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New Report Highlights Low Burnout, Job Satisfaction Among Certified PAs by Specialty

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Erica Banks, Senior Director of Communications
email: [email protected]
phone: 678.417.8685

Johns Creek, Ga., December 21, 2021 – Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of Certified PAs reported no symptoms of burnout and high job satisfaction in 2020.

According to the 2020 Statistical Profile of Certified PAs by Specialty, an annual report on 25 specialties issued by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), 73.4% of Certified PAs indicated that they have no symptoms of burnout. The highest percentage of Certified PAs experiencing symptoms of burnout are those in critical care medicine (31.8%), closely followed by Certified PAs working in emergency medicine (30.6%). Certified PAs working in dermatology reported the lowest rate of burnout (20.3%).

“With the pandemic continuing to persist, it is no surprise that Certified PAs on the front lines of treating COVID-19 like those in critical care medicine and emergency medicine would be the largest among those experiencing symptoms of burnout,” said NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D., PA-C. “It is in our nature as PAs to go where we are needed, and to continue our work until the job is done, but we must also recognize the symptoms of burnout and take proper care of ourselves so that we can continue to care for others,” she continued.

Despite this, job satisfaction among a majority of Certified PAs remained high, with 72.9% reporting being either completely or mostly satisfied with their careers. Certified PAs working in dermatology reported the highest degree of job satisfaction (78.0%), while those working in pain medicine had the lowest degree of satisfaction (67.1%).

“Certified PAs enjoy a work-life balance, a comfortable salary, and the flexibility to change specialties throughout their careers due to their generalist medical education. To see such high degrees of job satisfaction during an unprecedented time when so many PAs are being asked to do more speaks to the love that PAs have for caring for patients and their commitment to providing high-quality, accessible care,” said Morton-Rias.

The 2020 report also includes Certified PA data in three new specialties: critical care medicine, geriatrics and plastic surgery, each of which experienced exponential growth between 2016 and 2020.

Additional key findings from the report include:

  • Certified PAs working in cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, neurosurgery and orthopaedic Surgery reported the highest number of hours worked per week (45 hours).
  • Certified PAs in cardiothoracic and vascular surgery earn the highest median income per year ($135K).
  • Certified PAs in dermatology see the highest median number of patients per week (100 patients).
  • obstetrics and gynecology reported the highest proportion of female Certified PAs (97.7%) while Orthopaedic Surgery has the highest proportion of male Certified PAs (47.4%).
  • Certified PAs working in neurology reported the highest numbers among those practicing telemedicine (72.8%), while those working in emergency medicine reported the lowest numbers (43.7%).
  • Occupational medicine reported the highest number of Certified PAs who have ever served in the armed forces (24.4 %), followed by family medicine/general practice (15.7%).
  • General pediatrics reported the highest percentage (11.9%) of Certified PAs who identify as Hispanic.

PA is consistently ranked as one of the top jobs in America, most recently by U.S. News and World Report as #1 job in the United States, the #1 Best Health Care Job and the #1 job in STEM in 2021.

About the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only certifying organization for the more than 148,000 Certified Physician Assistants (PAs) in the United States. The PA-C credential is awarded by NCCPA to PAs who fulfill certification, certification maintenance and recertification requirements. NCCPA also administers the Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) program for experienced, Certified PAs practicing in seven specialties. For more information, visit