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Physician Assistant – Career Insights

January 8th, 2012

Medicine is a science and an art that is constantly changing and evolving. It is one of the few professions that are growing currently and is projected to continue to grow exponentially over the course of the next ten to twenty years. Put in plain language, people will always get sick and will always need someone to help them to find a way to get better.

What is a Physician Assistant?

A Physician Assistant is a professional health care provider who is licensed by the state in which they practice. Most of them practice under the supervision of a physician in a practice which is owned by the physician. Becoming a Physician Assistant requires some hard work and attention to detail, but is quite rewarding.

In their role as a PA, they will perform various duties, up to and including:

  • Patient examination
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment Planning
  • Treatment implementation
  • Laboratory test examination and ordering
  • Surgical assisting
  • Prescribing medicine
  • Specializing in various areas of medicine.

 

The Physician Assistant profession is one of the more critical programs in medicine and like nursing, there is a shortage of PA’s.

With a median annual salary of about 90 thousand dollars, and far fewer post-graduate bills than a physician will have, so becoming a Physician Assistant through an accredited Physician Assistant program is a wise choice for a profession. Salaries are high and continue to rise and the profession is well respected in the medical community.

Physician Assistants have a wide array of flexibility in their choices of career path, with many fields of practice and specialties open to them. There is a far lower debt upon graduation from school to repay, so that your student loans will conceivably paid in a relatively short time in comparison to becoming a physician.

Becoming a Physician Assistant will be a challenge to your patience, and to your intellect. It will help you to overcome prejudices, to develop and hone your skills in compassion and in medicine. It will reward you in many ways, both financially as well as emotionally.

After graduation you may practice in a wide array of different fields and be able to change your specialty far more easily than a physician may do. The training that you take will take approximately 2.5 years and will be able to practice after that time span. In addition, you will be able to help countless people by the skills that you develop and the knowledge that you have.

How Do You Become a Physician Assistant?

Physician Assistant programs are available all around the United States. In fact, at last count there were more than 100 PA programs which were accredited in the United States. Application to these Physician Assistant programs is the first step toward becoming a PA.

Becoming a physician assistant will take about 2.5-3 years to accomplish, depending on the program that you select. You will need to apply to the school of your choice, having selected it, and then follow a prescribed application process that will typically include:

  • A formal application process-filing of college or university application
  • An Essay
  • Formal interview

 

What Will You Study ?

Once you have been accepted into the Physician Assistant program, your course of study and the degree that you will be awarded may differ, depending on the length of your studies, as well as the venue from which you graduate.

Typically, when you are in your first year of studies you will be required to attend classroom studies as well as hands-on, clinical studies, for 5 days per week. You will attend classes about 8 hours per day.

In some cases, you will be attending school with physicians, taking clinical practice along with them. The first year of PA school is actually quite accelerated and may be stressful. It can be likened to the first three years of medical schooling.

You will study coursework such as:

  • Clinical Lab procedures
  • ECG and EKG
  • Infection control
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • General Surgical procedures
  • Communication and interviewing techniques
  • General medicine
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • OBGYN
  • Pediatric Medicine

 

What Degree Will Be Conferred?

There are approximately   149 programs of study for the Physician Assistant which have been accredited in the United States. Of those PA courses, 5 offer certificated programs, 3 offer Associate Degrees, 21 give a Bachelor’s Degree and 113 offer Masters Degrees. Each of these is an accredited program.

What’s Next After Graduation?

Once you graduate from PA school your options for practice are virtually unlimited. Many graduates of accredited programs for Physician Assistants will work in the hospital setting, while most will perform under the supervision of a physician in a physician’s office setting.  In most cases you will join the practice of a state licensed physician and work under his or her supervision. You need not be supervised physically, but in most cases, will operate with a great deal of autonomy.

You are not necessarily limited to working in the practice of another person, however, although this is not well known.

You will be able to specialize in nearly any field that you like and you will be able to change specialties with far greater ease than a normal physician, and you may even own your own practice. Many PAs work in their own practices and hire a physician to supervise them in their activities.

Top Physician Assistant Interview Questions

January 6th, 2012

Every PA school shortlists applicants and then invites its chosen few for an interview. The physician assistant interview questions are tough and every invited applicant must be fully prepared with the answers. Remember that you must not call the school for an interview – if you do, your application will not be considered favorably.

