Why now is the right time to become a physician assistant

February 24, 2016


Many medical careers will give you the chance to help people and make a difference in their lives, one of which is physician assistant. Physician assistants work in settings and specialties similar to that of doctors, such as private practice, the emergency room, and surgery. Although they work under the direction of a doctor, physician assistants still have autonomy. If you’ve been considering becoming a physician assistant, you may be in luck. Physician assistants are increasingly in demand, so now might be the perfect time to pursue this career.

A predicted shortage of doctors

A study conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges Center for Workforce Studies predicts there will be a shortage of doctors in various specialties. The study concluded that by the year 2020, there will be a shortage of about 45,000 primary care doctors in the United States. Results also indicate that primary care is not the only specialty that may face a shortage. A shortage of about 46,000 general surgeons is also predicted. With this on the horizon, physician assistants may be more in demand than ever. It’s estimated that nurse practitioners and physician assistants will fill some of the void created by the physician shortage.

Changing healthcare costs

Healthcare costs continue to be a concern for both patients and providers. Changing laws and insurance regulations affect the way hospitals and doctors are reimbursed for services. Healthcare facilities are looking for ways to cut costs and utilizing physician assistants may be one option. Although salaries for physician assistants are considered good by many people’s standards, they are still lower than a doctor earns. According to American Academy of Physician Assistants, the average salary for PA’s was about $90,000 in 2013. While it may save hospitals and clinics money, it still provides a relatively good income.

More options than ever

Physician assistants work in many, if not all, of the same specialties as doctors. In addition to primary care, they also work alongside doctors in the emergency room, oncology, and cardiology. They also work in various surgical specialties, and in several settings, such as urgent care clinics, hospitals, and private practices.

More residency programs are also emerging for physician assistants who wish to gain additional training and experience. As more options become available to physician assistants, it results in an easier time finding a job. Although competition for jobs may vary based on the part of the country you live in and specialty, many physician assistants have multiple job offers when they finish school.

An evolving role

The role of physician assistant is a relatively new one. As it grows and changes, additional opportunities, salaries, and responsibilities may emerge. Although no one can predict changes in healthcare and how they will affect physician assistants, it appears to be a very good time to start a career in this growing field.

If you want to know more about what the role entails and at the same time strengthen your potential application, we now offer a specific physician assistant program in all of our overseas destinations.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists and physician assistants – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.