Physician assistants and physical therapists have two of the best jobs in the country, according to Money Magazine and PayScale.com. Western University of Health Sciences College of Allied Health Professions has degree programs for both of these highly regarded professions.

Physician assistants, or PAs, rank as the No. 2 “Best Job in America,” with a median salary of $92,000 and estimated 10-year job growth of 39 percent, according to a report posted on CNNMoney.com. WesternU has a two-year Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program. The PA profession offers great job satisfaction, said Roy Guizado, MS, PA-C, Chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Education.

“Once you start practicing, you see the immediate results of your education,” he said. “Patients are grateful for what you provide them. You act as a liaison between the medical community and patients.”

Physical therapists, or PTs, rank as the No. 4 “Best Job in America,” with a median salary of $75,000 and estimated 10-year growth of 30 percent, according to CNNMoney.com. The demand for PTs is so great that many PT students have jobs lined up before they graduate, said Dee Schilling, PT, PhD, Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy Education. WesternU offers a three-year entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program as well as an advanced degree DPT program for licensed PTs who already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

The profession continues to expand to include all stages of life, from neonatal care to palliative care, and across a variety of settings.

“In the past, PT was focused on rehabilitation, looking forward,” Schilling said. “With palliative care, we’re doing PT in a reverse model. We’re giving people skills to maintain optimal quality of life by preparing in advance for physical deterioration. When patients are walking independently, we begin to teach them how to use a walker in preparation of the loss of independent ambulation.”

The PA program is intense and fast paced.

“What we look for are critical thinkers who can put the clues together,” Guizado said. “You have to be of the mindset that you will continue to learn the rest of your life. You also need to develop a rapport with your supervising physician. You have to be an active listener.”

PT students also need to be good problem solvers, critical thinkers and quick on their feet, Schilling said.

“You need to be a cheerleader for the patient and the profession. You need to know how to motivate and inspire people,” she said. “You have to be able to empathize with your patient. Part of good communication is to be an incredibly good listener.”

When you commit to the PT program your life is no longer about you, it’s about your patient, she said.

“You’re studying for your patient,” Schilling said. “You don’t have to think about being embarrassed to ask a question in class. You had better know the answers, and be the best you can be.”

WesternU has several degree programs that prepare students to enter some of the “Best Jobs in America”: dentist (No. 12), emergency room physician (25), director of nursing (27), primary care physician (34), optometrist (56), nurse practitioner (65), general surgeon (75), biotechnology research scientist (76) and obstetrician/gynecologist (100).

Click here to read how Money Magazine and PayScale.com picked the Best Jobs.