A smiling Physician Assistant tends to a patient.

How Physician Assistant Became One of the Most In-demand Careers in Healthcare

Certain professions have emerged as indispensable pillars in healthcare, adapting to meet the growing demands of patients and healthcare providers. Among these, the physician assistant (PA) role has gained prominence, carving out a niche as one of the most sought-after careers in the field. The growing demand for PAs makes earning a physician assistant degree an attractive choice for healthcare professionals. 

This trend shows no sign of slowing. The job outlook for physician assistants remains promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of PAs is projected to grow by 27% over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is attributed to the increasing demand for healthcare services and the pivotal role PAs play in meeting these demands.

People motivated to earn a doctorate in physician assistant degree open the door to a career with a bright future. They will enter the ranks of experienced clinicians delivering healthcare services along with using their academic and research competencies in developing solutions to the challenges and the evolving demands of today’s healthcare industry..

The Origins of the Physician Assistant

The origins of the physician assistant profession can be traced back to the mid-20th century, born out of a need to address the shortage of primary care physicians in the United States. In 1965, Dr. Eugene Stead Jr. launched the first formal PA program, enlisting Navy corpsmen with medical experience to receive additional training and assist doctors in providing healthcare services.

Fast forward to the present day, and the demand for physician assistants has skyrocketed. Several factors contribute to this surge in demand. First, the aging population in many countries, including the U.S., has increased the need for healthcare services across the board. As more individuals require medical attention, the demand for qualified healthcare professionals like PAs has grown.

Furthermore, changes in healthcare policy and the evolving landscape of medical practice have also played a significant role in driving demand for PAs. With a greater emphasis on preventive care and expanding healthcare services to underserved communities, PAs have become invaluable assets, capable of providing high-quality care under the supervision of physicians.

Physician Assistants Offer Versatility and Flexibility

One of the main reasons behind the popularity of the PA profession is its versatility and flexibility. Unlike physicians who undergo years of extensive medical school and residency training, PAs typically complete a master’s degree program and a doctorate program. This shorter duration of training allows individuals to enter the workforce more quickly, making it an attractive option for those seeking a career in healthcare without committing to the lengthy educational requirements of becoming a doctor.

Moreover, PAs train to work in various medical specialties, from primary care and emergency medicine to surgery and psychiatry. This versatility enables them to adapt to different healthcare settings and fill critical roles where their skills are most needed. Whether it’s diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medications, or performing minor procedures, PAs can manage a wide range of responsibilities under the supervision of licensed physicians.

The collaborative nature of the PA profession is another factor contributing to its popularity. PAs work closely with physicians and other healthcare professionals as part of a multidisciplinary team, pooling their expertise to deliver comprehensive patient care. This collaborative approach enhances the quality of care and fosters a supportive work environment where PAs can continue to learn and grow professionally.

Furthermore, technology advancements and telemedicine are opening up new opportunities for PAs to expand their scope of practice and reach patients in remote or underserved areas. With the evolution of healthcare delivery models, PAs are poised to remain at the forefront of innovation, driving positive change and improving patient outcomes.

The TUW Doctorate of Physician Assistant Program

The online Doctorate of Physician Assistant program from Touro University Worldwide is the only 100% online professional doctorate program without residency requirements. Students can earn their degree while working full-time, using lessons learned in their accumulated clinical experience.

Students in the program can choose from two concentrations. In Global Health, they learn to manage global and international healthcare organizations, emergency and disaster management agencies, and the implementation of policies for global health systems. In Healthcare Leadership, students learn how to guide healthcare organizations toward achieving their strategic goals.

The TUW program differs from other programs in a variety of ways. Instructors in the program have experience as physician assistants, doctors, and healthcare professionals who are actively involved in their own professional work or research areas. TUW also designed the program’s curriculum to directly apply to the student’s background, allowing graduates to succeed in their area of interest within the global healthcare industry.

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