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2. Physician Assistant
Physician Assistant
Wayne VonSeggen enjoys working with doctors to solve problems.
Top 100 rank: 2
Sector: Health Care

What they do: Act as Robin to a doctor's Batman, performing routine care such as physicals and tests, counseling patients, and even prescribing medication, all under a doctor's supervision. Today's doctor shortage will only worsen as boomers age and health care reform brings more patients into the system, creating a huge need for PAs.

What's to like: No med school, no grueling internship, more freedom to move from one specialty to another -- yet all the satisfaction of delivering care. "No day is exactly the same, and I love that variety," says Wayne VonSeggen, 61, of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.? "It's also very challenging intellectually to work with doctors to try to help solve problems."

What's not to like: High stress and considerably lower pay than what doctors make. In such a supportive role, you can't be an entrepreneur.

Requirements: Complete an accredited PA program (average length: 26 months). The typical applicant has a bachelor's degree and four years of health care experience.

Do Physician Assistants have great jobs, or what?
Physician Assistant stats
Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$92,000
Top pay $124,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
39%
Total jobs
(current)
100,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction A
Job security B
Future growth A
Benefit to society A
Low stress D
Flexibility B
From the November 2010 issue
Notes: All pay data from PayScale.com. Median pay is for an experienced worker (at least two to seven years in the field). Top pay represents the 90th percentile. Job growth is estimated for 2008-18. Total current employment level is estimated number of people working in each specific job

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and MONEY research
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MONEY and compensation experts PayScale.com used Bureau of Labor Statistics growth forecasts for 7,000 jobs, and identified industries with the biggest increases in jobs requiring bachelorís degrees. Ranked them by 2008-18 growth and pay. More

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