Physician Assistants

What do they do?

Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.

Also known as:

Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C), Clinical Physician Assistant, Family Practice Physician Assistant, General Surgery Physician Assistant, Midlevel Provider, Orthopaedic Physician Assistant, Physician Assistant (PA), Physician Assistant Certified (PAC), Physician Extender, Physician's Assistant, Surgical Physician Assistant

Typical Wages

Annual wages for Physician Assistants in United States

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Physician Assistants is projected to grow 44 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than average compared to all occupations.

Projected Employment

No Data Available

Projected Employment Rankings For Virginia:

  • 44.5%

    Percent Change

    Ranks #5 in job growth rate
  • 270

    Annual Projected Job Openings

    Ranks #14 in net job growth

Select Type of Degree:

Typical College Majors

Majors that prepare Physician Assistants:

Indicates your preferred majors

★ Number of granted degrees for degree type, All, is listed after the major.

Education Level

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree (18.4%)
  • Master's degree (58.3%)
  • Bachelor's degree (16.5%)
  • Associate's degree (4.3%)
  • Some college, no degree (1.2%)
  • High school diploma equivalent (0.5%)
  • Less than high school diploma (0.8%)

Percent of workers in this field

Colleges that Prepare

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Skills

People in this career often have these skills:

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.

Knowledge

People in this career often know a lot about:

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Abilities

People in this career often have talent in:

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Activities: what you might do in a day

People in this career often do these activities:

  • Examine patients to assess general physical condition.
  • Diagnose medical conditions.
  • Prescribe treatments or therapies.
  • Prescribe medications.
  • Collect medical information from patients, family members, or other medical professionals.
  • Analyze test data or images to inform diagnosis or treatment.

This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 24.0 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (“USDOL/ETA”). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA

Occupation statistics: USDOL U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

careeronestop logo Videos: CareerOneStop, USDOL/ETA and the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development

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