Important Factors about the Physician Assistant Interview:

  1. The interview counts big. You may have the best scores, education, experience, essays, etc., but the PA school wants to know more about you as a person. They want to figure out if you’re practical, understanding, calm, mature, collected, honest, compassionate, trustworthy, confident, and more. And, they can only figure out all these factors in an interview and by asking you some real tough questions.
  2. The interviewers want to see if you are an excellent communicator. You will be dealing with patients and doctors and therefore your communication must be sharp, focused, polite and effective. You must be able to build an emotional bridge with your audience and the interviewers want to check whether you can. Remember, communication is paramount, if you cannot communicate your thoughts, ideas, decisions, or judgments well, and if you give the impression that you cannot connect emotionally, you will not be selected.

The Interview Process

The interview starts with talks by the directors and financial aid officer. Applicants are given 4-5 written questions to answer. After the written test, the applicants are split up into 2 groups. One group starts the interview process and the other group sits in class with the 1st year semester students. Remember, that your behavior is being monitored all the time – so be appropriate and formal. The interviews are divided into 3 parts – student interview (1st year and 2nd year students will interview you), group interview (by 2-3 PAs or MDs) and single interview (by a psychologist).

Setting the Tone for the Interview

Start with a firm handshake. While answering questions, use gestures where applicable. If you sit tight with folded arms you will appear stiff. If you fidget your hands, you will be considered as a nervous person. Smile often and create a reassuring persona. Maintain a firm and confident posture and make eye contact with the person or persons asking the questions. Be honest and believable, do not make tall claims, and do not over-sell yourself.

The tone of your voice must be confident and reassuring. Your first question will not be asked. It relates to your physical appearance. So, make a great first impression – wear formal, maintain a good posture, maintain eye contact, smile and be a likeable person. Start well by creating a visual connection. You can practice this at home – just remember to grab a video of yourself and watch it to correct/better yourself. Do not dominate the conversation in the beginning. Exchange hellos, engage in a polite conversation with everyone, and then let them do the interviewing.

Top 10 Physician Assistant Interview Questions

  1. How has academics prepared you for the profession? Your answer must demonstrate how you managed academics, part-time work, and volunteer work. Give the feel that you can handle multitasking easily and have great time management skills.
  2. Tell us about your favorite books? Don’t mention the Robert Ludlum thriller you read, but go ahead and talk about a great biography you have read and mention what it was about the book that impressed you the most. Talk about a couple of your all-time favorite books.
  3. What are the main problems faced by America’s healthcare system? Well, to answer this question, you must be knowledgeable about the healthcare industry. It will do you a world of good if you keep up-to-speed with the healthcare industry on a continuous basis instead of reading a few journals before the interview.
  4. Why do you want to become a physician assistant? This is an important question and you must answer it carefully. The interviewer can question your choice by asking you why you did not choose to be a NP (nurse practitioner).
  5. Have you applied to some other programs? You must honestly list the programs you have applied for and discuss why you have selected these.
  6. How different are you from the other budding PAs? You must talk about physician assistant prerequisites you have fulfilled, your courses, experience, interactions, team accomplishments, associations, etc, in such a manner that the interviewer is convinced that you are one of the top applicants.
  7. What does a PA do? Your answer must be based on practical experiences. If you do not have any experience, then state your “understanding” of the profession.
  8. Has any patient left a deep impact on you? By this question, the interviewer is trying to figure out your compassionate and communication quotients. Answer the question truthfully based on your actual experiences.
  9. Describe the most stressful situation you have been in and how did you deal with it? The interviewer is trying to estimate your stress levels and understand how you react in an emergency situation. He must not get the feeling that you panic easily.
  10. How can you ensure you will complete the program if you are accepted? The interviewer is trying to judge your commitment and perseverance. If you have hopped around, explain what made you do it.

 

Well, these are the top physician assistant interview questions you can expect to be asked. There will be many more. All you have to do is prepare and just be yourself at the interview. Good luck.

A Guide To Becoming An Orthopedic Physician Assistant

January 5th, 2012

An orthopedic physician assistant salary is very high because as they are a very valuable healthcare professional. They help the healthcare industry reduce costs and help save the doctor’s and patients’ time. These advantages occur because orthopedic assistants perform the routine tasks of an orthopedic doctor and therefore free up valuable doctor time. They also reduce the patient waiting time. Plus, they cost less than a doctor and that’s how they help keep the costs down. Here is a quick guide to the career:

Accreditation and Education

All orthopedic physician assistants must complete a physician assistant program administered by the state. They must pass the Physician Assistant’s National Certifying Exam to get a license. Formal physician assistant programs last between two and four years. Students learn anatomy, physiology, diagnosis, examination, biochemistry, pharmacology, clinical medicine, and clinical rotations. Physician assistants who’d like to specialize in orthopedics then have to obtain a Master’s degree and relevant clinical experience.

