Physician Assistant Salaries

Salaries for Physician Assistant are among the highest in the medical industry, in some cases, even rivaling those of doctors. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the almost 83,600 Physician Assistants working in the country earned an average of $86,410 in 2010. There are also a number of other factors that make this profession a highly attractive one including the almost 30 percent expected growth in PA jobs from 2010 through 2020.

While the average annual salary for Physician Assistants is considerably higher than the majority of medical professionals, there are also a number of factors which can contribute to elevate this number even further. These include geographical location, medical specialty and experience level.

Geographical Location

Like most professions, the state and area in which a Physician Assistant practices can be a very important factor in determining salary. Although the most job opportunities for Physician Assistants can be found in the larger states like California, Texas, or New York, with each of these states employing from 4,800 up to 9,300 PAs, the highest paying states with their average annual salaries include the following:

  • Rhode Island $112,250
  • Connecticut $104, 540
  • Washington $103,890
  • Oregon $103,400
  • Nevada $102,670

The boosted salaries in these states are often a reflection of the increased demand for this valued profession.

The region in the country with the highest annual average salary was the Western U.S., while the Midwest offered the lowest average annual salary:

  • West $103,906
  • South $99,365
  • Northeast $96,060
  • Midwest $95,779

Medical Specialty

According to the 2013 Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Salary Survey by Clinical Advisor, the highest paid Physician Assistants are found in the Dermatology specialty followed closely by the Emergency Medicine field. The highest paid specialties with their average annual salaries include:

  • Dermatology $113,063
  • Emergency medicine $112,825
  • Orthopedics $105,161
  • Urgent care $99,050
  • Family medicine $90,460

Another factor to consider within medical specialty is the professional setting. Physician Assistants may work in a variety of locations, each of which may influence the compensation. The most common locales and their average annual salaries are

  • Hospital $106,670
  • Clinic-hospital $100,124
  • Walk-in/ambulatory practice $95,876
  • Clinic-independent $94,976
  • Doctor’s office $94,846

Experience Level

Unlike many professions, Physician Assistants are likely to experience the greatest boost in salary as it relates to their experience level at the beginning of their careers. Once they have served as PAs for longer than ten years, the industry tends not differentiate greatly among experience levels as evidenced by plateauing salaries. The years of experience and their average annual salaries in 2012 are as follows:

  • Less than 5 years $91,512
  • Between 6 and 10 years $100,221
  • Between 11 and 15 years $101,603
  • Between 16 and 20 years $104, 955
  • Greater than 20 years $104, 011

Other Factors

Like all medical occupations there are a number of less common factors that tend to influence salary. These include degree and educational level, with PAs who possess education beyond the requisite Master’s level likely to earn more in compensation. Size of a practice is also of key importance, with larger practices offering more generous salaries. Finally, Physician Assistants who play a greater role in the treatment of patients often have bargaining leverage to boost their salaries.

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