Physician Assistants

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Social: 96
  • Purpose: 95
  • Supported: 87
  • Analytical: 84
  • Creative: 46

What Physician Assistants Do

Physician assistants, also known as PAs, practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers. They examine, diagnose, and treat patients.

Work Environment

Physician assistants work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and other healthcare settings. Most work full time.

How to Become a Physician Assistant

Physician assistants typically need a master’s degree from an accredited educational program. All states require physician assistants to be licensed.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Physician assistants

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As demand for healthcare services grows, physician assistants will be needed to provide care to patients.

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    Job Trends for Physician Assistants

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    This occupation supported 86,700 jobs in 2012 and 94,400 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 8.9%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 38.4% in 2022 to 120,000 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 93,300, compared with an observed value of 94,400, 1.2% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 33.2% in 2024 to 123,200 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 126,600 jobs for 2024, 2.8% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.