Orthopedic physician assistants (OPA-C) are certified by the National Board for Certification of Orthopedic Physician’s Assistants (NBCOPA). Another separate institution, the American Society of Orthopedic Physician’s Assistants (ASOPA), looks after the continuing education and professional development programs. Orthopedic assistants must complete 100 hours of continuing education every two years. They also must get recertified after every six years.

What does an orthopedic physician assistant do?

An orthopedic assistant provides healthcare services under the supervision of the physician. They physically examines patient, administer treatment, order tests and communicate directly with patients and physicians. The following skills are the reasons why an orthopedic physician assistant salary is very high and keeps increasing with experience. Here is an exhaustive list of duties:

  • Orders or administers x-rays, lab tests, ECGs, etc.
  • Physically examines the patient to understand his condition.
  • Checks patient’s medical history. Communicates effectively with patients. Guides them about treatment options, health maintenance issues, emotional issues, and more.
  • Interprets test results, makes diagnosis and then decides the treatment. Prescribes medicines after getting approval of physician.
  • Compiles and records patient’s medical data including progress notes and physical examination results.
  • Administers therapeutic procedures such as immunization, wound suture, infection management, etc.
  • Visits patients (if working in a hospital) on rounds, updates their progress, orders tests and therapies, and reports back to the physician.
  • Supervises technicians.
  • Assists during surgeries or in other complex medical processes.
  • Orders lab supplies.

 

What does an orthopedic physician assistant know and what are their skills?

It is important for an orthopedic physician assistant to know medicine and dentistry. They must be thorough in diagnosing and treating injuries, diseases and deformities. They should also possess an excellent knowledge of biology – tissues, cells, their functions, interactions, etc. They also learn psychology as they must understand each patient’s difference in ability and personality.

They also must learn how to communicate effectively (speaking and writing) with patients and provide excellent customer service.  They also has excellent working knowledge in therapeutics and counseling, and in chemistry. In addition, they are expected to know sociology and anthropology, mathematics, public safety, administrative work, law, computers and physics – but they need not be an expert at these.

An orthopedic physician assistant is an active and patient listener, an artful speaker, a stickler for detail, and a cool headed person who uses logic, science rules, mathematics and reasoning before arriving at any conclusion. They have a great memory and also monitor and coordinate with people working in the same department or medical procedure. Obtaining this knowledge and skills takes some doing and that is why an orthopedic physician assistant salary is higher than the salary of other physician assistants from other specialties.

Physical traits of an orthopedic physician assistant

All orthopedic assistants work in a pressure cooker environment standing on their feet and even exerting their body. They must be mentally and physically tough. It is important for them to be able to match colors or differentiate between them easily. The assistant must possess a strong core because they have to continuously stand or kneel and that requires a strong back and abdominal muscles.

They must possess rock-steady hands that can physically examine or administer treatment without slipping up or shaking. They should be able to keep their arm steady while being in one position for a long time. They will be required to handle and move objects and equipment and will also be involved in their installation and positioning. They also should possess excellent far vision.

Orthopedic physician assistant salary and career path

On an average and depending on the institution, an orthopedic physician assistant salary is around $90,000. They may also get a performance-linked bonus of around $20,000 (Source: Indeed.com). This salary is for a 40-hour week and does not include other benefits such as malpractice insurance, paid time off, retirement benefits, etc.

A private practice will pay lesser than an outpatient care center, which in turn will pay lesser than a hospital. Inner city healthcare centers pay higher wages as compared to rural centers. Pay increases with experience and orthopedic physician assistants with 4-5 years of experience can even command a salary of $150,000/year.

This guide covered the role of an orthopedic physician assistant. If you want information in detail and want to know about state laws that govern the practice, please visit your state’s employment website.

Physician Assistant Salary by State is on the Rise

January 3rd, 2012

The average physician assistant salary by state is on the rise. In 2010, the full time physician assistant pay rose by approximately $3,800. Statistics also reveal that physician assistant salaries were higher than the salaries of nurse practitioners.

