According to the United States Department of Labor, physician assistants are among Arkansas’s top 50 highest-paying occupations. In 2014, physician assistants employed here took home an average annual salary of $75,700 and an average hourly wage of $36.40.
Generous salaries are not the only thing aspiring physician assistants in Arkansas can look forward to. Employment projections configured by the federal government show that physician assisting is also the eighth fastest growing occupation in Arkansas through 2022. In 2012, there were an estimated 140 physician assistants working in the state. By 2022, this number is expected to increase to 190, which signifies a 38% employment growth change. Due to this rising demand, aspiring physician assistants in Arkansas can anticipate roughly 10 annual job openings.
Experience Leads to Higher Physician Assistant Salaries in Arkansas
In Arkansas, physician assistants typically earn anywhere between $27,000 and $124,00. One of the major factors that accounts for this huge salary disparity is experience. Newly licensed and largely inexperienced physician assistants rarely earn high-end salaries due to their lack of work history. Employers are more inclined to offer greater pay to physician assistants that have several years of field experience working with patients and other medical staff.
Arkansas salary surveys conducted by the United States Department of Labor concluded that in 2014:
- Physician assistants placed in entry-level positions received an average annual salary of $27,900 and an average hourly wage of $13.43.
- The median salary for physician assistants was $81,300
- The most accomplished physician assistants, with 10+ years of experience, reached a much greater average annual salary of $123,700 and an average hourly wage of $59.46.
Aside from remaining gainfully employed throughout the years, there are other ways that physician assistants can enjoy the kind of career advancement that leads to pay raises. For example, some physician assistants continue to complete postgraduate education programs in specialty disciplines including psychiatry, surgery, medicine, and emergency.
In addition, physician assistants can accumulate supplementary clinical skills by engaging in volunteer opportunities and attending training events through professional associations like the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). By doing so, physician assistants can prove their dedication and mastery of the field, thereby demonstrating their ability to handle greater responsibility. It is exactly this kind of ambition that motivates employers to promote physician assistants into supervisory positions.
Physician Assistant Salaries Vary by Location in Arkansas
Physician assistants should carefully consider where they intend to work within Arkansas since geographic location of employment can largely influence their earning potential. For instance, in 2014 the United States Department of Labor found physician assistants in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers area were paid an average annual salary of $100,180. Yet, those with jobs in the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway region received an average annual salary of $70,590. In the East nonmetropolitan area, physician assistants took home a much lower average annual salary of $44,790.
The table below provides a detailed analysis of PA salaries throughout Arkansas (US Department of Labor, 2014):