Emerging occupations typically are the result of:
- an increased human need (for example, alternate sources of energy)
- technological advances
- greater specialization within an occupation.
Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, it can be difficult to define advancement opportunities or employment outlook. Some Albertans already are working in this emerging occupation but future demand for physician assistants is unknown.
Physician assistants are employed in:
- public and military hospitals
- community-based health centres
In 2013, Alberta Health Services began a Physician Assistant (PA) Demonstration Project to evaluate the impact of the profession as members of the health care team by integrating physician assistants into several Alberta Health Services facilities.
Physician assistants are trained as generalists; however, work in a variety of specialties, such as orthopaedics, oncology, neurosurgery and psychiatry. As they gain greater clinical knowledge and experience, physician assistants can earn new responsibilities and higher wages. For example, experienced physician assistants may supervise other staff and physician assistant students. However, advancement opportunities are limited without additional education.
In Alberta, most people employed as physician assistants work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.
The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:
- trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
- location in Alberta
- employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
- occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
- size of the occupation.