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Career Guide: Physician Assistant

Career Guide: Physician Assistant

U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Prospects

Job opportunities for PAs should be good, particularly in rural and inner-city clinics because those settings have difficulty attracting physicians. In addition to job openings from employment growth, openings will result from the need to replace physician assistants who retire or leave the occupation permanently during the 2006-16 decade. Opportunities will be best in States that allow PAs a wider scope of practice, such as allowing PAs to prescribe medications.


Median annual earnings of wage-and-salary physician assistants were $74,980 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $62,430 and $89,220. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,100, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $102,230. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of physician assistants in May 2006 were:

Outpatient care centers $80,960 General medical and surgical hospitals $76,710 Offices of physicians $74,160

According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, median income for physician assistants in full-time clinical practice was $80,356 in 2006; median income for first-year graduates was $69,517. Income varies by specialty, practice setting, geographical location, and years of experience. Employers often pay for their employees’ liability insurance, registration fees with the Drug Enforcement Administration, State licensing fees, and credentialing fees.

Related Occupations

Other health care workers who provide direct patient care that requires a similar level of skill and training include audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, registered nurses, and speech-language pathologists.


For information on a career as a physician assistant, including a list of accredited programs, contact:

• American Association of Physician Assistants, 950 North Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet:

For eligibility requirements and a description of the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination, contact:

• National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Inc. ,12000 Findley Rd., Suite 200, Duluth, GA 30097. Internet:

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