The job market for physician assistants in Missouri is considered so promising that the state’s Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) ranked it as the 27th fastest growing occupation in the state in a 2012 report. This ranking is likely to be even higher at this time with the increase in demand for physician assistants that has been fueled by the Affordable Care Act.
Key Factors Driving Job Growth for Physician Assistants in Missouri
Projections from MERIC indicate that the number of jobs for physician assistants will increase by 28.64% between 2012 and 2022, generating 571 new PA jobs in Missouri during this time. The level of job growth for physician assistants in the Northeast region of Missouri is expected to be even higher, with a projected increase of 33.33% between 2012 and 2022.
As of 2014, Missouri had a very low number of physician assistants in practice on a per capita basis when compared to other states, indicating a lot of room for growth. In fact, in its 2015 report the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants ranked the state 48th in the nation in terms of the number of residents per PA.
Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill in 2014 that reduced the amount of oversight that physician assistants need from a supervising physician. While passing such legislation has been an issue in other states, the Missouri State Medical Association supported the change due to the critical shortage of doctors in the state. Physician assistants are expected to help make up for the shortfall of doctors, which is particularly serious in rural areas of Missouri.
Salaries for Missouri’s Physician Assistants Increase with Experience
Physician assistants in Missouri with several years of experience earned 2.39 times more than those new to the field according to the state’s Economic Research and Information Center. Experienced physician assistants earned an average of $106,996, while their colleagues just entering the workforce earned an average of $44,779 as of 2013. The median salary among Missouri’s physician assistants was $88,613 that year.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed salary analysis for physician assistants in Missouri’s major metropolitan areas and the nonmetropolitan area of Central Missouri as of 2014. The median salary in the Kansas City area was substantially higher than that in other parts of Missouri: