Now is a good time to be looking for a physician assistant job. If you are among the nearly 10,000 physician assistants (PAs) certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) this year, you are in good company. You and your peers are very much in demand these days.
The NCCPA’s recently released 2019 Statistical Profile of Recently Certified Physician Assistants shows that 2019 was a very good year for PAs. This year should prove just as good, if not better. It looks as though PAs have finally come into their own as clinical professionals and members of the healthcare team.
More Graduates, More Jobs
The availability of PA jobs has undoubtedly led to more young people pursuing the career. In 2019, the NCCPA certified 9,554 new clinicians, representing a nearly 3% increase from the year before. They expect an 18% increase in the number of PA programs preparing new clinicians for work by 2023.
This partly explains why the number of PAs certified by the NCCPA has grown some 30% in the last seven years. What is more important is the fact that the vast majority of newly certified PAs are not having trouble finding jobs. According to the 2019 report:
- 4% found PA jobs within two months of certification
- 9% found work with just one or two job offers
- 5% took jobs in or near their hometowns
- 1% took jobs in the cities where they were trained.
There are plenty more statistics worthy of being cited. However, here’s the point: the vast majority of newly graduated and certified physician assistants have little trouble finding PA jobs. That speaks to the growing demand for their services.
How PAs Are Finding Jobs
With so many jobs there for the taking, it would be curious to know how PAs are finding their jobs. The 2019 report did not address that particular question. However, it did state that 50% of all newly employed PAs found jobs at hospitals. We also know that hospitals make heavy use of recruiting agencies and job boards.
Health Jobs Nationwide confirms the use of recruiting agencies and job boards. But they also say that recruiters are big users of job boards themselves. This suggests that jobs boards might be the best avenue for finding open jobs. Boards like Health Jobs Nationwide allow applicants to filter jobs by specialty, location, and other parameters. Applicants can quickly find jobs they are interested in and start making applications.
The benefit of going through a jobs board is that it brings together all of the players in one place. Recruiters are there on behalf of their clients. Hospitals and clinics advertise on boards alongside their recruiters. And of course, job applicants can post their resumes and apply for desirable jobs simultaneously.
On the Way to Independent Practice
One last thing to note is that physician assistants are on the way to independent practice in some states. Thanks to the coronavirus crisis, states that previously did not allow independent PA practice found themselves willing to relax the rules in order to deal with the pandemic. It is hard to imagine them rolling back the relaxed rules once the pandemic is officially declared over.
Needless to say that now is a good time to be a physician assistant, at least when it comes to finding and accepting PA jobs. There is no shortage of jobs for this particular market. And by all indications, the market is expected to grow for at least the next several years.