Discover the top specialties for physician assistants.

Top 4 specialties for physician assistant jobs

There are many perks to entering physician assistant jobs, and flexibility is perhaps one of the greatest benefits. Speaking with U.S. News and World Reports, Chris Hanifin of Seton Hall University’s physician assistant program noted it’s easier for PAs to switch career paths than it is for doctors. A PA license is like a ticket to just about any medical specialty, and these professionals don’t necessarily need any additional training. While they have many options at their disposal, there are a few top contenders.Here are the highest paying PA specialties: 

1. Radiology

According to the job search site Indeed, physician assistant jobs that specialize in radiology yield salaries of $137,000 on average, making it one of the highest-paying occupation for PAs. Radiology involves the use of diagnostic images like x-rays, fluoroscopy, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasounds to make diagnoses. Professionals in this field may care for patients with certain cancers or heart distance, among other conditions.

2. Dermatology

Entering physician assistant jobs in dermatology is also a lucrative move for these medical professionals. According to Medical Group Management Association data cited by Gap Medics, PAs in this field make an average salary of $130,000. Under the supervision of a dermatologist, PAs both diagnose and treat skin conditions as well as assist with certain procedures.

Research from the American Academy of Physician Assistants elaborated on these duties by interviewing PAs in the field. One individual said she treats skin conditions by providing symptom management tips and performing biopsies and skin cancer screenings. She also spends her time doing clinical research.

3. Urgent care

Those in urgent care physician assistant jobs earn up to $130,000 a year. Patients seeking urgent care need prompt treatment, but their condition doesn’t warrant an emergency room visit. As such, PAs working in walk-in clinics may see individuals with the flu, sprained ankles, lacerations and other non-life-threatening ailments. PAs will assess these conditions and either treat them or refer the patient to emergency room services – meaning the ability to make quick decisions is key for those in this field.

4. Emergency room

Data from PayScale found that the median salary for emergency room physician assistants is $90,407, but professionals in this field can make anywhere from $73,817 to $141,203. The wage depends on where the PA works and his or her experience levels.

Working in the ER means those in PA jobs will care for a wide variety of patients on a daily basis. In fact, they’ll see severe conditions – like someone suffering a heart attack – and non-life-threatening issues for patients who skipped urgent care and went straight to the ER. That variety is appealing to many PAs, as it ensures there’s never a dull moment on the job. These professionals must perform well under pressure and be comfortable completing duties in a fast-paced environment.

Physician assistant jobs pave the way for a diverse career. They have many opportunities to follow a path that fits their goals and skills.


  1. Hello. Would you be able to apply for a PA program on a Bachelor’s in Applied Science or does it have to be a Bachelor’s in Science?

  2. In the dermatology section you state “Under the supervision of a dermatologist, PAs both diagnose and treat skin conditions as well as assist with certain procedures.”
    Physician Assistants do not have supervision- collaboration might be a better word.

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