Assisting in childbirth is just one of the many responsibilities of labor delivery PAs. More commonly known as OB/GYN physician assistants, they perform pap exams, breast exams, ultrasounds, colposcopies and endometrial biopsies, among other procedures. Depending on the practice, they may also work with patients on family planning, menopause management and gynecological complaints.
As of 2012, the average physician assistant earned $92,460 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But this figure doesn’t account for specialty -- a factor with some bearing on salaries. A survey by the American Academy of Physician Assistants found that PAs specializing in obstetrics and gynecology earned $82,000 annually in 2010. The top 10 percent of earners in this specialty made more than $105,000, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $65,000.
In addition to specialty, experience affects earnings, and labor delivery PAs are no exception. Those with less than one year of experience earned $74,800 a year, revealed the AAPA survey. Salaries jumped to $80,000 for OB/GYN PAs with one to four years of experience. Those with five to nine years of experience earned $85,000, while OB/GYN PAs with 10 or more years of experience earned at least $89,500.
PAs typically complete a master’s degree in a physician assistant education program -- a two-year commitment, on average -- to work in a medical setting. PA programs consist of classroom, laboratory and clinical training in topic such as anatomy, physiology, internal medicine, pediatric and physical diagnosis, among others. Upon graduation, you’ll sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination offer by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, or NCCPA.
The BLS expects employment opportunities for physician assistants to be good, with a job growth rate of as much as 30 percent. This is double the national average for all U.S. occupations, a projected 14 percent. The 30-percent rate should equate to the creation of roughly 24,700 new jobs. Being a subspecialty of primary care, PAs specializing in OB/GYN can expect greater job prospects than other PAs.