The Nebraska Department of Labor considers the occupation of physician assistant to be so promising that it designated the field as having a bright job outlook statewide. In fact, the Department expects a 29% increase in the number of jobs for physician assistants in Nebraska between 2012 and 2022.
Physician assistants who specialize in primary care will be crucial to ameliorating the expected shortage of primary care physicians in Nebraska in the coming years according to a 2013 report on primary care physician assistants from the Center for Health Policy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The researchers who produced this report analyzed trends and characteristics of primary care physician assistants in Nebraska’s workforce using data from 2007-2011. They found that most of these physician assistants worked in physician offices:
- Physician offices: 42%
- Outpatient clinics (including emergency and urgent care): 38%
- Hospital inpatient: 14%
- Public community health centers: 5%
The report pointed out how physician assistants are poised to be able to help address two critical challenges facing the country’s health care system:
- The high cost of care
- The shortage of primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas
The researchers concluded that policy interventions are necessary to increase the number of physician assistant graduates who specialize in primary care in Nebraska. The need for physician assistants in Nebraska is most critical in its rural areas, and a higher percentage of physician assistants worked in rural counties than physicians and nurse practitioners during the time frame of their analysis.
Experience and Location Impacts Salaries Among Nebraska’s Physician Assistants
Experienced physician assistants in Nebraska earned 1.37 times more than their colleagues just entering the workforce according to a 2015 report released by the state’s Department of Labor. Physician assistants with experience earned an average of $102,077, while entry-level physician assistants earned an average of $74,573
The Nebraska Department of Labor reported that experienced physician assistants in Lincoln earned the highest average salary in 2015:
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a high level of detail on the salaries of Nebraska’s physician assistants in urban and rural areas as of 2014. Physician assistants in the nonmetropolitan areas of Western and Southeastern Nebraska earned a significantly higher median salary than their colleagues in other parts of the state: