks. This will usually be scheduled in a fashion where it is convenient for them and you should ensure that you do arrive on time and remain professional. With that, keep in mind that you are only supposed to observe and not actually participate in any patient care. At the discretion of the office, you may be permitted to observe some of the conditions and to listen through the stethoscope.

During your course of study, you will most likely be required to completed forms that touch on HIPAA and Protected Health Information. Be sure that you take the time to complete these forms and ask any questions you may have. When you are in the office, you will be expected to maintain a level of professionalism and anything you see or hear will need to be kept to yourself. Even though you are not employed by the office, you are still legally responsible for protecting any health information you are privileged to.

Ensure you arrive in the office dressed in a professional manner and introduce yourself to those you encounter, ensuring they understand you are there to shadow. As you go through the period of shadowing, make sure you keep track of your general questions and ask them at appropriate times. Some PAs will allow you to ask questions at any moment, others prefer you keep in the background and will answer questions you have at the end. Ensure you don’t overwhelm or ask repetitive questions that may have similar answers.

As you leave, ensure that you thank everyone who allowed you to shadow in the office. What you will need to understand is that your presence doesn’t just affect the PA you are working with, but everyone that is in the office. If additional sessions are allowed, make sure you schedule them with the PA and ensure that they will be at times that are going to work for both of you in the future.

For the time that you had patient contact, ensure that your PA signs off on you having patient contact. This is going to help you when you are looking to build the hours of interaction you are required to have with patients. Just make sure that the school you are attending will allow you to count these hours in advance.

There is no doubt that the physician assistant program can be a rewarding one. What you will find when you shadow a PA is that there is quite a bit more than just doing simple paperwork and assisting doctors. This is a complex position that will give you the feeling that you have done something good and have a true place in the medical community that you will be working in.

Physician Assistant Resume

April 15th, 2012

The main role of a physician assistant is to support doctors in managing patients and diagnosing illnesses. They are educated and trained to do a number of things that include taking medical histories, performing medical examinations and analyzing test results. Physician assistants, also known as PA’s, practice a variety of medical procedures under the supervision of a surgeon or physician.

Physician assistants are formally trained to do their job. They usually work in doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals and other healthcare environments. Most of these physician assistants work full time but there are many others that work only part time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of a physician assistant is $86,410 as of May 2010.

In the United States, the employment for physician assistants is expected to increase in number to a total of 30 percent from the year 2010 to 2020. According to the BLS, the increase is much faster than any other occupation in the United States. Because more and more physicians enter the area of medicine, there is a greater need for healthcare providers now more than ever.

If you are one of those professionals who is looking to be a physician assistant and is currently looking for a job, this article will provide helpful tips on how to create an appealing and effective resume.

Tips on Creating Your Physician Assistant Resume

Assuming that you have all the requirements in order to get a physician assistant job, then you can start applying today. The first step to applying for a job is to create an impressive resume that will interest prospective employers.

The first thing to do when writing a physician assistant resume is to make a list of everything you have accomplished in your life. This includes your education, your work experience, honors, awards, skills and languages you have learned among many others. List your accomplishments in a chronological order, starting from the most recent going backwards.

You need to include all the relevant trainings you attended as well as your educational background and work experience. Upon graduation from a Physician’s Assistant Educational Program, you are required to pass the PANCE or Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam if you are in the United States. In order to keep the certification, you also have to complete 100 hours of continuing education every couple of years. Aside from this, you are required to take a “recertification examination” once every six years.

If you have passed all exams and certifications required, you need to include them in your resume. You also need to mention in your physician assistant resume that you are allowed to practice your profession in the state where you reside. Therefore, if you haven’t done this, then you should obtain the proper authorization from the state government.

Many hospitals and private physicians that need PA’s require at least two years of work experience. However, many smaller hospitals accept applicants as long as he meets all the qualifications. Make sure that you highlight all your relevant work experiences in your resume.


Once you have completed your resume, you may start submitting them to the appropriate venues. You can gain employment in hospitals, private clinics, outpatient care centers, academic medical centers, prisons and other private companies.

Once you are hired, some of your main duties will include taking medical history, providing help during surgeries, ordering lab tests, explaining the condition of patients, prescribing medications and helping patients by providing a preventive care plan. As you may already know, the job of a physician assistant is just as much as complicated as the job of a real physician.

Being a physician’s assistant requires a lot of patience, dedication and hard work. Being qualified for the position alone requires a lot of time and money in order for you to complete all of them. Working as a PA can be even more challenging.

