James Madison University

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Employment of physician assistants is expected to increase 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.

As more physicians enter specialty areas of medicine, there will be a greater need for primary healthcare providers, such as physician assistants. Because physician assistants are more cost-effective than physicians, they are expected to have an increasing role in giving routine care.

Physician assistants also will be needed because the population in general is growing. More people means more need for healthcare specialists.

In addition, employment growth is expected because the large baby-boom generation is getting older. As they age, baby boomers will be increasingly susceptible to ailments and conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Physician assistants are expected to have an increasing role in keeping these people healthy and caring for them when they get ill.

Healthcare providers are also expected to use more physician assistants in new ways as states continue to allow assistants to do more procedures.

Good job prospects are expected. This should be particularly true for physician assistants working in rural and medically underserved areas, as well as physician assistants working in primary care.

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