U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Careers of 2008

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 20-03-2008

Physician Assistant makes U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Careers of 2008!

According to the U.S. News & World Report’s list of best careers of 2008, the following jobs offer strong outlooks and high job satisfaction. 

Best Careers 2008

Biomedical equipment technician
Curriculum/training specialist
Genetic counselor
Government manager
Higher education administrator
Investment banker
Landscape architect
Locksmith/Security system technician
Management consultant
Occupational therapist
Physician assistant
Politician/Elected official
Registered nurse
School psychologist
Systems analyst
Urban planner
Usability/User experience specialist
This information is copyright and the complete list and more information can be found at http://www.usnews.com/features/business/best-careers/best-careers-2008.html

 If you were having doubts about going into the physician assistant field this should help you make your decision.  I have looked around and physician assistant has been making list likes this for a years now.  In 2006 CNN and salary.com had physician assistant listed in the top 50 jobs in the United States.  Even though it has only been two years or so since the top 50 rating, the field is growing at amazing rates and continues to move toward the top of all these type list.   

If you click Physician Assitant in the list above, its in red text, you will be taken to the  U.S. News & World Report’s offical review of the physician assistant field written by Marty Nemko on December 19, 2007. 

Marty writes “Don’t confuse physician assistants with medical assistants, who aren’t qualified to do much more than take your blood pressure. Physician assistants do 80 percent of what doctors do: conduct exams, diagnose conditions, prescribe medications, even assist in surgery. While PAs are supervised by physicians, they have considerable autonomy. And while pay isn’t doctorlike, it’s far from sickly. Plus training is much shorter than it is for doctors, typically consisting of three years, post-bachelor’s. No surprise this is one of America’s fastest-growing professions.”

I think this is an amazing review of what a physician assistant is and what they do.  So check out the link to read more of Marty’s article.

Frequently Asked Questions about Physician Assistants

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 17-03-2008

Q I see that a lot of physician assistants have PA-C after their names.  What does the “C” stand for?

A The “C” means that the physician assistant is nationally certified.

Q  Where do physician assistants work?

A  Physician assistants can work in any field of medicine.  They can work in hospitals or private practices.  Some work in surgical specialties, family practice, gynecology…the list goes on and one.

Q  Can physician assistants write prescrpitons?

A  Yes physician assistants can write prescriptions.  So in other words Pas do get DEA numbers.

Q  What can a PA do?

A  A physician assistant can do anything they are trained to do.  In other words, a physician assistant can do anything that their supervising physician allows them to do.

Q  What is the difference between a physician and a physician assistant?

A  The main difference between a physician and physician assistant is the amount of time spent in school.  Physicians spent quite a bit longer in school and also have to go through internships and residencies.  Also remember that physicians can practice independtly while Pas are required to work under physicians.

Q  What is the difference between a physician assistant and a nurse practitioner?

A  By now you should know that physician assistants are trained in a classical medical tradition.  They can work in any field of medicine and can always change fields whenever desired.  Nurse practitioners are registered nurses that get more advanced training in nursing.  During their training they focus on one area and that is the area that they work in.  This is in contrast to physician assistants, as said earlier, who don’t focus on one area.  Also be aware that nurse practitioners and physician assistants interact with physicians in a different way.  Nurse practitioners typically refer patients requiring specialized care to a doctor.  Physician assistants work hand in hand with doctors and can do the same things.  The doctor or physician just makes sure that quality care is being provided.

How many people should I expect in my Physician Assistant Class?

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 13-03-2008

I know a lot of people are curious as to how many people get into PA school and how big the classes are.  In other words, people are worried about how many of those applying to a given school will actually get in.  Trust me, I know the worry.  Physician Assistant school is very competitive.  I think this is best expressed by a conversation I had with a very prominate physician.  The physician asked how I was and what I was doing.  I told him him I had been accepted to PA school.  His eyes lite up and he said to me “WOW…i’m on the admissions board for the medical school, medical students, and I can tell you, PA school is actually harder to get into these days than Med school.”

Now, don’t quote me as saying physician assistant school is harder to get into than Med school.  I’m just passing on what an individual who’s opinion can be trusted told me.

