Hey, what's up? PA is the third fastest growing profession in the US, and will remain so until about 2012, according to the bureau of labor stats, so finding a job for newly minted PA's, usually is not a problem, with many becoming employed soon after graduation. Also, demand for PA's is skyrocketing, especially in certain parts of the country, and in certain fields like primary care, and surgery. Also, yea PA's have alot of flexibility in moving from field to field without additional training. The training you get is usually on the job, so one year you can work in surgery, the next in pediatrics , so you probably won't get bored as a PA. Also, employers tend to, I believe, look at your overall profile, including drive and motivation, interview, certification, and past medically-related experience (if you have any) . Also, if later you may want to move on to med-school, being a PA is MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR asset, because you're closest to a doctor than any other medical profession, without actually being a doctor in name, (although you do many of the same things, see same patients, but get paid less, but still well). In addition med-school, especially, the clinical years will be alot easier cause of your PA education and experience.
i've NEVER had an employer ask about grades during an interview. some specialties like ortho will generally ask you why you like it and if you did any rotations in it & prior experience. employers will ask about your background, prior experience to pa school, and of course, your pa school experience.
Hey guys (and gals), thanks for responding. It seems that it's quite easy to get a job as a PA. Is it at all competitive to get a job in a specific specialty? Or is the demand too high for that kind of competition to exist?
What about gas? Can you do that as a PA?
I'm currently pre-med, and my main interest has been peds. But I'm 21 and I have a 2 year old...so I'm a little afraid of putting her through hell with med school and residency and then and average 50-60 hour workweek....
I think I'd be happy being a PA with the exception of getting paid less. My criteria for being "happy" with my career choice is a.) loving the subject matter and the actual job b.) having a life outside of work and c.) making 100K-150K (those were in no specific order).
The life outside of work idea is making me consider PA, but the money is making me stick to MD/DO. Both money and time are important, and it seems like I just can't have both. I've seen that PA's in certain specialties can make about 100K, but the truth is that most of those specialties don't interest me too much. I really want to work with children. I guess my ideal situation would be to find a part time residency and part time work as a pediatrician, or to take the PA route and find a job where I could make 100K working with children. Is that at all possible? Can you do peds-gas or peds-derm or anything like that as a PA? Do they make a decent salary?
Also...just to clarify, PA's work less than physicians? Avg 40 hours? Or do they simply have more of a choice to work less? Can they work more if they choose?
"Also...just to clarify, PA's work less than physicians? Avg 40 hours? Or do they simply have more of a choice to work less? Can they work more if they choose? "
pa's generally work the same hrs as the docs they work with(or more) including nights/weekends/holidays/call/etc
the docs in my group work 12 eight hr shifts/month=96 hrs
the pa's work 16-18 ten hr shifts= 160-180 hrs.
any pa or any doc for that matter can find a job that is 20 hrs a week or 80 hrs/week. it's just a matter of how much money you feel you need to make.
if your heart is set on peds the only peds specialty that pays > 80k would be surgery. peds md's sometimes only make 120-140k. it is considered primary care so not a very lucrative field.
to make > 100k as a pa you pretty much have to work em/surgery/ortho/derm.
Honestly, I doubt a PA school will accept someone looking to enter the profession for the reasons you are. They typically have very specific questions geared towards weeding out applicants that don't truely want to become Physician Assistants. Not trying to judge, but you have made a point to make us all aware that you really want to be an MD, but the PA route might be okay because you think you'll work less hours.
I'd stay on the doc path, because that seems to be what you really want to do and PA schools will be able to pick that up in an interview.