Forbes Ranks Physician Assistant Studies as Top Master’s Degree for Long-Term Employment Opportunity


Majority of PAs are female as the profession grows 

Alexandria, VA — Forbes again named physician assistant studies the single best master’s degree for the third year in a row, citing the profession’s favorable outlook for salary and long-term employment.

“The continued recognition from Forbes is a welcome one for our profession because PAs increase access to quality, coordinated healthcare in virtually every medical setting and specialty,” said James Delaney, PA-C, president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. “Whether we work as administrators, clinicians or educators, there are limitless opportunities for the more than 84,000 certified PAs in transforming our nation’s healthcare.”

To meet the continuous demand for PA services, industry experts estimate that by 2025, there will be 189 PA programs and more than 127,000 PAs in the healthcare workforce. Currently, 6,000 PAs enter the workforce each year after graduating from the 164 programs around the country.   

Newly released data from the AAPA 2011 Census shows that the profession, already 61 percent female, is going to continue the trend. Of those PAs entering the workforce annually, 75 percent are female, and data shows that male PAs are retiring at a faster rate. 

The average PA education program is 27 months long and is modeled on the medical school curriculum — a combination of classroom and clinical instruction. Admission to PA school is highly competitive. Applicants to PA programs must complete at least two years of college courses in basic and behavioral science as prerequisites, analogous to premedical studies required of medical students. PA education includes instruction in numerous core sciences, as well as more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations.

Read the full rankings on Forbes' Web site, or for more information on the PA profession, read AAPA's Quick Facts.

Contact: Patrick Dunne, 571-319-4393, 

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About the American Academy of Physician Assistants
Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of more than 84,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare. Visit to learn more. 

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