The prospects for physician assistants are so promising in North Dakota that the state’s Workforce Intelligence Network rated the profession as having “exceptional growth” in terms of long-term job prospects. This agency projected that the number of jobs for physician assistants in North Dakota will increase by 33.9% between 2012 and 2022. Such a high rate of growth should result in an average of 148 physician assistant jobs becoming available each year in North Dakota.
North Dakota’s Primary Care Provider Shortage
In the past, North Dakota had a critical shortage of physician assistants. A 2009 study entitled Human Resources for Health revealed that North Dakota had the lowest rate of physician assistants per capita in the country in 2007.
Physician assistants are critical to providing primary health care in rural areas of North Dakota, which have a low number of physicians. In 2013, Prairie Business interviewed Brad Gibbons, the deputy director of the University of North Dakota’s Center for Rural Health, about the shortage of physicians in rural areas of the state. Seventeen counties in North Dakota had no physicians, and the rural areas of the state, which account for half of the state’s total population, had only about one quarter of North Dakota’s physicians.
The North Dakota Legislature has taken action on the lack of primary health care providers in much of the state and approved funding to build a new medical school in 2013. This will provide more training opportunities for physicians and will hopefully help to alleviate the critical shortage of primary care health providers in North Dakota’s rural areas.
PA Salaries in North Dakota According to Experience and Location
Experienced physician assistants in North Dakota earned 25% more than their colleagues who were new to the workforce according to the North Dakota Workforce Intelligence Network. Physician assistants with experience earned an average of $102,860, while entry-level physician assistants averaged $82,290 in 2014.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides detailed salary data for physician assistants in North Dakota’s urban and rural areas as of 2014: