Nov 10, 2009

Physician Assistant Studies at The U: great start to great career

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Students seeking one of the best jobs in the United States can get their start thanks to the Physician Assistant Studies Program at The University of South Dakota. Money Magazine is touting physician assistant as the second-best job in the United States. The ranking didn’t come as a surprise to Wade Nilson, MPAC, PA-C, chair of the Physician Assistant Studies Program at USD.
Money Magazine confirmed what we at USD have known for years,” Nilson said. “A career as a physician assistant is very rewarding.”

The magazine listed the 100 best jobs with systems engineer as the top job, physician assistant second and college professor third. The magazine said physician assistant ranked high for a number of reasons:
  • PAs can perform 85-90 percent of the duties of a physician without the expense and time of medical school
  • PAs receive the reward of helping people without the avalanche of administrative chores a physician faces
  • PA jobs are recession-proof and growing due to the ongoing shortage of primary care doctors, especially in rural areas
USD’s Physician Assistant Studies Program accepts 20 students annually in its rigorous 28-month master’s program. Half of the time is spent in the classroom with the additional time spent at a clinical training site. For several years, the program has had a 100 percent job placement rate. Last year’s class received an average starting salary of $73,000.

For more information about the Physician Assistant Studies Program, which is part of USD’s School of Health Sciences, please visit

A photo of Jerry Schrier, a PA student at USD, performing an exam during the clinical phase of his training in Sioux Falls is available for download at

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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