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New Report Details How Certified PAs Are Addressing Demands for More Specialty Providers

JOHNS CREEK, Ga., July 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Four years after its initial publication, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) has published the Statistical Report of Certified Physician Assistants by Specialty, an in-depth report about Certified PAs in 23 medical specialties and subspecialties.

The most recent publication reports that in 2018 most Certified PAs practiced in family medicine/general practice (19.2 percent), followed by emergency medicine (13.0 percent) and orthopedic surgery (10.8 percent). 21.5 percent of Certified PAs practiced in surgical subspecialties such as cardiothoracic, colorectal, gynecology and obstetrics, gynecologic oncology, neurosurgery, ophthalmic, oral/maxillofacial, orthopedic, otorhinolaryngology, pediatric, plastic and maxillofacial, urologic and vascular.

Last year only 5.6 percent of Certified Physician Assistants reported that they plan to leave their primary position in the next year, and 0.1 percent reported that they are planning to retire in the next five years.

"As the largest segment of the U.S. population grows older and more patients rely on specialty care, there is an expanding need for health care providers including PAs, who are equipped to care for this growing patient population," said NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias.

"With fewer Certified PAs in specialties planning to leave their positions or retire we know that PAs are ready and able to help address even the most complex medical challenges." 

Additional key findings from the 2018 specialty report include:

  • Obstetrics and gynecology have the highest percentage of women PAs (97.9 percent) practicing in the specialty, while orthopaedic surgery has the highest percentage (49 percent) of men.
  • Certified PAs working in otolaryngology have the highest percentage of PAs with on-call hours (39.2 percent).
  • Certified PAs working in cardiothoracic and vascular surgery have the highest median number of hours worked per week (48 hours).
  • The most ethnically diverse specialty is general pediatrics, with 11.2 percent of Certified PAs reporting as Hispanic.

Physician assistant is consistently ranked as one of the top jobs in America, most recently by U.S. News and World Report as #1 in the Best Health Care Jobs of 2019.

About the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only certifying organization for the 131,000 physician assistants (PAs) in the United States. The PA-C credential is awarded by NCCPA to PAs who fulfill certification, certification maintenance and recertification requirements. NCCPA also administers the Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) program for experienced, Certified PAs practicing in seven specialties. For more information, visit

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SOURCE National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants