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Tips for Finding a Job as a New Physician Assistant

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A HELPFUL ARTICLE

Tips for Finding a Job as a New Physician Assistant

When I graduated from Yale Physician Associate Program in 2005, I was one of the few lucky enough to have a job already lined up to start within months of that diploma being laid in my hand. I loved my internal medicine rotation on the Hospitalist service and really connected with my preceptor. She approached me about a possible position after graduation and I jumped on that like a cat in heat.  Unfortunately, it is not always that easy. The 2 longest years of your life have come to an end. It feels like the whole thing was a complete blur, but you are so excited to be done you don’t even care. You have probably celebrated way too much and realize, oh crap..now I actually have to WORK as a physician assistant (PA). Maybe you are lucky enough like me to have lined up a position already, or maybe you are sipping cocktails on the beach somewhere trying to decompress from 2 years of insanity. Regardless, when you start that job search it can be so easy to get discouraged. Not the right specialty, not the right hours, requires experience, the whole nine yards. So here are my top tips for finding a job as new graduate. Start early..But not too early. Let yourself get settled into your clinical year first, but if you already know what specialty you want to go into, then start your search! It never hurts to see what is out there.  If you have a rotation and connect with someone like I did, do not be afraid to ask about employment opportunities. This is by far the best way to get the inside scoop on positions that may be coming available or may not be posted yet.  You may have months left to go, but some employers will be willing to wait for the right candidate. You will never know unless you put yourself out there! Network your face off.  Chances are a PA that you have interacted with knows someone who knows someone who knows someone.  For example, I am in oncology, but I have friends that do ortho all over the place, so maybe one of their practices is hiring…you see where I am going with this right? Social media is also a great way to network outside of your local area.  Reach out to your contacts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+. LinkedIn allows you to post your profile and build a network of colleagues. From there, companies may reach out to you directly for positions. The downside is, to maximize your profile, it comes at a cost of $24.99/month, but the first month is free.  If you dont follow me on these platforms, go now and start networking! Websites. There are TONS of job search websites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Monster, you name it. The problem with the larger sites is you often have to sift through a lot of jobs before you can find what you are looking for.  Searching “physician assistant” will bring up any job from physician to literal assistant, so it is time consuming. On the flip side, sometimes you can find positions posted you will not find elsewhere. Some of the smaller sites like the PA Exchange or NCCPA Career center can be very limited in their postings particularly when it comes to location.  You can certainly search all the sites out there, but I recommend going to individual hospital or practice websites as well as the AAPA job site to look for availability. Be sure to check out your state PA chapter website and if you have a certain specialty in mind, find the PA society and check out their webpage. For example, if I were searching for oncology, I would go to the Association of PAs in Oncology page to see if any jobs were posted, or the Advanced Practitioner Society for Hematology Oncology. These organizations exist for almost every specialty. Recruiting services. Full disclosure, I have no experience working with a recruiter, however, am approached by them regularly about open positions.  If you are struggling to find a position that fits your needs, it may be worth looking into this option. They are typically hired by organizations that are looking for advanced providers and they will do their best to “market” you.  I am not sure if they are truly worth the investment and would recommend doing your homework before launching into a contract with one..and do all of the above steps first! Manage your expectations.  Your first job as a PA will not be your dream job. If it is, you hit the jackpot.  It is unlikely that you will find a job in the specialty of your choice, with the perfect hours, an amazing attending physician with compensation to match, and is within 15 miles of your home.  I am not saying you should settle for less, but I am saying that those positions tend to come with experience. With that being said, almost ALL job postings will say something about years of experience required. IGNORE THAT. Apply anyway, you have absolutely nothing to lose. Do not be discouraged if you do not get the first job you interview for, there are plenty more out there.  PA is one of the fastest growing medical careers and our positions are in demand. Stay persistent and hungry, and you will find your best match.

If you are a new graduate starting your first job, post here or email me and share how you found your position! Be sure to follow me and The PA Posse on Instagram & Twitter too!!

2 Comments

  1. Hillary on October 25, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    I recently graduated in May of this year. I had gotten a couple of loose job offers on my rotations but nothing I was interested in taking. I found my first job by searching the website of a large local organization. It’s an umbrella company that covered some of the places where I did rotations. So when I applied for the position, my references were strong since they were connected with the larger organization.

    On my interview I shadowed at the practice with the doctors to get a feel for what type of patients they saw and how busy it was. I would be skeptical of any place that doesn’t let you shadow.

    Also, know your worth. Do your research on salary averages in your area and in the field you’re applying in. Have a general idea of what the competitors offer. That knowledge gives you the leverage to negotiate your salary and contract. Don’t be greedy, but you are entitled to get compensated for what you’re worth!

    • admin on October 25, 2018 at 9:30 pm

      Absolutely Hillary!! This is so true. Knowing your worth is more than half the battle!

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