Types of Degrees Physician Assistant Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many physician assistant graduations there were in 2020-2021 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Physician Assistant Majors Need to Know
People with careers related to physician assistant were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.
Knowledge Areas for Physician Assistant Majors
Physician Assistant majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:
- Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Skills for Physician Assistant Majors
When studying physician assistant, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Abilities for Physician Assistant Majors
A major in physician assistant will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
How Much Do Physician Assistant Majors Make?
Salaries According to BLS
Average salaries range from $108,430 to $122,320 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to physician assistant. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Physician Assistant
Some degrees associated with physician assistant may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
Find out what the typical degree level is for physician assistant careers below.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||1.5%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||2.3%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||2.5%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||7.5%|
Online Physician Assistant Programs
In the 2020-2021 academic year, 257 schools offered some type of physician assistant program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||0||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||4||0|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||2||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||4||3|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||3||2|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Physician Assistant Worth It?
The median salary for a physician assistant grad is $108,430 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 172% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,370,600 after 20 years!
Explore Major by State
District of Columbia
Trades Related to Physician Assistant
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to physician assistant.
*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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