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How A Physician Assistant Can Specialize To Develop Their Career Prospects And Potential

How A Physician Assistant Can Specialize to Develop Their Career Prospects and Potential

There are around 52 different specialties open to physician assistants throughout their career, and it’s suggested they’ll practice in two or three of these. These considerable number of unique professions are categorized under outpatient, inpatient, and surgical. Each offers fantastic opportunities, which we’ll be discussing today. Want to know where you could potentially steer your career to? We suggest you become familiar with the below:

1.   Outpatient Medicine

The most popular specialty is outpatient medicine, and it was created to support primary care: family and internal medicine. There are many excellent opportunities here, such as nephrology, dermatology, endocrinology, cardiology, psychiatry, neurology, OBGYN, pediatrics, and pain management.

Undoubtedly, the above roles are prevalent within the industry. Other outpatient specialties that aren’t common career routes are addiction medicine, occupational medicine, and aesthetic dermatology.

Additionally, there are many exciting and innovative opportunities for those wanting to lead an outpatient medicine career, as telemedicine is now becoming popular. It’s a new specialty that involves virtually diagnosing and treating patients without peer-to-peer contact. The concept alone is fantastic, and the industry is expected to grow 26.5% annually until 2026, meaning it’ll be a demanding role.

2.   Inpatient Medicine

Almost all outpatient roles have inpatient alternatives, but the environments are different. For example, a PA could be a general hospitalist in GI, dermatology, neurology, etc.

As mentioned, many roles overlap the outpatient sector. Still, specialty inpatient roles include working in critical, neonatal intensive, pediatric intensive, surgical intensive, and medical intensive care units.

3.   A mixture of both

There’s also an “in-between” option. Typically, these specialty roles evolve into urgent care and emergency medicine. It’s a popular choice for many PAs because there’s a significant amount of responsibility based on the job role.

Urgent care or emergency medicine requires the PA to handle unscheduled visits, rapid diagnostics, and quick thinking to decide how the patients will be treated or the next step of their treatment.

4.   Surgical

The last section of specialties is surgical. It’s a prevalent option for many PAs, as it’s general surgery that manages a broad spectrum of diseases. A surgical PA will work underneath full-trained surgeons to provide postoperative and preoperative care.

You can invest a PA career into many different specialties such as cardiology, orthopedics, plastics, vascular, neurology, transplant, and trauma surgery. Undoubtedly, there are many more sub-categories within the sector, but these are the primary options.

After reading the above, you should have a broader perspective of options you could opt-in for during a PA career. To visualize the individual roles easier, see the below table:

Primary care Internal Medicine subspecialties Surgical subspecialties Other specialties

Family medicine

Internal medicine

Critical care




Hematology & oncology

Infectious disease





Cardiovascular/cardiothoracic surgery

Colon & rectal surgery

Bariatric surgery

General surgery


Orthopedic surgery

Pediatric surgery

Transplant surgery

Vascular surgery

Oncology surgery

Plastic surgery

Thoracic surgery

Transplant surgery

Trauma surgery







Addiction medicine

Allergy & immunology


Hospice & palliative care

Hospital medicine

Nuclear medicine

Pain management


Physical medicine & rehab

Occupational medicine


PracticeAlert supports healthcare providers who:

  • Want to explore new or expanded roles and responsibilities on a local, regional, or national basis, but want to keep their research confidential
  • Need a time-efficient tool that accelerates their ability to contact employers
  • Prefer to bypass external recruiters and engage directly with employers

HealthcareJobFinder helps healthcare providers:

  • Engage directly with potential employers without involving external recruiters
  • Confidentially explore potential new roles
  • Browse open opportunities on a local, regional, or national basis
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