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6 Things That Influence The Pathologist Assistant Job Market

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unnamed-2Pathologists’ assistants (PAs) provide highly skilled anatomic pathology services, including preliminary diagnoses. Professionals in this exciting career are enjoying a strong growth outlook today, but what can you expect in the coming years? Many factors can affect the pathologists’ assistant job market, and here are six of the biggest trends to watch.

1. A Burgeoning Job Growth Outlook

The New York Department of Education sees excellent job prospects for PAs, projecting “faster than average” job growth over the coming years. According to the AAPA, there’s opportunity for advancement into a management or supervisory role.

In other words, trends show excellent job growth prospects for PAs, who have a stable and vital role to fill in the field of pathology for years to come. Here at Nicklas Medical Staffing, we have seen first-hand just how promising PA salaries can be. Although the range is large and highly dependent on location, work setting, and experience, there is an abundance of opportunity!

2. Increasing Pressure to Control Healthcare Costs

The AAPA further notes that demand for qualified pathologists’ assistants is growing, in part, due to increased pressure to reduce healthcare costs and keep the budgets of healthcare organizations in check. A PA on staff makes a significant difference in a lab’s overall effectiveness and cost efficiency. The ability of PAs to improve productivity and control costs is a primary driver of today’s robust job market for pathologists’ assistants.

3. The Region & Location of Pathologists’ Assistant Job Opportunities 

Pathologists’ assistants receive intensive and specialized training to complete tasks in settings from academic environments to community hospitals, private pathology labs, and community hospitals. The need for PAs in these settings is not focused in any one isolated region of the country. This opens up the option of travel work or relocating to an area where the local job market and compensation trends may be different.

The type of facility and the region of the country where it is located will both have a large impact on a candidate’s overall job prospects. Because PAs can work in so many lab settings and travel to fill urgent openings, the pathologists’ assistant job market is incredibly resilient. Travel makes the work more exciting and brings plenty of opportunity for variety in the PA lifestyle.

4. Locum Tenens Hiring Trends

The last few years have seen a rise in demand for pathology expertise in the lab via short-term and long-term contracts. Many PAs have found it beneficial to operate in a ‘locum tenens’ fashion (jobs with a defined duration) through travel placements with a reputable PA staffing organization.

This makes today’s pathologists’ assistant job market very diverse. There are many job opportunities ranging from contracts as brief as one week all the way to permanent roles. Nicklas Medical Staffing would be glad to help you take control of your job search and identify the perfect match for the next step in your career.

5. Ongoing Hospital Mergers & Acquisitions

New ownership and other organizational changes in the workplace can have an outsized impact on the PA job market. There are a lot of mergers and acquisitions happening right now: larger hospitals are purchasing smaller ones, private doctors’ groups are merging, and there’s a general consolidation going on in the healthcare sector. Leading organizations (which promise stability in an uncertain time) continue to absorb market share.

This has the side effect of creating more job openings. Amid the shakeup, many hospitals and labs are adjusting their personnel to new processes or structures, and many people are changing jobs to be closer to their families.

6. A National Shortage of Pathologists

A shortage of pathologist manpower (or a perceived shortage) has gripped American healthcare. There are varied solutions to the labor challenges faced by today’s pathology labs, but this doesn’t necessarily equal a need for more pathologists.

Clinical pathology organizations are innovating to resolve the labor shortage with improvements in the efficiency and “leanness” of operations. Pathologists can alleviate the pressure by delegating tasks to specialized physician extenders such as PAs. Many pathology groups have realized the benefits of employing pathologists’ assistants to process gross tissue. 

Some pathology practices have even opted to financially incentivize employees to enter Pathologists’ Assistant training programs — a sure sign of the growing importance of PAs in the lab as well as a thriving career growth outlook.

Check out our Travel Pathologists' Assistant & Histotech Hourly Pay Estimator to crunch the numbers on the elements that impact your overall compensation on the job.


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