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Career and Education Opportunities for Physician Assistants in San Francisco, California

Physician assistant career and educational opportunities abound in San Francisco, California. About 6,000 people are currently employed as physician assistants in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow 25% to about 7,500 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for physician assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 39.0% over the next eight years. Physician assistants generally provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician.

Income for physician assistants is about $42 hourly or $87,870 yearly on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $39 hourly or $81,230 per year. Earnings for physician assistants are better than earnings in the general category of Nursing in California and better than general Nursing category earnings nationally. People working as physician assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: physician assistant certified , surgical physician assistant, and emergency room physician assistant.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of San Francisco where you can study to be a physician assistant, among eighty-six schools of higher education total in the San Francisco area. The most common level of education for physician assistants is a Master's degree. You can expect to spend about six years studying to be a physician assistant if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, physician assistants provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. They also conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients.

Physician assistants examine patients to obtain data related to their physical condition. They also interpret diagnostic test results for deviations from normal. Equally important, physician assistants have to obtain, compile and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination. They are often called upon to make tentative diagnoses and decisions about management and treatment of patients. They are expected to prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval. Finally, physician assistants visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy, and reporting back to physicians.

Every day, physician assistants are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for physician assistants to supervise and direct efforts of technicians and technical assistants. They are often called upon to furnish physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures. They also order medical and laboratory supplies and apparatus. Somewhat less frequently, physician assistants are also expected to administer or order diagnostic tests, such as x-ray and laboratory tests.

Physician assistants sometimes are asked to perform therapeutic procedures, such as injections, immunizations, suturing and wound care, and infection management. They also have to be able to visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy, and reporting back to physicians and instruct and counsel patients about prescribed therapeutic regimens, normal growth and development, family planning, emotional problems of daily living, and health maintenance. And finally, they sometimes have to supervise and direct efforts of technicians and technical assistants.

Like many other jobs, physician assistants must be reliable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Francisco include:

  • Chiropractor. Adjust spinal column and other articulations of the body to correct abnormalities of the human body believed to be caused by interference with the nervous system. Examine patient to determine nature and extent of disorder. Manipulate spine or other involved area. May utilize supplementary measures, such as exercise, rest, and nutritional therapy.
  • Dentist. Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums and related oral structures. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting vitality of teeth.
  • Family Practice Physician. Diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse. Care for ill, injured, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
  • Nurse Practitioner. Provide advanced nursing care and treatment to patients. Perform physical examinations, order diagnostic tests, develop treatment plans and prescribe drugs or other therapies.
  • Optometrist. Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
  • Pharmacist. Compound and dispense medications following prescriptions issued by physicians, dentists, or other authorized medical practitioners.
  • Podiatrist. Diagnose and treat diseases and deformities of the human foot.
  • Registered Nurse. Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required. Includes advance practice nurses such as: nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Advanced practice nursing is practiced by RNs who have specialized formal, post-basic education and who function in highly autonomous and specialized roles.
  • Respiratory Therapist. Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, and operate equipment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Physician Assistant Training

Samuel Merritt University - Oakland, CA

Samuel Merritt University, 370 Hawthorne Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609. Samuel Merritt University is a small university located in Oakland, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,315 students. Samuel Merritt University has a master's degree program in Physician Assistant which graduated twenty-six students in 2008.


Certification in Sports Medicine: The ABP in collaboration with the American Boards of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Emergency Medicine offers a certificate of added qualifications in sports medicine.

For more information, see the American Board of Pediatrics website.

Certified Health Fitness Specialist: The ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) is a degreed health and fitness professional qualified to pursue a career in university, corporate, commercial, hospital, and community settings.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist: Becoming ACSM Certified as an Exercise Specialistsays a lot about you.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Flexible Endoscope Reprocessor: The CBSPD is committed to the certification of healthcare sterile processing and distribution personnel regardless of their workplace setting.

For more information, see the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution website.

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant: An IBCLE or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant is a specialist that has taken and.

For more information, see the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners website.

LDT's Lymphedema/CDP Certification - Level I: Lymphedema/CDP Certification - Level I (LLCC) completes the Lymphedema Certification process, which is designed to build awareness of lymphedema and ensure the quality of practitioners who provide manual lymphatic therapy and CDP.

For more information, see the Upledger Institute, Inc. website.


Physician Assistant

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Physician Assistant Committee, 1424 Howe Avenue, Suite 35, Sacramento, CA 95825-3237

Phone: (916) 263-2670
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Physician Assistant Committee

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California photo by Optigan13

San Francisco is located in San Francisco County, California. It has a population of over 808,976, which has grown by 4.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Francisco, 180, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Francisco cost $218,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in San Francisco, up from fifty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Francisco are professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 31 minutes. More than 45.0% of San Francisco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of San Francisco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Gold Mountain Monastery, Golden Gate Community Church of the Nazarene and Golden Gate Lutheran Church are among the churches located in San Francisco. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the United Methodist Church.

San Francisco is home to the Pier 88 and the Prayer Book Cross as well as Helen Wills Playground and Music Concourse. Shopping malls in the area include Yerba Buena Square Shopping Center, Fox Plaza Shopping Center and Galleria At Crocker Center Shopping Center. Visitors to San Francisco can choose from Astoria Hotel, A-1 Inn Motel and Best Western Canterbury Hotel for temporary stays in the area.