The career website Monster.com has listed Physicians Assistant as one of the best careers for 2012. According to the site, Physician assistants (PA) work closely with MDs to diagnose and treat patients in hospitals, clinics or private practices. Many serve as primary-care providers in rural settings. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, physician assistants complete a two-year master’s PA program and must pass a national exam to obtain their license. They then take exams to maintain their license throughout their career. They can also pursue additional training to specialize in areas such as emergency medicine or pediatrics.
One of the benefits of a physician assistant is that they can fulfill many of the health needs a community or an area lacking the services of a doctor. Many rural areas and some urban locations do not have a physician to care for its population due to a lack of trained doctors in this country. Physician assistants fill this need by seeing to needs of patients but are more accessible. The lesser amount of time it takes to become qualified as compared to physicians draws many people to this career choice.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Physician assistants held about 74,800 jobs in 2008. The number of jobs is greater than the number of practicing PAs because some hold two or more jobs. For example, some PAs work with a supervising physician but also work in another healthcare facility. According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, about 15 percent of actively practicing PAs worked in more than one clinical job concurrently in 2008.