Have you always had ambitions of working in medicine? If the thought of spending years in medical school is starting to drag you down, don’t give up on your dreams just yet. There are plenty of other ways to provide care for patients and earn a great living in the medical field.
For a multitude of reasons, more and more aspiring medical professionals are choosing to become physician assistants. Physician assistants’ duties are nearly the same as regular physicians, but there are some clear benefits that put the PA position above other forms of medical practice. If this option interests you, keep reading for three of the primary reasons why you should consider a career as a physician assistant.
Focus on Patient Care
If you’ve dreamed of becoming a doctor, you know that the prospect of spending years in medical school is one of the more intimidating aspects of joining the career. The training required to become a PA isn’t vastly different in length, but it does have a more patient-centered focus.
It’s important to stress, however, that a PA program isn’t just a backup for applicants who are concerned about medical school acceptance. The prerequisites of the two career paths have some key differences. In addition to the academic requirements of typical medical programs, PAs must complete much more on-site training and cite relevant work experience to be accepted to their programs. Physician assistants also have to take a different standardized test, the PANCE, to begin practicing.
For many people, PA programs are more desirable than traditional medical school because you get to spend more time and energy on what’s most important–patient care. When PAs finish school, this theme continues through their practice. While physicians often do a lot of behind-the-scenes work with prescriptions and documentation, PAs spend more time on average doing one-on-one visits with patients.
Enjoy Security & Flexibility
As with most other careers in healthcare, physician assistants can expect job security and plenty of employment opportunities. No matter where you live or what the job market looks like, there will always be opportunities for you to practice.
On top of being a stable career option, PAs also enjoy a lot of flexibility in their schedules and in their services. In general, PAs work far more regular hours than physicians and other doctors do. This way, they are able to set aside time for their families, personal passions, and leisure activities without compromising their career performance and growth opportunities.
Due to their diverse training and on-the-job experiences, PAs also have the opportunity to switch their focus or develop a specialization later in their careers without returning to school. PA education includes training and experience in family medicine, internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. With expansive skills like these, physician assistants can serve patients in almost any area and determine which branch of medicine they are most apt to practice.
Earn a Competitive Income
Like many other medical professionals, physician assistants earn a high income and have plenty of potential for growth. According to U.S. News and World Report, the median salary for physician assistants is $105,000. Some states report even higher PA salaries, so that may determine where new graduates decide to practice.
Further, physician assistant jobs are rising in numbers and existing PAs are taking on new responsibilities in the healthcare system. Due to their versatility, physician assistants can provide services as needed and fill voids in their local healthcare scene. With such a profitable and mobile position, a physician assistant is sure to have a long and fulfilling career with limitless opportunities to help their communities.
As these benefits prove, the physician assistant position is much more than an alternative to other career paths in medicine. If you think this could be the right job for you, do a little research, study hard, and get ready to serve a lot of grateful patients!