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:

Cardiology Physician Assistant, Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C), Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant (Emergency Medicine PA), Family Practice Physician Assistant, Orthopaedic Physician Assistant, Orthopedic Physician Assistant, Physician Assistant (PA), Physician's Assistant, Surgical Critical Care Physician Assistant (Surgical Critical Care PA), Surgical Physician Assistant (Surgical PA)

Typical Wages

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Physician Assistants is projected to grow 35 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than average compared to all occupations.

Projected Employment in CA

No Data Available
  • 35%

    Change

    Ranks #21 in job growth rate
    1,400

    Job Openings

    Ranks #2 in net job growth

Best colleges for Physician Assistants

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Education Level

Percent of workers in this field with these degrees:

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree  (15%)
  • Master's degree  (59%)
  • Bachelor's degree  (18%)
  • Associate's degree  (3%)
  • Some college, no degree  (2%)
  • High school diploma equivalent  (2%)
  • Less than high school diploma  (1%)

Typical College Majors

Most Popular Majors that prepare Physician Assistants

Select Type of Degree:

  • #1
    • Degrees Granted

      11,069
    • Female Students

      8,362
    • Male Students

      2,707
    • Median Starting Salary

      $85,200

People in this career often have these skills:

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • 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.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

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.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

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.
  • 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 that there is a problem.
  • 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.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

People in this career often do these activities:

  • Diagnose medical conditions.
  • Analyze test data or images to inform diagnosis or treatment.
  • Prescribe treatments or therapies.
  • Prescribe medications.
  • Collect medical information from patients, family members, or other medical professionals.
  • Record patient medical histories.
  • Examine patients to assess general physical condition.
  • Order medical diagnostic or clinical tests.
  • Provide health and wellness advice to patients, program participants, or caregivers.
  • Immunize patients.
  • Administer intravenous medications.
  • Monitor patient progress or responses to treatments.
  • Assist healthcare practitioners during surgery.
  • Supervise patient care personnel.
  • Order medical supplies or equipment.

This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 28.1 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

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

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