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Is It Worth Becoming a Physician Assistant?

The answer to whether it is worth becoming a PA, that question may be different for different people. When considering whether to become a PA, there are many things that need to be studied in order to determine if it is going to be a career worth your while. This career must justify the time or work that is required to achieve it. Only you can make that determination if becoming a PA is a good decision.

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PA Work Duties

Physician assistants do many of the same duties as traditional physicians.  A PA provides many of the duties below:

  • Examine and interview patients
  • Prescribe medications
  • Order tests when needed to work out the nature of illness or injury
  • Set bones
  • Administer immunizations
  • Maintain patient’s records

The Difference between Becoming a MD and PA

Although both are responsible for their patients’ care, PAs are classified as medical support professionals. Their work needs to be supervised by physicians. They can’t perform surgeries but can assist in the operating room with physicians present. The monitoring they receive varies from state to state and is regulated by the licensing board.

Becoming a PA and a Job Search

There are many reasons that becoming a PA is a wise choice. Not everyone wants to pursue the lengthy education like physicians, and a PA is a bit easier to achieve.  Becoming a PA requires less time in the classroom. The time commitment and education is shorter than doing medical school to become a PA. You can get a Master’s in two to four years. Other pluses when becoming a PA are:

  • 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

Becoming a PA is a Rewarding Career

There is no doubt that working as physician assistants is 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.

Answers for Signing a Contract When Becoming a PA

You will find that when you start work in a clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office, you will have a contract to sign before becoming an employee. It is important that you have it reviewed by a professional so any points you desire are covered and/or can be negotiated.  Becoming a PA also carries business related concerns.

When deciding on a career in health care, pursuing a career as a PA should be considered.  Careers in health care always become in demand. Employment in healthcare is in high demand and the industry grows continually. The growth rate seems faster than other occupations.

How Much Do Physician Assistants Make On Average

Many ask how much do physician assistants make on average? A PA 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 PA 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 Post School PA 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 to Become a Physician Assistant

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 to Reply to the Employer

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 is the Highest Paying PA Specialty?

Many ask what is the highest paying physician assistant specialty? When embarking on a career as a physician assistant, you should look into what specialty you should pursue, as annual pay can range much higher for certain specialties.  You, of course, want to do what you love, but at the same time make good salary. Check out different salaries and see which specialty clicks with you.  A PA is very much like a doctor, however they are termed medical support professionals and their work must be supervised by a doctor. They do many of the same duties as a doctor, such as examining patients, prescribing medications and ordering tests.

Highest Paying Specialties for a PA

Of all specialties surveyed, dermatology is the highest paying specialty for a PA. They earn an average of $126,000 to $129,000 per year. Following that, the next highest paying specialties are critical care at $125,000 a year, emergency medicine $123,000, general surgery $112,000, and pathology and radiology, both making about $111,000 a year.

Growth Opportunities for PAs

There are many growth opportunities for physician assistants. To take advantage of the growth opportunities to the fullest, you should get as much experience working in the workplace as you can. Choosing a high-paying specialty is just the start. If you can get productivity pay, this pay scale allows you to earn much more than other salaried physician assistants. If you work in a medically under served area, you can also find programs available for loan forgiveness.

Employee vs Independent Contractor

PAs who work as independent contractors earn more than those who are classified as employees. When self-employed, the PA can work temporary assignments or even contract with other healthcare facilities. If you decide to be self-employed, review all the responsibilities that go along with it.  Although an independent contractor would have to pay for their own AAPA fees, not working as an employee can save some from career burnout.  If you think becoming a pa as an IC in the medical industry is a way for your concerns about burnout to be answered it is worth looking into that employment relationship.  As an employee or as an independent contractor, you are going to be required to sign a contract when starting work at a facility. These contracts can contain a lot of fancy text and cover many areas. You want to ensure the wording and format is right, and that all the points vital to your future are covered thoroughly. Have a contract attorney review your contract to ensure your interests are taken care of properly.

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!