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New York Health Careers

Physician Assistants

What Do Physician Assistants Do?

Physician assistants (PAs) are health care professionals who practice medicine under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. Working as members of a health care team, PAs take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and x-rays, instruct and counsel patients, make diagnoses, and prescribe certain medications.

Many PAs work in primary care specialties, such as general internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. Other specialty areas such as general and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and geriatrics. PAs specializing in surgery provide preoperative and postoperative care and may work as first or second assistants during major surgery.

For more information on physician assistants, go to: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm.

Where Do Physician Assistants Work?

Most PAs work in doctors’ offices. PAs also work in general medical and surgical hospitals and in outpatient care centers, including health clinics, health maintenance organizations, federal or state government institutions, and in colleges and schools.

What Do Physician Assistants Earn?

According to the 2018 BLS, the average salary for full time physician assistants nationwide was $108,430, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports that physician assistants in New York also earned an average annual salary of $113,710, (entry level-$88,770, experienced- $126,190).

Supply and Demand

Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that from 2016 to 2026, the number of PA jobs nationwide will increase by 37.3% and in New York will increase by 43.4%.

Job opportunities for PAs should be very good for many years, particularly in rural and inner-city hospitals and clinics because those settings have difficulty attracting physicians. Also, as more physicians enter specialty areas of medicine, there will be a greater need for primary health care providers, such as PAs.  And as the U.S. population ages, PAs are expected to have an increasing role in keeping older adults healthy and caring for them when they get ill.

Rapid job growth for PAs also reflects the expansion of the health care industry and an emphasis on cost containment. PAs offer a cost-effective approach to increase routine health care services since they can relieve physicians of routine duties and procedures. Health care providers are also expected to use more physician assistants in new ways as states continue to allow assistants to do more procedures.

For more information on projections for PAs by New York State labor regions, (2014-2024), click here.

Educational Program Requirements

Although education programs’ admission requirements vary, most applicants to PA education programs already have a bachelor’s degree and some prior health care work experience, such as being a registered nurse, emergency medical technician (EMT), or paramedic.

PA education programs usually take at least two years and typically lead to a master’s degree, although some offer a bachelor’s degree. Coursework will include biology, pathology, biochemistry, human anatomy, physiology, clinical pharmacology, clinical medicine, physical diagnosis, and medical ethics, as well as a supervised clinical training rotation in a medical facility.

PA education programs must be approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistants (ARC-PA). All states require PAs to complete an accredited, formal education program and pass a national exam to obtain a license.

For more information on accredited PA programs, go to: http://www.arc-pa.org.

New York Licensure Requirements

To be licensed as a PA in New York, an individual must be a graduate of an ARC-PA accredited or New York State Education Department approved PA education program and must pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE).For more information on PANCE, go to the National Commission of Certification of Physician Assistants at: http://www.nccpa.net.

For more information on New York State licensure requirements, go to: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/med/rpa.htm.

Financial Support

For more information about PA scholarships and fellowships from the PA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, go to the PA Foundation Web site, http://www.pa-foundation.org/, and click on the Scholarships and Foundations tab.

Education Programs in New York (subject to change)

Albany Medical College 
Center for Physician Assistant Studies
47 New Scotland Ave.
Albany, NY 12208
(518) 262-5251
SUNY Upstate Medical University
College of Health Professions
790 Irving Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 464-6561
D’Youville College
320 Porter Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14202
(716) 829-8000
Daemen College
4380 Main Street
Amherst, NY 14226
(800) 462-7652
Hofstra University
113 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
(516) 463-6600
LeMoyne College
1419 Salt Springs Road
Syracuse, NY 13214
(315) 445-4100
Mercy College
Bronx Campus
555 Broadway
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
(914) 674-7600
New York Institute of Technology
Northern Boulevard
Old Westbury, NY 11568
(516) 686-1000
Pace University
Lenox Hill Hospital PA Program
163 William Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10038
(212) 618-6052
Pace University
College of Health Professions
861 Bedford Rd
Pleasantville, NY 10570
(914) 597-8319
SUNY Downstate Medical Center
College of Health Related Professions
450 Clarkson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11203
(718) 270-2325
St. John’s University
College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
8000 Utopia Pkwy
Jamaica, NY 11439
(718) 990-2000
SUNY  Stony Brook
School of Health Tech & Mgmt
101 Nicolls Rd
Stony Brook, NY 11794
(631) 444-2252
Long Island University
Brooklyn Campus
School of Health Professions
1 University Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 488-1011
The City College of New York

CUNY School of Medicine
160 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031
(212) 650-7000
Touro College
School of Health Sciences
1700 Union Boulevard
Bay Shore, NY 11706
(866) 868-7648
and
Nassau Univ Medical Center Ext Site
2201 Hempstead Tpke
East Meadow, NY 11554
(866) 868-7648
or
Manhattan Campus
232 W 40th St
Manhattan, NY 10018
(866) TOURO-4-U
Wagner College
One Campus Road
Staten Island, NY 10301
(718) 390-3100
Weill Cornell 
Graduate School of Medical Sciences
570 Lexington Ave, 9th Fl
New York, NY 10022
(646) 962-1290
York College-CUNY
94-20 Guy Brewer Blvd
Jamaica, NY 11451
(718) 262-2000
Clarkson University
8 Clarkson Ave
Potsdam, NY 13699
(315) 268-6400
Marist College
3399 North Rd.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(854) 575-3000
Rochester Institute of Technology
College of Health Sciences & Technology
153 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623
(585) 475-2411

Additional Web Links

For more information on PAs, go to:

American Academy of Physician Assistants: http://www.aapa.org

New York State Society of Physician Assistants: http://www.nysspa.org

To learn more about physician assistants, check out this video.

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