I've worked with a lot of PAs. Some good.....some really bad. But the same goes for physicians. Cons
I guess for me the biggest thing is can you see yourself working under a supervising physician? PAs in almost all states are not licensed independent practitioners. You will always have someone over you.
The other thing is the status thing. I've met so many unhappy PAs because they really want to be physicians. If you can't handle the downgrade in status and just focus on your patients I don't recommend it. I find that by and large a good PA does earn the respect of their patients, even though they don't get the boost of calling themselves "Doctor."Pros
The plus side is you do always have someone else to confer with for your decisions, decreased responsibility and a more flexible schedule (in some places).
It also depends greatly on what type of PA you want to be. Most of my experience is with ER PAs, but I have worked with many different specialties. I think it is really a balance of finding a supervising physician/group you work well with and a specialty you enjoy. Its not hard to find a job as a PA, but some specialties are very difficult to get into. A lot of your training will be "on the job" and it will take a few years for the group to get their monies worth from you. I know a group of neurosurgeons and they have one PA and they were extremely rigorous about hiring him. With that kind of limited availability if you have your eyes set on a field like that it might not be worth it.
A big pro is that if you don't like the specialty you are in, you can switch! A physician would have to essentially be retrained in a new specialty, which is not usually worth it.
The last thing and I want to say this with as little pretension as possible... but for me being a PA and working the "mid-level" cases is very dull and boring. For instance, if I was in the ER I would much rather be managing critical cases than treating sore throats, flus, abscesses, etc., Are all PAs like that? No. Each group is different. But for myself, I want the best for my patient and in my eyes that will be maximizing my education with an MD/DO after my Phd/PsyD.
The type of medicine I am interested in is not as concrete (neurology/psychiatry) and there is a lot of room for interpretation. I couldn't handle the interpretation of my supervising physician being different from my own because of their theoretical orientation. Neuro* is one of the last bastions of actual critical thinking that I can see because we have so much to learn. The other professions are steeped in a lot of research that has yielded algorithms and statistics to use. They remove the element of thought. You just sort through facts and reach a calculated decision.
Now lets see how many RJ Doctors I just pissed off