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Popular Physician Assistant Practice Specialties

Physician Assistants are a unique breed of Medical Practitioner. Unlike many Providers, PA's can choose and change their specialty of practice at will, without specialized training. This allows them to freely move between medical specialties throughout their careers with ease.‌ While there are many areas to choose from, the results of the NCCPA's 2018 Statistical Profile of Certified Physician Assistants, provides insight into which medical specialties are attracting the most PA's to practice.

Popular Physician Assistant Practice Specialties

Family Medicine The majority of today's Physician Assistants choose to work with families, providing the cornerstone of healthcare in America today. Despite 19% of the PA workforce calling this their specialty-of-choice, there continue to be nationwide shortages in Family Care Providers.

Surgical Subspecialties Working in a surgical specialty is a very popular and lucrative option for the 18% of PA's that have chosen to work in this field. Within surgical medicine, the top 3 subspecialties of reported PA practice are:

  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Cardiothoracic-Vascular Surgery
  • Neurosurgery

Internal Medicine Approximately 16% of Physician Assistants have made Internal Medicine their specialty-of-choice. While some PA's choose to work in a more generalized role in Internal Medicine, others choose to specialize in popular IM Subspecialties such as Cardiology, Gastroenterology, and Oncology.

Emergency Medicine The fast-paced and challenging specialty of Emergency Medicine has attracted many PA's thanks to its great pay and flexible scheduling options. Approximately 13% of Physician Assistants currently work in ER's across America.

Dermatology Caring for the Integumentary System has its benefits. This specialty has a stellar reputation for providing its Practitioners with a great work-life balance and top-level pay. That may be why it's a top PA practice specialty.

Hospital Medicine The practice of Hospital Medicine is a new kid on the block by medical standards having originated around 20 years ago. This specialty has rapidly risen in popularity due to its functionality and ability to help Primary Care Physicians with hospital coverage. As the specialty has gained traction, more PA's have gained its ranks making it a top medical specialty.


National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Inc. (2019, April). 2018 Statistical Profile of Certified Physician Assistants: An Annual Report of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Retrieved Date, from

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