Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Career Spotlight: Physician Assistants

This is the third installment of monthly career spotlight blog series created by the team at, an educational directory and resource for adult learners interested in pursuing a graduate degree. These articles are intended to provide an overview of the job outlook, salary data, daily life, and educational requirements of selected careers in hopes that one of these spotlights will help you decide what you want to be when you grow up.

This month’s featured career is Physician Assistants.  Physician Assistants perform many of the same duties as medical doctors, including; diagnosing injuries and illnesses and recommending courses of treatment.  In many states physician assistants are even able to prescribe medications.  Physician’s assistants can choose to specialize in a medical specialty, including; obstetrics, pediatrics, surgery, orthopedics, and psychiatrics.  

Physician Assistants are required to earn a master’s degree, completing coursework in subjects such as anatomy and physiology, biology, pharmacology, medical law, and ethics.  Students in a physician assistant graduate program are also required to successfully complete several clinical rotations where they work under the supervision of a practicing physician assistant to learn important job skills in a variety of clinical settings.  

Physician assistants are able to exercise a great degree of control over their careers because there are many career options available to them.  Physician assistants can find employment in hospitals, medical clinics, and the offices of other medical professionals; they might also find employment in urgent care centers of drug store chains that feature wellness centers.  The availability of jobs in a variety of different settings means that physician assistants might have the opportunity to choose the work environment and schedule that best fits their lifestyle.  This flexibility may make a career as a physician assistant ideal for the modern woman.  The ability to exercise a degree of control over ones schedule may make it easier to manage competing responsibilities like family obligations. 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the 2012 median salary of physician assistants was $90,930 and jobs in this field are predicted to grow by 38% between 2012 and 2022.  To learn more about physician assistant graduate programs check out available physician assistant graduate programs

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