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Money Magazine Ranks Physician Assistant One of Best Careers to Have in a Recession

Physician Assistant among top 10 white-collar jobs to have during a downturn

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) applauds Money magazine for including physician assistants on its "Best careers to have in a recession" list the personal finance magazine posted Wednesday on

Money took the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2008 list of 30 occupations expected to grow fastest over the next decade, and then asked compensation experts, PayScale, to identify the 10 white-collar jobs among them with the best combination of high pay and high security, according to

Physician assistant (PA) was ranked No. 5 on the list, based on a projected job growth rate of 27 percent and a median salary of $84,000.

"I'm very pleased that the folks at Money magazine have recognized what most of us who are PAs have known for a long time," said AAPA President Greg Bennett. "This is a great profession, and the overwhelming majority of us who have chosen this career path would prefer to do nothing else. It's a great profession regardless of the state of the economy at any time."

In March, U.S. News & World Report featured PAs prominently in a round-up of "recession-resistant careers" that included optometrist, clergy, and higher education administrator.

A group of career experts told Kiplinger's that PAs were among the health care industry jobs that "should provide safer havens to workers, no matter what the economy is doing," according to an article published in March. The magazine reported that an "increasingly aging population fuels demand in this field. And these careers should stay in demand for years to come."

"The mounting stress on our nation's health care delivery system will require expanded use of PAs in a broad range of clinical settings," said AAPA Chief Executive Officer Bill Leinweber.

Physician assistants are licensed health care professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physicians. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in rural and urban settings. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and prescribe medications.

Within the physician-PA partnership, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. In addition to clinical practice, PAs may also be found in education, research, and administration.

PAs are trained in intensive educational programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Because of the close working relationship PAs have with physicians, PAs are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training. On graduation, physician assistants take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants in conjunction with the National Board of Medical Examiners. To maintain their national certification, PAs must log 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and take a recertification exam every six years.

For additional information about physician assistants or the physician assistant profession, visit the Academy's Web site,

SOURCE American Academy of Physician Assistants
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