The demand for physician assistants is “unprecedented” according to Forbes, and a shortage of primary care physicians is fueling this trend in Mississippi. The state had 35% fewer doctors per capita than the national average in 2012 according to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Partly as a result of this, the number of jobs for physician assistants in Mississippi is expected to increase by 20% between 2010 and 2020 according to the state’s Department of Employment Security. The demand for physician assistants will be particularly high in the Gulfport-Biloxi metropolitan statistical area, with a projected increase of 50% in the number of PAs expected to be working here during this ten year period.
The shortage of doctors is particularly acute in rural areas of Mississippi. A 2009 study performed by Health Management Associates, Inc. found that 40% of Mississippi’s population lives in rural areas, but only one quarter of the state’s physicians practice in these areas. This highlights the need for physician assistants in Mississippi’s rural areas.
Employers advertising for physician assistants in the Fall 2012 Mississippi Academy of Physician Assistants newsletter included:
- Singing River Health System (SRHS) Neuroscience Center in Ocean Springs
- Endocrine Care Center in Biloxi
- Central Mississippi Residential Center in Newton
The Impact of Experience on Salaries for Mississippi’s Physician Assistants
Experienced physician assistants in Mississippi earned considerably more than those just entering the workforce in 2015 according to the state’s Department of Employment Security. While physician assistants in Mississippi earned an average salary of $49,900, experienced physician assistants earned $61,340 a year. Entry-level physician assistants in Mississippi earned an average salary of $27,000.
While the salaries of entry-level physician assistants were similar in the Gulfport-Biloxi and Jackson areas, those of more experienced physician assistants varied by more than $9,000 between these areas:
Physician Assistant Salaries in Jackson and Southeast Mississippi
The US Department of Labor provides a more detailed analysis of the salaries for physician assistants located in Jackson and the nonmetropolitan area of Southeast Mississippi as of 2014. While the average salaries were almost identical, highly experienced physician assistants in Jackson (the top 10% of this occupational category) earned $17,750 more: