When deciding on a career in health care, pursuing a career as a physician assistant should be considered. Employment in healthcare is in high demand and the industry grows continually. The growth rate seems faster than other occupations.
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What Are Physician Assistants?
A physician assistant is a medical professional. A PA usually works in a doctor’s office, a clinic, or in a hospital. They can perform many of the tasks that doctors perform, and thus can allow physicians to spend more of their time on patients or cases that are not routine. The physician assistant can always bring in a doctor when they have a case they feel needs more specific care. For education, a PA needs a Master’s degree from an accredited school. This means a four-year degree and then two years of a post graduate education, or a full six years of study.
Average Physician Assistant Salary Per Year
Recently it has been reported that average physician assistant median salaries are $110,000. In earlier years, the average salary was $104,000 and $108,000, so it has clearly been increasing regularly. To compare with similar jobs: nurse practitioners had an average salary of $110,000 and registered nurses made $75,000.
Moving to another State With Higher Pay Jobs
Sometimes physician assistant jobs pay higher in other states. For instance, in California a PA may earn $117,000 a year but in Connecticut may bring in $125,000 a year. The temptation to move to another state to earn a higher income must be approached with caution. A physician assistant must take into consideration and factor in the cost of living expenses in that state as well. Many job openings that provide entry level physician assistant positions only have job openings due to being in an undesirable location (objectively). Practicing in a rural location with also provide salaries that exceed those of urban jobs.
Careful Contract Review is Needed for an Entry Level Physician Assistant
When approaching a clinic, doctor’s office or hospital where you wish to work, you will need to do your homework. Finding out what sort of salary they offer is important. Getting a copy of the contract you would be expected to sign is also important. Finding a contract attorney who can review the contract is vital so all points in the contract will be properly covered, and your interests are protected.
What Should I Look for in a PA Contract?
Many ask what should I look for in a PA contract? When about to start working as a physician assistant, you will find a new area to understand that wasn’t taught in your school. Schooling hasn’t covered how to negotiate a contract, or even what should be in a contract. Anyone about to sign a contract as a physician assistant must know what to ask for. A PA has numerous responsibilities within a practice and this should open the door to negotiate certain terms in the employment contract.
Looking at Entry Level Job Opportunities as a PA
First of all, good advice is to continue to look at jobs and what is being offered. It will help in understanding what your options are in a contract and what can be negotiated. You’ll want to know if the contract you are going to sign is far off from comparable positions. There’s the AAPA Salary Guide with can help you see what sort of salary you can get depending on your location, experience and specialty.
How Much are Oral Contracts Enforceable?
Without a question, you should never do an oral contract. This must be mentioned as even though it seems to go unsaid, there are employers out there who agree to a salary increase verbally, but this isn’t recognized as enforceable legally. Anything agreed to verbally should be put in the contract in writing. The most standard contract points you will want covered are:
- Start Date
- Vacation Days
- On-call Pay
- On-call Schedule
- Health Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Disability Insurance
Other points you may want to review and ensure that they are covered thoroughly in the contract are malpractice insurance, productivity commission, license fees, and loan repayment. An important part of reviewing a contract is knowing what would make you walk away. Are there points that would just not settle for? What would be a deal breaker in this job?
Legal Help Provides the Skills and Experience Needed
Before plunging in and signing a contract, you should consult a contract attorney. They can review the contract to ensure it is binding, the wording and format is correct, and that all important points are covered. The attorney can also help in the negotiation of certain points. This will ensure you won’t be sorry later that some point was not negotiated when it should have been.
Is It Worth Becoming a Physician Assistant?
Many ask is it worth becoming a physician assistant? The answer to that question may be different for different people. When considering a career as a physician assistant, there are many things that need to be studied in order to determine if it is going to be a career worth your while. For something to be worth your while, it must justify the time or work that is required to achieve it. Only you can make that determination.
Physician Assistant Duties
Physician assistants do many of the same duties as traditional physicians. You will recognize them in the below list of physician assistant duties:
- Examine and interview patients
- Prescribe medications
- Order tests when needed to work out the nature of illness or injury
- Set bones
- Administer immunizations
- Maintain patients’ records
The Difference between a Physician and a Physician Assistant
Although both are responsible for their patients’ care, PAs are classified as medical support professionals. Their work needs to be supervised by a physician. They can’t perform surgeries but can assist in the operating room. The monitoring they receive varies from state to state.
Reasons to Practice Medicine and Become a Physician Assistant
There are many reasons that becoming a physician assistant would be a wise choice. Not everyone wants to pursue the lengthy education to become a doctor, and a PA is a bit easier to achieve. There is less time required in a classroom. The time commitment is shorter than doing medical school. You can get a Master’s in two to four years. Other pluses:
- You get good pay as a PA
- You can transition easily to different specialties
- You will work more regular hours than a doctor
- You are in a job that is in demand
A Rewarding Career with High Salaries
It is no doubt that working as a physician assistant could be very rewarding. You are helping people and saving lives. The focus is on patient care and you don’t have to worry about the huge responsibilities of a medical practice. You are a vital part of a team and will find that extremely satisfying.
Signing a Contract in Different States
You will find that when you start work in a clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office, you will have a contract to sign before beginning. It is important that you have it reviewed by a professional so any points you desire are covered and/or can be negotiated.
Medical Contract Attorney
When your PA agreement is reviewed by an experienced attorney, you will find financial benefits which end up outweighing the cost of the review. Leave it to the experts. If you are in need of assistance with an employment agreement or contract review schedule a Physician Assistant Contract Lawyer with Chelle Law today!