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Demand for Physician Assistants Expected to Skyrocket in Coming Years

According the the U.S. Department of Labor, the demand for physician assistants is expected to grow by 30 percent within the next 20 years.  That is much faster than the average growth rate for other professions.  Forbes magazine also rated physician assistant programs as the top master’s degree for long term employment. 
With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act healthcare reform coming into full effect in 2014, every American will be required to have health insurance.  This will mean that the demand for healthcare providers, like PAs, will skyrocket.  Additionally, as more physicians move into speciality areas of medicine, or retire, more PAs will be used to fill the shortage of primary healthcare providers.  
Studies have also reported that the demand for physicians increasing because the nation’s population is living longer than ever before, bringing with it more chronic illnesses that require continued medical care.
“The demand for physician assistants currently outweighs the supply,” said Jay Peterson, program director for the new PA program at Eastern Michigan University.
“We’re looking to make a positive impact on the community by providing more physician assistants to practice more primary care medicine.”
Anticipated demand for physician assistants has caused colleges and universities all across the US, including in Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Illinois, to launch brand new programs to train physician assistants.  
Some of the programs hope to train PAs that will stay and work in the local rural areas, where physician shortage is a problem.  In the field of dermatology, there is a well-known shortage of practices in both rural communities, and the Midwest.   
Perhaps a new generation of Derm PAs can help close this gap for rural America.
Sources:  Bureau of Labor; Columbus Business First; Ann; Herald Star; Times News; Quad City Times
[image by Jurvetson]

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