So what is the meat of this post?  Well, I have done a searching on the net for you and have found the class size for some common PA schools.  All the class sizes I present are from the offical institutions website, but I have not verified that they are all current and accurate.  Please just use this numbers to get an understanding of the common class sizes.

Idaho State Univeristy- 50

Loma Linda University-24
Louisiana State University/ Health Sciences Center PA program: 36 students

Mercer Univeristy -20

Saint Francis University – 55-60

The University of New Mexico Physician Program- 15

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center- 40

Penn State- 30

Pacific University- 42

Harding University – 32

Mayo School of Health Sciences- 12

Western University-98

How much does a physician assistant make?

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 07-03-2008

I have been keeping track of recent searches that people conduct on google and I have found many are looking for to find how much money or what the salary of a physician assistant is.  I did this search myself on google and tons of results came up.  I started to go through many of the sites when I started to notice something….none of the sites provide anywhere near the same information.  From this, I can see how many people would be very confused when searching for how much a physician assistant makes when there are so many different answers out there.  So to help clear things up, I have compiled the best of all the sites in an easy to understand way and will provide it for you.  I will try and provide data that will give you a good idea of the range that a physician assistant can make.

So lets start with data that was collected in 2007 by The American Academy of Physician Assistants.  According to the AAPA, “The median total annual income from primary employer for respondents who work at least 32 hours per week for their primary employer and who are not self-employed is $82,223; the mean is $86,214. The comparable figures for respondents who graduated in 2006 are $71,825 and $73,013, respectively.”  For more details on how they came up with this data visit the AAPA’s site.

Now that I have thrown some exact figures at you, I would like to now summarize all the other figures you will find on the web.  Something to know is that I will be giving the low end of all estimates.  So if the average pay for a third year physician assistant is $90,000 – $110,000…I will report the average as $90,000.  I think it is more important to know the low end and to be thoughtful of the fact that the number can always go up. 

It seems that the average starting pay for a physician assistant fresh out of PA school is in the neighborhood of $72,000.

After the first year of employment, the pay goes up as should be expected.  It seems the average pay for non first year physician assistant, or physician assistants that have been practicing for a few years is $90,000.

Now, for the stuff everyone wants to really now, but may be afraid to actually ask?  What is the most that a PA can make?  Well, I have seen many figures, but it seems that some physician assistants are or have the potential to make $150,000.

So, for those of you who like to have it in terms of hours….
the figures I have gathered say the general idea of pay per hour is anywhere from $35 to $75. So doing some simple math…
$35 per hours times 40 hours per week, the hours may be more or less, times 52 weeks in a year equals $72,800. Doing the same thing for $75 per hours gives, $156,000.

It must be kept in mind that pay or salary has many factors. How much experience, hours, geographic location, the type of practice, etc…

So to put it all in words….

Physician Assistants do very well :)


Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 06-03-2008

So I have been really busy.  No not with school work yet, but will paperwork.  I have been filling out tons of paperwork just to be able to start PA school come May.  So If you do get accepted to physician assistant school be aware you might have to fill and do the  following things:

immunizations: thats right, you will be working in a hospital so all immunizations have to be up to date and documented.  I know this doesn’t seem like a big problem, but trust me.  There are going to be a few things you are going to have to get and may have never been required before.

Accounts:  So am I, you will probably get tons of accounts for school.  An account for this…an account for that.  These things take time to created and understand.

Parking:  Yes, you have to park somewhere.  I have had to fill out forms and now just wait until closer to start time to actually get parking.  The problem comes with the options.  Do I want really good parking, good parking, not so good parking, or really bad parking.  And wow, that really good parking can be expensive!

Aid:  A big one filling out all finincial aid type stuff and making sure all information is correct.  I think this is the really important one. 

 And there will be others forms like, gyms signup, ID badge signup, on…and on….

Ok…so that may not seem that bad, but it does add up to a lot of talking to people on the phone to figure out exactly what is wanted and trying to uncode forms not meant to be easily read.

Career Spotlight: Physician Assistant Video

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 02-03-2008

I would like to share a great video that I found today.  The video is an interview with a Physician Assistant that works in a plastic surgeons office.  She talks about being a PA and what her responsiblities are.  She also goes on to talk about the difference between a PA a Doctor and a Nurse Practitioner.  I know this will be important for those of you who are looking to apply for Physician Assistant school or who have interviews and are doing research.