Physician Assistant Employment Fact Sheet: 2013
Posted by DwagenerComment

Rachel Farrell, PA-C, looks in patient's ear.Physician assistants (PAs) are essential in today’s busy healthcare system.

“Team-based, patient-centered medical care is the hallmark of the PA profession and a perfect fit for today’s dynamically changing healthcare system,” said Lawrence Herman, MPA, PA-C, president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. “PAs practice medicine in every medical setting and specialty and play a vital role in increasing access to high-quality patient care.”

In honor of National PA Week 2013, HEALTHeCAREERS Network (HeCN), an online healthcare recruiting solutions provider, has created the following fact sheet on PA employment statistics and trends.

Vital facts: The lowdown on physician assistants*

  • There are more than 93,000 certified PAs in the U.S. today.
  • With the U.S. facing a physician shortage, the PA profession is expected to grow 39 percent by 2020—the second-fastest-growing healthcare career in the next decade.
  • Not surprisingly, the PA profession continues to gain popularity; it has been featured in Forbes’ “Best Master’s Degrees” list for three consecutive years.

The figures: What are the hottest physician assistant jobs by specialty?

  • In the first two quarters of 2013, emergency medicine, general medicine,^ family medicine and orthopaedics were the most in-demand specialties for PAs.
  • Job postings for PAs in emergency medicine increased by 55 percent from 2012 to 2013. This substantial increase is likely due to a considerable staffing shortage caused by the growing demand for emergency medical care.
  • PA specialties that showed the most job posting growth from Q1/Q2 of 2012 to Q1/Q2 of 2013 were: urgent care (up 141 percent), family medicine (up 18 percent), general medicine (up 10 percent) and orthopaedics (up 9 percent).

Locality: Where are physician assistants needed the most?

  • Pennsylvania had the most physician assistant job postings of any state (up 31 percent) from Q1/Q2 of 2012 to Q1/Q2 of 2013.
  • Apart from having one of the largest healthcare systems in the U.S., Pennsylvania is tied for the second highest portion of individuals over the age of 65. The demand for PAs in Pennsylvania may be attributed to fact that the elderly typically require additional healthcare services.
  • Other states that showed significant growth in PA job postings over the last year include: California (up 27 percent), Maryland (up 55 percent), Oregon (up 68 percent), Wisconsin (up 56 percent) and Washington (up 26 percent).

Additional resources:


HEALTHeCAREERS Network (HeCN) is the only online single-source healthcare recruiting solution providing a full spectrum of medical and healthcare jobs and unparalleled access for employers to recruit qualified candidates. Designed to match qualified medical professionals with healthcare employers, HeCN also serves as a career destination complete with news, information, events, career resources and recruitment tools.

To learn more about HeCN and our offerings for employers, recruiters and job seekers, please visit our blog, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For questions about this fact sheet and how information was collected, please email kristianna.berger@healthecareeers.com.

*All data shown here was sourced from HEALTHeCAREERS Network internal data sources and collected from the HEALTHeCAREERS online database of job openings, which are placed by healthcare providers across the U.S. These organizations range from large health systems to single-specialty practices, with an average hospital size of 300 beds.

^There is not a “general specialty” for PAs. However, HEALTHeCAREERS’ categories, and therefore its data, are based on where clients post their jobs.  Not all clients want/need a specialized physician assistant so HEALTHeCAREERS uses a general PA category to post jobs to.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *