This is a great time to pursue a PA career. As more physicians enter specialty areas of medicine, there will be a greater need for physician assistants to provide routine care. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for PAs will increase by 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) projects that there will be between 137,000 and 173,000 certified PAs by the year 2020.
In addition to good job prospects, there are many other reasons to consider the PA profession:
According to the AAPA, about one-third of PAs work in primary care and two-thirds in specialties. PA students do not specialize during their education, but because the PA curriculum is broad-based, physician assistants can practice in any specialty.
PAs often work in the following specialties:
Most PAs are employed in hospitals or group practices. According to 2010 AAPA Census figures, about 7,500 PAs work for government and the military.
Graduates of an accredited PA program are eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), a computer-based, multiple-choice test comprising questions that assess basic medical and surgical knowledge. Achieving a passing score on the PANCE allows a PA to use the designation Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C). Monmouth University has been granted Accreditation-Provisional status to begin matriculating students for the Fall 2014 semester.
For more on initial PA certification, visit www.nccpa.net.
Before PAs can practice, they must apply for and obtain authorization from the state in which they plan to practice. This authorization process is called "licensure" in most states, but it can also be referred to as "registration."
To learn more about state authorization, visit aapa.org.