You will be surprised to know that mental health physician assistants topped the salary table in 2010 at $116,758. Elementary or Secondary School assistants were a close second at $115,000, while cardiology assistants came in third at $109,030. The lowest salary was reported from the Diabetes practice at $69,000. Here are the top 10 highest-paying practice settings (source: National Salary Survey Report 2010 as published in Advance For NPs & PAs, August 2011 issue):

Practice Setting

  • Mental health – $116,758
  • Elementary or secondary school – $115,000
  • Cardiology practice – $109,030
  • Aesthetics/dermatology practice – $107,727
  • Emergency department – $103,489
  • Surgery – $102,760
  • Hospital unit (other than surgery or emergency department) – $97,680
  • Nursing home, assisted living or long-term care facility – $96,296
  • Work site – $95,296
  • Academia – $95,215

The average salary for male physical assistants ($102,669) was higher than salaries paid to women physician assistants ($91,662). The states that employed the highest number of physician assistants paid the following salaries:

  • California: $100,000/year
  • Texas: $104,000/year
  • New York: $87,750/year
  • Florida: $90,000/year

Other American states paid salaries of around $90,000 annually. In addition to the salaries, most physician assistants also received health insurance, paid continuing education, professional association dues, retirement plan, malpractice insurance, and paid time off. 21% of the physician assistants surveyed said they were also given a share of profits while 23% also received tuition reimbursement. This is the general breakup of physician assistant salary by state.

What are the different factors that help determine physician assistant salary by state?

Physician assistant salaries depend on a number of factors, which are:

  • LOCATION – Healthcare centers situated in densely-populated cities pay higher salaries. The closer you get to the city center, the higher your salary will go. That said, there are some heavily-funded, large hospitals that are located away from inner city areas may pay a higher salary than inner-city hospitals. Also, rural centers pay lower than urban centers.
  • SPECIALTY – As you have seen above, a mental health assistant received a salary of $116,000 in 2010, while a diabetes assistant received $69,000. So, physician salaries also depend on the specialty and upon the demand for the specialty.  As per current figures and trends, physician assistants who specialize in mental health, cardiology, anesthesiology, emergency medicine or surgery get the highest salary packages. Note that way back in 2008-2009, dermatology assistants were paid $105,000 per year; in 2010 the salary number is at $91,000 for retail clinics that dole out dermatology services.
  • EXPERIENCE – Experience counts as well. The general increment in salary ranges between 5% and 15% every year. Highly skilled and experienced physician assistants are highly sought after.
  • WORKPLACE – Hospitals can afford to pay more than a small private practice. One surprising trend is that schools paid higher salaries than hospitals in 2010. This is clear evidence that many people are actively enrolling for physician assistant courses and therefore, assistants who can teach are in demand.

What is the average physician assistant salary by state and by experience?

Well, as we have seen above different states offer different salary packages depending on the demand and supply equation. However, here are the average and approximate annual salary numbers you can expect depending on experience:

  • 0-1   years of experience – $70,000
  • 1-4 years of experience – $80,000
  • 5-9 years of experience – $90,000
  • 10-19 years of experience – $100,000
  • 19+ years of experience – $110,000+

In addition to salary, physician assistants are also entitled to health insurance, retirement benefits, paid time off, and more.

Does the physician assistant salary by state depend on the degrees?

Well, the short answer to that is yes, it does. A physician assistant can enroll for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. The Physician Assistant Bachelor’s Degree is a 4-year program that can be earned while he’s working on a graduate-level physician assistant certificate. The initial 2 years are devoted to mathematics, sciences and arts, while the 3rd and 4th year involve heavy duty work like clinical course work and clinical rotations.

Students can enroll for a Master’s degree after successfully completing their Bachelor’s. The Master’s degree is a 2-year course. In the 1st year the student works on anatomy, pharmacology, microbiology, pediatrics, emergency and internal medicine, obstetrics, surgery, etc. In the 2nd year, he works on primary care and medical specialties.

Naturally, professionals who complete the Master’s course can expect a higher starting pay.

This was about the physician assistant salary by state. If you want more information and in detail, you should visit the local government’s employment website. A physician assistant’s career is self-satisfying and rewarding. It helps build a healthier and more productive nation and also keep healthcare costs down.

Factors that Determine Anesthesiologist Assistant Salary

January 1st, 2012

The typical anesthesiologist assistant salary is between $95,000 to $120,000 per year, while a regular physician assistant salary is around $70,000 per year. But, the high salary that an anesthesiologist assistant command is not surprising – in fact, it is well-deserved.

