According to Iowa Workforce Development, the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.3% in 2014 to 3.7% in August 2015. As Iowa’s job market continues to improve, physician assistants are gaining more access to high-salaried jobs.
In fact, the state government recently named physician assistants among Iowa’s top 50 high-demand, high-salary occupations from 2012 through 2022. In 2014, the United States Department of Labor found physician assistants working in Iowa earned an average annual salary of $92,000 and an average hourly wage of $44.23.
Job Growth Projections for Iowa’s PAs
Employment projections calculated by the federal government indicate the number of physician assistants in Iowa will shoot up from 730 in 2012 to 960 by 2022. This 32% employment growth trend will prove extremely advantageous for physician assistants, as it will result in nearly 40 annual job openings during this projection period.
Leading job aggregation sites showed the following employers posted online job advertisements searching for physician assistants throughout Iowa in September 2015:
- Aureus Locum Tenens
- UnityPoint Health
- Mercy Medical Center
- Great River Health Systems
- Neurology & Sleep Clinic, PLC
- Hancock County Health System
- University of Iowa Community Medical Services, Inc.
- Medical Associates Clinic
Great Experience Equals Great Pay for Physician Assistants in Iowa
The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics were recently named among the U.S. News & World Report’s prestigious healthcare ranking of the country’s “best hospitals” for 2015-2016. UI Hospitals and Clinics were highlighted for their excellence in specialty areas including cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, and pulmonary. Kenneth P. Kates, CEO of UI Hospitals and Clinics, attributes the hospital’s national recognition to the highly skilled, dedicated, and experienced staff and faculty employed there.
Iowa’s reputation for excellent health care facilities hinges on its commitment to hiring the best possible job candidates available, which explains why the most experienced physician assistants in the business also earn the highest salaries.
For example, in 2014, the United States Department of Labor found that entry-level physician assistants in Iowa received an average annual salary of $48,800 and an average hourly wage of $23.44. Comparatively, mid-level workers were paid an average annual salary of $92,200 and an average hourly wage of $44.31. The most experienced physician assistants in the state took home an average annual salary of $121,800 and an average hourly wage of $58.58.
Physician Assistant Salaries by Specific Areas in Iowa
Geographic location of employment can also play a major role in determining a physician assistant’s salary trajectory in Iowa. For instance, in 2014, the United States Department of Labor reported the average annual salaries for physician assistants employed in the following areas in Iowa to be:
- Cedar Rapids: $109,790
- Davenport-Moline-Rock Island: $79,210
- Des Moines-West Des Moines: $82,350
- Iowa City: $99,050
- Sioux City: $94,680
- Waterloo-Cedar Falls: $89,730
- Northeast nonmetropolitan area: $93,770
- Southwest nonmetropolitan area: $88,210
- Southeast nonmetropolitan area: $104,980
The data table found below presents a more detailed illustration of physician assistant employment and wage findings in these selected regions (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014):