Average Physician Assistant Salary

April 7th, 2012

Just what is the average physician assistant salary? Before you know the details about the salary of a physician assistant, you ought to understand exactly what a physician assistant actually does. Maybe you have heard of a physician assistant or maybe you have not. For some people, hearing the term “physician assistant” may be somewhat of a surprise because they tend to think in terms of “junior doctor” or something along those lines. In fact, as CNN Money puts it, the physician assistant is basically the proverbial Robin to the doctor’s Batman. In short, a physician assistant works at the privilege of a doctor and helps him out in numerous ways.

However, if you really believed that a physician assistant was just the stooge to a doctor, you would be completely wrong. You see, even though a physician assistant works under the supervision of a doctor, he actually performs virtually anything and everything that a doctor performs. To wit, as long as a physician assistant has the requisite training, the requisite state licensure and works under a doctor’s supervision, he can do a lot of things. He can treat patients, order tests, interpret test results, diagnose patients, give patients advice on a healthy lifestyle, assist in the operating room, dole out medical orders and even write prescriptions (but only in some states).

According to the website called, the average physician assistant salary can be quite generous. When you consider the fact that a physician assistant does not have to go to school for nearly as long as a doctor, the compensation for this medical professional is quite rewarding, indeed. The average physician assistant salary comes out to $89,864, which is better than a lot of jobs even within the medical industry! Of course, when talking about averages, it also is a necessity to understand that there are outside factors that contribute to this salary.

For instance, if a physician assistant works in a large, metropolitan area, then the average salary would be relatively higher than the $89,864, which is the average for the country. As a matter of fact, his average salary would likely be closer to $106,618, which, according to, is the median salary of physician assistants in the top 90th percentile in the U.S. On the flipside, if a physician assistant were to be employed at a clinic or a hospital in a more rural area, then his average salary would be lower than the $89,864. It follows then that his average salary would be closer to just $74,985, which, again according to, is the average salary for the bottom 10th percentile of physician assistants in the U.S.

Furthermore, experience has a lot to do with salary. For instance, if a physician assistant is just out of school and has little to no experience working as a physician assistant, then his average salary would be lower than the $89,864 average for the country. On the other hand, if a physician assistant already has years of experience under his belt, then he can expect to haul in more than the country’s average of $89,864 for this medical profession.

Any way you cut it, though, the average physician assistant salary is quite high and will give the individual at the very least a middle class income. Even the lower 10th percentile of physician assistants in the U.S. makes good money, which is to say nothing of those who are part of the top 90th percentile. Working as a physician assistant can be quite rewarding, both in a professional manner as well as a financial manner.

Physician Assistant – Is it the Perfect Career for you?

March 26th, 2012

Are you a young and dynamic physician assistant fresh out of school and keen to serve humanity? Well, you will be happy to know that there’s a huge demand for physician assistants and every state is offloading more duties and responsibilities on their able shoulders. So, welcome to the real world and here’s a job description that will help you understand what you will go through right from your first day at work:

Job Essentials

All physician’s assistants must meet the following strict requirements. If you don’t, your job will be impacted. Here’s what you need to be:

  1. You must be highly motivated. Ever imagined a demotivated healthcare pro attending on to sick, glum patients? It would be disaster – so, no matter what, you must keep your morale and motivation levels high.
  2. You are on mission critical while on the job. A simple or silly mistake can change the patient’s life and land you in a legal soup. So, get ready to assume 100% responsibility.
  3. You will work under the supervision of a doctor or a surgeon and must ensure that all treatments administered, tests ordered, and medicines prescribed by you are with the written approval of your supervising doctor.
  4. Your work ethic must be strong and you must have a caring attitude.
  5. If you find work in a sensitive government agency, you must not disclose your employer’s ID. Likewise, other employers may also require you not to disclose their name.



Your responsibilities will depend on your specialty, sub-specialty and experience, and therefore the duties of physicians assistant will differ. A family physician assistant does lesser than an general surgery assistant, and so on. However, you will be required to do about 75% of what your doctor can do and here is a general list of duties and responsibilities:

  1. Collecting, reading and understanding every patient’s medical history.
  2. Physically examining patients and assessing their health.
  3. Ordering tests, recording test results, analyzing results and helping the patient understand the results.
  4. Diagnosing medical conditions.
  5. Caring for a wide variety of wounds, stabilizing trauma, etc.
  6. Administering injections and immunizations.
  7. Prescribing medicines (ensure that you follow the state laws – some states do not allow PAs to prescribe medicines).
  8. Checking on and recording patients’ progress.
  9. Counseling patients and their family members on treatments and therapies, including alternative therapies.
  10. Supervising medical assistants and technicians.
  11. Ordering healthcare supplies.
  12. Referring patients to other doctors/surgeons.
  13. Stepping into the doctor’s shoes (with his written permission) when the need arises.
  14. Traveling, if required.


