Picking a Physician Assistant Specialty that Fits Your Personality
As you being your journey towards becoming a PA, you may find that a specific area of expertise calls to you. Some PAs have a good idea of which Physician Assistant specialty is right for them before they’re working in the field, and choose which programs they’re applying to accordingly. Others find out their passion during their time in PA school or working in the field.
It’s never too early to start thinking about which specialty might be right for you. Keep in mind that each program is unique in its curriculum and faculty- some schools place the largest value on primary care while others may offer a better focus in a specialty that interests you. If you know that you want to work in surgery or emergency care, you may want to only focus on schools that offer training in those specialties. Keep in mind that if you’re interested in a more competitive specialty such as surgery, picking a focused program can help set you up for success and easy placement after graduation!
The more you understand about your personal needs as a PA student and what you’re looking to get out of your career, the easier it will be to pick a specialty and program. Does the OR call to you or do you prefer a medical based specialty? Do you want greater flexibility in your day to day tasks or do you prefer consistency? What type kind of work/life balance are you looking for? Being able to answer any of these questions with certainty can help rule out specialties that may not fit your goals.
If you want to find out which specialties might be right for you based on your personality, consider taking the MSAT. The MSAT is a quick and free quiz that helps you assess which specialties might be a good for you based on your answers. It’s important to note that this quiz was designed for pre-med students and not PAs, so some of the specialties listed may have very limited availabilities for PAs.
Remember- just having a small amount of guidance could help you make a career-altering decision and can help you narrow down your list of potential schools!