An extensive report released by the Governor’s Workforce Development Council from 2011 strongly advocated for expanding the use of physician assistants to help ameliorate the anticipated shortage of primary healthcare providers in Minnesota. This shortage is expected to be highly acute over the next ten years. The report stated that the expanded use of physician assistants “will be critical” to providing primary healthcare in the future in Minnesota.
The growing need for physician assistants in Minnesota is documented in the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Department job growth projections. This agency projects that the number of jobs for physician assistants in Minnesota will increase dramatically between 2012 and 2022, with an expected job growth rate of 34.5%.
Rural Minnesota has documented a severe shortage of healthcare providers, and projections indicate that the level of job growth for physician assistants will be even higher in nonmetropolitan areas of the state. For instance, the number of jobs for physician assistants in Southeast Minnesota is expected to increase by 42.6%, while the Central part of the state should see an increase of 40.4%.
Minnesota’s state universities and private colleges have increased the number of graduate programs for physician assistants in an effort to help mitigate this shortage.
An Analysis of Physician Assistant Salaries in Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) provides the details from a 2015 salary analysis of physician assistants in the state showing that earnings exceeded the national average published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The difference was particularly striking for entry-level physician assistants in the bottom 10% of this occupational category:
Minnesota salary: Increase over the national average
- 90th Percentile: $138,216 (1.2%)
- Median: $104,125 (7.2%)
- 10th Percentile: $81,078 (24.7%)
The DEED also provided the median salary for physician assistants in Minnesota’s major cities as of 2015:
- Rochester: $115,856
- Duluth: $107,806
- Saint Cloud: $104,437
- Minneapolis-St. Paul: $101,005
- Mankato: $96,658
Physician Assistant Salaries in Minnesota by Location
Salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that the salaries of physician assistants varied widely in Minnesota’s major metropolitan areas and in its nonmetropolitan areas as of 2014. Physician assistants in Rochester earned the highest average and median salaries. In fact, the BLS reported that Rochester’s physician assistants had the highest average salary of any metropolitan area in the country in 2014. Physician assistants in the nonmetropolitan area of Northeast Minnesota enjoyed the second highest average and median salaries: