Emerging occupations typically appear as a 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 work in:
- public and military hospitals
- community health centres
- private practice specialty physician offices
Physician assistants train as generalists but work in many specialties (such as orthopaedics, oncology, neurosurgery and psychiatry). As they gain greater clinical knowledge and experience, they can assume new duties and seek higher wages. For example, they may supervise other staff and PA students. Additional education improves career prospects.
In Alberta, most people employed as physician assistants work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.
The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:
- trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
- location in Alberta
- employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
- occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
- size of the occupation.
In Alberta, the D313: Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.2% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 246 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.