Qualifications and Experience

  1. You must possess a bachelor’s degree from an American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA)-approved program.
  2. Your NCCPA (National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants) certification must be current.
  3. Most employers are discerning and look for minimum 3.5 GPA. So, getting a job will depend on your academic records as well.
  4. Your experience counts as well. The employer will check if you have had any experience in a similar setting. An urban hospital will check for your work experience in urban metropolitan areas, a rural facility will check for your familiarity and experience in rural settings, and so on.
  5. Government agency jobs will involve travel and may require fluency in a foreign language.
  6. Every employer wants his physician assistant to be in top mental and physical shape. You may be required to complete a very thorough physical and psychological exam. Jobs with agencies like the CBI will require you to “lie” down and take a polygraph test.
  7. Your substance abuse record will be checked as well. If you have used illegal drugs in the past, it may weigh against your getting the job.
  8. The employer will also run a background check, which is a routine procedure.



The physician assistant salary is based on a number of factors:

  1. Your experience and skill-level will make the biggest difference. Sharper skills and rich experience will naturally result in higher pay.
  2. Your specialization will count too. A HIV/AIDS PA gets a higher salary then a family practice PA. The pay can go really high for specialties facing a shortage of PAs.
  3. Geography counts as well. Urban healthcare centers pay higher salaries than rural facilities.
  4. The type of healthcare facility also counts. A practicing physician pays lesser than a hospital and a government agency and education institutions pay lesser than what physicians and hospitals pay.


Depending on your area of specialization, you can expect to start anywhere between $50,000 and $70,000 (rough estimates).


The job outlook for a physician assistant is robust and is expected to grow at a healthy clip till 2018. It’s a noble, soul-satisfying and rewarding profession that requires a lot of hard work and dedication.


Physician Assistant Programs in Florida

March 22nd, 2012

There has been a considerable demand for physician assistants in many states and Florida is no exception. There are several programs in Florida that help in educating physician assistants to bridge this shortage gap.

Physician Assistants often have an almost similar job description to that of physicians, though they work under the supervision of a primary physician. Physician Assistant programs in Florida offer immense skills not only according to the regulations set in Florida, but are applicable for this industry in whole of United States.

The 2 Year Physician Assistant Programs in Florida

Florida offers 2 year programs of advanced skills that are considerably different from many states. The 2 years program consists of an academic year and a clinical year. There are 3 to 4 semesters in every year mainly dependant on whether the college or university offers summer classes.

Check out on the partial skill list for the physician assistant programs in Florida likely to be taught in the first year of study:

  • Medical lab
  • Hospital practices and procedures
  • Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Radiology
  • Communicating in a medical environment
  • Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Patient diagnostics
  • Clinical procedures


Internship Physician Assistant Programs in Florida

In the second year of the physician assistant programs in Florida, the students can practically learn and master medical skills hands on. The internship included in the career is usually carried out at a local clinic. Second year physician assistant students learn several medicine fields like;

  • Emergency medicine
  • Intensive care medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Surgery
  • Psychiatry
  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics
  • Primary care medicine


The programs allow the second year individual students to study specialty areas they are interested in as electives. Also, physician assistant programs in Florida don’t usually allow the transfer of credits from a previous college education and, any form of life experience can never be applied as credit hours. One has to complete the full course work.

For one to continue the 2 year program the minimum grade should be a C. A great deal of professionalism and competence is required. After completion of the two year program and a successful graduation, physician assistants still have to take a national certification exam called Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination in short, PANCE.

PANCE is a multiple choice test taken on a computer in one of the over 200 locations in the United States. In order to take the test, earlier registration is recommended and there is also a registration fee to be paid. If you have a medical degree from another country, you must still enroll in any accredited physician assistant programs in Florida in order to take the PANCE and become certified in the US.

You will then be certified for two years only if you pass the exam. In order to keep your certification, you need to continue with your education and pay a certification maintenance fee.

Physician Assistant Programs in Florida

After a successful 2 year completion of the Florida accredited physician assistant programs, you are now ready for a satisfying career as a Physician Assistant. Check out for more updates on the various Physician Assistant programs in Florida.