Your First PA Job after Graduation


You have just graduated from PA school. You can’t wait to start your job as a professional. What do you do to successfully land your first job as physician assistant and handle that successfully?


Getting Your First Job as a Physician Assistant

  • Apply early.

Do not wait after graduation to start applying for a job. Even if you are just likely to be asked to come back after you have graduated, you would have started the application process going. Many hospitals take as many as three months to do their hiring.

  • Keep track of your applications.

Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your applications. It is important to remember the name of the person you talked to and the date of the most recent interview. Write down the essential details like the recruiter or job, basic contact information, important dates for interviews and tests, pros and cons of the job, and references submitted.

  • Say thank you.

You can say thanks through an email, a phone call, or a card. Thank them for their time and interest in considering you as an applicant. Let them know that you are still interested in the position and why. If you have found a better place to work for, let them know that you are no longer available for the job.

  • Exhaust all means to find your first job as a physician assistant.

Find out about the many jobs available in the market by signing up for recruiter listservs. Follow the recruiters who use Twitter to post available jobs. Use LinkedIn. Cultivate professional connections.

It is not enough to check career websites. Some hospitals post job openings only on their own websites. Make sure that you visit these sites.

Check out the website of your PA state chapter and go over the job postings.

Go to the website of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Click Joblink for the list of available jobs.

Get in touch directly with the department you want to find a job with. Do not simply rely on the human resources department. If you want to be a vascular or neurological PA, it pays to let the concerned department know about your interest in working with them.

  • Keep your resume or CV updated.

Always bring your updated CV/resume with you on interviews.

  • Look professional.

Make sure that you wear a suit during your interviews. It will make you look more professional.

  • Keep in touch with other professionals in your field.

Make sure to network with the PAs and doctors that you come in contact with even before you leave school. Take the time to get acquainted with them.

  • Know how much PAs are getting as salary.

Do a research on the salary and benefits that PAs in your particular field of specialization and in your area usually get.

When you are offered a job, do not accept it immediately. Negotiate. It may give you a thousand dollars more in salary or $500 for continuing education.


Handling Your First Job as a Physician Assistant

You worked and studied hard. And now, after the long hours of sacrifice, you finally have your first job as a physician assistant.

You must be pleased and excited, not to mention nervous. How do you effectively handle your first job?  The following tips may help you:

  • Recognize that being nervous is okay.

Starting out on a first job is always a bit difficult. As a licensed professional, you are now expected to be able to function on your own – with very little help from the teachers, preceptors, and licensed physician assistants who were always there for you at school.

Look at your nerves as a normal part of the package. Do not allow them to keep you from honing your skills. Do not let your anxieties prevent you from treating complicated medical cases or performing procedures. If you allow your nerves to get the better of you, you will limit your exposure to the experiences that will help you grow in your profession.

  • Accept that there is still much to learn.

You may have moved on from being a PA student to being a physical assistant. Remember, though, that even as a professional, you still have to learn a lot of things. You may have developed critical thinking skills from PA school. However, you need actual experience so you can acquire more self-confidence and sharpen your abilities.

Do not let your lack of self-confidence to deter you from learning. You will grow in confidence as you go through your first year and add to your knowledge and experience.

  • Do not ever feel that you know enough.

Medicine requires openness to continuing education. Subscribe to medical journals to keep abreast of new treatments and medical developments, as well as of state-of-the-art technologies. Look for a professional PA organization to join. Attending conferences will help you meet other professionals in the healthcare field. Ask around for continuing education classes you can take so you are able to learn new skills.

  • Pay attention to your patients.

As a rookie PA, you may feel overwhelmed by all the procedures and test results that require your attention. Do not allow the work to make you go through your patient encounters with half a mind. Remember that a good physician makes his patients feel that they are important. Listen to your patients. A good bedside manner requires true compassion and care for your patients.

  • Learn from the other health professionals you are working with.

You will be working with other members of the healthcare team. You can learn a lot from the doctors, other PAs, nurses, and technicians on your team. Make sure that you remain open to what they can teach you.

  • Keep your long-term career goal in mind.

If you want to be truly successful, you should plot out how you want your career to work out. Where do you want to be in the medical profession five years down the road? Set your goals down in writing. Plot out what you want to do step by step to achieve them.


These steps will help you become successful in getting and handling your first job as a physician assistant.


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