How much do physician assistants make?

January 25, 2023 at 1:24 PM

The salary for a physician assistant (PA) can vary depending on factors such as location, years of experience, and type of employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for PAs in the United States was $112,260 in May 2020.

Here are some additional data points from the BLS:

  • The lowest 10 percent earned less than $87,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $141,850.

  • The median annual wages for physician assistants in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

  • Outpatient care centers: $115,830

  • Hospitals; state, local, and private: $111,830

  • Offices of physicians: $110,030

  • Medical and diagnostic laboratories: $107,950

It's important to mention that the BLS data is from May 2020 and it is from a broader category "Physician Assistants" which includes both primary care and specialty care PAs. The salary for PAs who work in specialty fields such as surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry may be higher than those who work in primary care. Additionally, the cost of living, regional differences, and experience will also affect the salary. Overall, PAs are well-compensated professionals with strong earning potential. 

The job outlook for PAs is very positive, with many job opportunities expected to be available in the coming years. The demand for PAs is expected to continue to grow as the healthcare system looks for cost-effective and efficient ways to provide high-quality care to a growing and aging population.

There are several factors that contribute to the strong job growth for PAs, including:

  • Growing demand for primary care services: With an aging population and an increased emphasis on preventive care, the demand for primary care services is expected to continue to grow. PAs can help to meet this demand by providing primary care services in a variety of settings.

  • Shortage of primary care physicians: There is a shortage of primary care physicians in the United States, particularly in rural and underserved areas. PAs can help to fill this gap by providing primary care services in these areas.

  • Increased use of PAs in specialty fields: PAs are increasingly being used in specialty fields such as surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. They can provide a cost-effective alternative to physicians in these areas and help to improve access to care.

  • Healthcare reform, such as the Affordable Care Act, has led to an increase in the number of people with health insurance, which is expected to increase the demand for healthcare services, including PAs.

Jobs Related to Physician Assistant

There are several jobs related to physician assistants (PAs) that are similar in nature and have similar responsibilities. These include:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP): NPs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who are licensed to provide primary and specialty healthcare services. They have similar education and certification requirements as PAs and can perform many of the same tasks, such as taking medical histories, conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, and prescribing medications.

  • Registered Nurse (RN): RNs are healthcare professionals who are responsible for providing patient care, administering medication, and monitoring patients' conditions. Some RNs may be trained to perform more advanced tasks, such as administering anesthesia or working as a nurse practitioner, but their role and responsibilities are different from PAs.

  • Medical Assistant: Medical Assistants are healthcare professionals who work under the supervision of physicians and perform administrative and clinical tasks in medical offices, clinics, and hospitals. They can assist with taking vital signs, drawing blood, and performing basic laboratory tests, but their scope of practice is limited compared to PAs.

  • Physician: Physicians, also known as Medical Doctors (MDs) or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) are the highest level of healthcare professionals and are licensed to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, perform surgery, and prescribe medications. They work independently and are responsible for the overall care of their patients.

  • Physician Assistant, Specialty: PAs working in specific specialty fields such as surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry have a more specific role and responsibilities compared to primary care PAs. They work closely with physicians in their specialty and have a more advanced knowledge and skillset to cater to the specific needs of their patients.