Anesthesiologist assistant first obtains a degree; after that they successfully complete pre-medical courses so that he can become eligible. While training, they spend six semesters training rigorously in academics and clinical procedures.

They receive surgical rotation experience in ambulatory, cardiothoracic, general, pediatrics, neurosurgery, and other surgical processes. Also, they are trained on different types of anesthesia – epidural, spinal, general and peripheral nerve blockade. It is only after they successfully complete all this training that they are awarded certification by the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA).

The story does not end there. Anesthesiologist assistants must participate in continuing education programs to maintain their certificate. They work in many life-threatening situations and help in saving the patient’s life. So, the anesthesiologist assistant salary of $120,000 per year is absolutely well-deserved.

Why is the anesthesiologist assistant salary so high?

Well, the one line answer to that would be that there’s a tremendous shortage of anesthesiologist assistants, and here are the reasons why:

  1. The number of interventional procedures has increased dramatically. Today, many treatments are non-invasive, a factor that has contributed to the increase in the number of procedures. More procedures mean call for more anesthesia care.
  2. The usage of offsite anesthesia is growing. 10% of anesthesia cases happen outside of the operating room. For example, anesthesia is administered even in MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imagery) procedures when the patient cannot hold still.
  3. Medical technology is progressing at a rapid pace. Many surgical procedures that once required hospital stay are performed in an hour and the patient is out of the hospital the same day. This has increased the demand for surgeries and therefore, anesthesiologists and their assistants.
  4. America’s population is aging. Medical conditions set in with age and there comes a time in everyone’s life when one must go under the knife. As surgeries are increasing, so is the demand for anesthesiologists and their assistants.
  5. More than anything else, an anesthesiologist assistant is a skilled professional. Even a slight mistake on his part can become a question of life and death. It is indeed a critical and important profession.

 

These are the factors that are contributing to the increasing demand for anesthesiologist assistants and their increasing demand is pumping up their salary.

What does the anesthesiologist assistant do to deserve such a high salary? And, how can they further increase their salary?

The anesthesiologist assistant salary depends on their skills and therefore before analyzing their salary, it is important to know their skills. Here are some facts about the profession, along with the reasons why the anesthesiologist assistant salary is high:

  1. An anesthesiologist assistant administers anesthesia under the medical supervision of an anesthesiologist.
  2. They are trained to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Advance Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) – these are emergency procedures that save lives. He can administer such procedures even when the anesthesiologist is not around.
  3. They can even plan and schedule anesthesia administration after examining patients, reviewing their medical record and interviewing them. They can order pre-operative evaluations and medications after consulting with the anesthesiologist.
  4. They are a highly skilled professional. They ensure that the anesthesia is administered as per standards laid down by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). They are also responsible for interpreting data derived from devices and then acting on their judgment. They also provide critical inputs to their anesthesiologist.
  5. While administering anesthesia, the assistant takes into account respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic factors and then makes a decision. If required, he calls the anesthesiologist if he notices an unexpected perioperative event, or at any other time.
  6. An assistant can administer vasoactive and anesthetic drugs, blood and other treatments as suggested by the anesthesiologist.
  7. Anesthesiologist assistants are even trained to administer acute pain management procedures and ventilator support, which are post-operative procedures.
  8. They are well knowledgeable about all anesthetic drugs, techniques and procedures.
  9. They possess excellent communicational skills. They have to interpret complex data, understand the patient’s condition, and then communicate with the supervising anesthesiologist.
  10. They may also participate in teaching programs or in research studies as suggested by his anesthesiologist.
  11. Finally, anesthesiologist assistants are excellent thinkers and communicators – they listen attentively, convey information efficiently, employs logic and reasoning to arrive at practical solutions, monitors critical situations, acts in quick time and is always in control of themselves and the situation. It is a very demanding, but noble job.

 

The anesthesiologist assistant salary is fixed based on his skill and experience. A brand new graduate can expect to start at anything between $95,000 and $120,000 per year, plus benefits, plus on-call considerations. This number holds good for a 40-hour week. The pay starts rising with experience and an assistant can expect a 5% to 15% increment after being employed for 1-2 years. These figures are comparable to a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) salary.

Anesthesiologist assistants gradually climb up higher on the career ladder as they gain experience. Large hospitals that have access to unlimited funds pay higher salaries. However, the demand for them is very high across all healthcare institutions and as such, an anesthesiologist assistant’s career is very rewarding and fulfilling.

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.

Overview

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 Indeed.com, 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.