Overall job satisfaction among certified PAs remains high even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest data from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). In which 2021 Statistical Profile of Certified PAs by Subject: annual report70.5% of PAs indicated that they are completely or mostly satisfied with their job.1
The highest satisfaction rates were reported in the plastic surgery and dermatology specialties, with 78.7% and 76.7% of PAs in those respective specialties reporting that they were completely or mostly satisfied with their job. The lowest satisfaction rates were found in the areas of emergency medicine (64.0%), physical medicine/rehabilitation (64.7%) and pain medicine (64.9%). For the full list of satisfaction rates by subject, see page 42 of the report.
“One of the great attributes of the PA profession is education and the ability to practice in a variety of disciplines throughout one’s career,” said NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C. “Certified PAs have the flexibility to explore and find the specialty that works for them at different stages of their lives.”
Job satisfaction rates after practice hiring
PAs in established private practices had the highest satisfaction rate at 72.6% as they reported being completely or mostly satisfied with their job, followed by rural health clinics (70.3%), hospitals (70.2%), government agencies /hospitals/units (69.1%) and community health centers (66.7%), according to 2021 data in a previously released NCCPA report.2 The lowest rate of PAs being completely or mostly satisfied with their job was found among emergency care professionals (63.8%).
Burnout rates remain high Under PAs
A significant percentage of PAs reported burnout (30.6%), with PAs in the critical care and emergency medicine specialties having higher burnout rates compared to the rates in the 2020 report. The critical care specialty showed the highest percentage of PAs reporting 1 or more burnout symptoms (37.9% vs. 31.8% in 2022), followed by emergency medicine (36.8% vs. 30.6% in 2022 ).
“We are all ready to return to pre-pandemic times, but healthcare providers are still treating patients for COVID-19,” Morton-Rias said. “The increase in burnout among certified critical care and emergency medicine PAs is a reminder that our healthcare facilities and providers are still grappling with the pandemic.”
The annual Statistical profile of certified PAs by specialty tracks growth and trends in 25 specialty areas of the PA workforce. Clinical Advisor previously reported the record number of newly certified PAs as found in the NCCPA data. Other highlights from the reports include:
- 14.9% of PAs in critical care and 9.4% in emergency medicine completed a postgraduate training program
- 33.4% of PAs stated that their main place of employment is recruiting PAs
- 15.1% of Occupational Health PAs plan to retire in the next 5 years
- The largest proportion of residents using telemedicine in their practice specialize in gastroenterology (92.9%) and general pediatrics (92.6%).
- Critical Care specialty reports the highest percentage of an employer hiring/recruiting PAs (60.7%) followed by Oncology (49.0%).
1. National Commission for the Certification of Physician Assistants. Statistical Profile of Certified PAs by Subject: Annual Report. 2021. Accessed August 12, 2022. https://www.nccpa.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/2021-Statistical-Profile-of-Certified-PAs-by-Specialty.pdf
2. National Commission for the Certification of Physician Assistants. Statistical Profile of Certified PAs: Annual Report. 2021. Accessed August 12, 2022. https://www.nccpa.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/2021StatProfileofCertifiedPAs-A-3.2.pdf