Not only did the North Carolina Department of Commerce give a five star rating to the job prospects for physician assistants, it ranked the profession as fourth on a list of five star jobs that require an advanced degree.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce expects the number of jobs for physician assistants in the state to increase at a rate the nation average published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the period between 2012 and 2022. Projections suggest that the rate of job growth for physician assistants in North Carolina will be 42.8% during this ten-year period.
Factors Contributing to Job Growth and Strong Salary Offers
Both urban and rural areas can be good places for physician assistants to find jobs in North Carolina according to the BLS. Greenville had the third highest concentration of jobs of any metropolitan area in the country in 2014. The nonmetropolitan areas of North Carolina had the highest employment level of any such rural area in the country that year.
A 2007 study conducted by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine reported that North Carolina is likely to face a severe shortage of physician assistants, physicians, and other allied health care professionals over the next 20 years. Physician assistants, in particular, provide a significant amount of care in underserved rural areas that lack a sufficient number of physicians. With a relatively low number of physician assistants and a high level of demand for the services they provide, employers are offering impressive compensation packages.
A report conducted by the Robert Graham Center in 2013 predicts a significant shortage of primary care physicians in North Carolina. This study estimates that an additional 1,885 primary care physicians will be needed by 2030 to fill the growing demand for primary care services resulting from a growing aging population and increases in the number of state residents with medical insurance. Increasing the number of licensed physician assistants in the state is cited as being key to helping fill this void.
Physicians Assistant Salaries Throughout North Carolina
The North Carolina Department of Commerce reported that experienced physician assistants earned 34% more than professionals new to the workforce. Experienced physician assistants earned an average salary of $104,010, while entry-level physician assistants averaged $77,550 in 2015. The median salary among North Carolina’s physician assistants was $93,390 that year.
Salaries for North Carolina’s physician assistants varied greatly depending on location. Physician assistants in the Goldsboro metropolitan statistical area earned higher salaries at all levels of experience:
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a highly detailed analysis of physician assistant salaries in the rural and urban parts of North Carolina as of 2014: