With so many jobs available to physician assistants today, finding the perfect one can be more challenging than ever. Follow our tips to make sure you pick the one that’s right for you.
Today’s job market is very friendly to licensed and certified physician assistants (PA). The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that tens of thousands of jobs will be created over the next decade. But even if finding a PA job is easier than ever, picking the RIGHT PA job can still be a challenge.
It’s common for physician assistant job seekers to be weighing several job offers at one time. If you’re in this position, the opportunities can be overwhelming. Whether you’re looking at one job—or several—our tips can help you say “yes” to the PA job that’s right for you.
Tip #1: New PA Graduate? Look for a Strong Orientation Program
If you’re weighing offers after graduation, look for an employer with a strong orientation program to jump start your career. Here are three things you’ll want to know.
- First, how long is the orientation program? This can vary depending on the organization and the area of specialty, from two months for primary care, to up to a year for a specialty area like critical care.
- Second, what are the patient load expectations for a new PA? Depending on the environment, a new PA may start with one to four patients, then gradually work up to a full patient load, which might mean 10-20 patients a day.
- Third, who will serve as your preceptor? You’ll want to know which staff person will be assigned to train you and share their knowledge, skills, and experience to help you succeed in your new position.
Tip #2: Experienced PA? Find a Satisfying Position for the Long Term
If you have several years of experience as a physician assistant, you’re familiar with your role and confident in your capabilities. Now it’s time to find a job that will satisfy your career needs.
Take time to assess your job offers. Which one will help you practice to the full scope of your training? Over the long haul, a skilled PA can take on more responsibility than a nurse or a resident. The job that’s the right fit should have clinical responsibilities that are challenging and appropriate to your level of experience.
Tip #3: Know What You Want in Your Next PA Job
Whether you’re a new grad or an experienced PA, you probably have a good picture of your ideal clinical environment. Take a minute to review your clinicals, preceptors, and previous job experience. What specialty areas are most interesting to you? Where do you want to be located? Do you prefer working in a hospital or a clinic? What do you want in a supervising physician?
Get clear on what you value most, and you’ll start to see your job offers in a new light. The one that fits your interests and personality may yield the greatest career rewards long term.
Tip #4: Find an Employer that Values the PA Role
As a physician assistant, your skills and training set you apart and define your role on a multi-disciplinary team. The scope of your practice will be defined by the location and the organization in which you practice. So, learn how state laws, regulations, and hospital bylaws pertain to your area of practice. Ask about other PA positions within the organization. Where do they practice, and how are their roles structured?
Be clear on the organization’s practice agreement before accepting a job offer. What does it say about your job role? What benefits are you entitled to? How will malpractice insurance be addressed? Reading the fine print can tell you a lot about how PAs are valued and utilized by your prospective employer.
Tip #5 Connect to a Network of Your Peers
There’s no substitute for a good sounding board, so take time to connect with your peers. Maintain strong lines of communication with others in your field, and you’ll always have someone to go to for advice. You can also take advantage of resources from professional organizations like the American Academy of PAs website.
Bonus Tip: Join the Melnic Network
We’re here to support you with job alerts, conference updates, and access to career coaching and support. And, did we mention that our job board is available to search, 24/7? The best part is that our services are always free to candidates. To get started, click here to create your Melnic Profile.
This Week’s Top Physician Assistant Jobs
Our Melnic jobs board has PA positions at some the country’s leading hospitals. If you are a PA who is considering a change, take a look at some of these great job openings!
• Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando has an opening for a PA First Assist in Neurosurgery. Bring your First Assist experience to this great position with the world-renowned neurosurgery team caring for patients with complex conditions that require neurosurgery.
• Seattle Children’s Hospital has a role for a PA in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit to direct or participate in the clinical management of continuing care for patients requiring intensive care and monitoring in the CVICU.
• Penn State Hershey Hospital has an opening for a PA on the Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care team caring for adult patients with a wide variety of chronic pulmonary conditions and diseases including pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, and cystic fibrosis.
• Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is seeking a PA Gastroenterology Hospitalist to provide comprehensive, high-level, multidisciplinary inpatient GI care and services for acute and chronically ill pediatric patients with illnesses of the gastrointestinal system.
• In Palo Alto, California an PA First Assist Neurosurgery is needed at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Responsibilities include first assist in the OR, inpatient care, outpatient clinic duties and community outreach.
Review our list of physician assistant jobs, then contact us today!
Jill Gilliland is President of Melnic an APRN and PA national recruiting company. Jill is a speaker and publicist on areas such as job strategies, branding and marketing, pediatric critical care needs, and additional topics relevant to pediatric nursing and the recruitment business. She has over 12 years of experience in the recruiting industry coupled with a strong sales, healthcare, and technology background. Jill holds a BS degree in Business from the University of Southern California and an MBA from The University of Virginia, Darden Business School. Connect with Jill Gilliland on LinkedIn.