How Much Do Physician Assistants Make?

physician assistant job descriptionPhysician assistants (known as PA’s) work closely with doctors, dealing with and handling administration tasks delegated to them.

As well as having a range of duties such as maintaining medical histories, prescribing some medications, and running a range of day-to-day tasks for a medical practice.

Some patients will be put under the supervision of a physician’s assistant, making the PA responsible for aspects of their health care. PA’s are often the first line of contact when patients are making contact with a medical practice, in turn being referred to the doctor.

Physician Assistant Salary

The average Physician Assistants salary recorded is $108,610. This is the median wage, calculated by taking half of the workers in the profession earning more than, or less than this figure.

physician assistant salaryyHow much do physician assistants make when first starting out is hard to determine due to the large salary differences associated with qualifications, experience, geographic location and much more. There is a high degree of education required in becoming a qualified physician assistant.

Physician Assistants starting salary will generally be in the lowest 10% bracket. The lowest 10% earns less than $69,120, with the highest 10% earning more than $151,850. Most physician assistants are full time employees, working primarily in hospitals. It’s not uncommon for them to work unsocial hours too, like weekends, late nights, and holidays.

The pay scale can jump in large increments as workers in the profession complete sets of exams. There are several professional qualifications as part of a formal education that can be completed, it’s a role suiting the more studious minded people.

Top 5 Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Nevada FlagNevada 0.63$54.19$112,700
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island 0.54$53.45$111,180
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire 0.84$52.77$109,760
Washington FlagWashington 0.69$51.63$107,390
Texas FlagTexas 0.48$51.63$107,390

Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Scientific, Management, Technical Consulting Services $65.55$136,340
Home Health Care Services 0.01$55.87$116,220
Employment Services $51.31$106,730
Specialty Hospitals 0.32$49.47$102,910
Outpatient Care Centers 0.93$48.84$101,600

Physician Assistant Job Description

What does a physician assistant doPhysician assistants practice under the supervision of surgeons and physicians. They go through years of formal education to be able to be licenced and practice.

Once in practice they examine patients, diagnose illnesses and injuries, and provide treatment and advice.

So, what does a physician assistant do? The key duties of a PA include the following:

• Reviewing and maintaining the medical histories of patients
• Carrying out physical exams and routine general health checks
• Requesting and analysing the results of medical tests
• Making a call on a diagnosis of a patient’s illness or injury
• Treat injuries such as casting broken bones and giving immunizations
• Educating patients and their families on health care related problems
• Write prescriptions where necessary
• Update their own knowledge on the latest technologies and practices

The exact specifics of a PA’s role differs slightly in different states due to the medical legislation. The main difference being the tasks that have to be supervised by the surgeon or physician.

Physician assistants work in many different sectors of medical practice. These include family medicine, primary care, psychiatry and emergency medicine. The work of a PA will depend largely on their background and their area of specialty from their studies.

For example, a physician assistant working in surgery will be involved in the surgical process from providing care before, and after the surgical procedure has been carried out. Likewise a PA in the paediatrics will work with children day-to-day, giving routine vaccinations and general check-ups.

Physician assistants are considered a vital part of any health care team. The support and duties they offer are essential to the operations and running of a hospital or medical practice. It’s a role equally important to the patients who are being treated as it is the organization.

The physician assistant’s career path can develop into other areas of medicine by choice of the individual. But often, the PA will establish themselves in an area of medicine and develop their knowledge in the role over the years in practice.

Physician Assistant Salary by State

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama FlagAlabama0.22$43.22$89.890
Alaska FlagAlaska1.09$51.00$106.080
Arizona FlagArizona0.82$47.35$98.480
Arkansas FlagArkansas0.27$36.40$75.700
California FlagCalifornia0.90$49.43$102.800
Colorado flagColorado0.89$44.74 $93.070
Connecticut FlagConnecticut1.08$51.33 $106.760
Delaware flagDelaware0.97$50.58 $105.210
Florida FlagFlorida0.66$46.98 $97.710
Georgia FlagGeorgia0.64$45.63$94.910
Hawaii FlagHawaii0.22$43.69$90.880
Idaho FlagIdaho1.05$45.76$95180
Illinois FlagIllinois0.49$40.28$83.770
Indiana FlagIndiana0.32$46.12$95.940
Iowa FlagIowa0.62$44.23 $92.000
Kansas FlagKansas0.65$45.47$94.580
Kentucky FlagKentucky0.47$46.28 $96.260
Louisiana FlagLouisiana0.34$39.08$81.290
Maine FlagMaine1.59$48.13$100.110
Maryland FlagMaryland1.01$40.65$84.550
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts0.79$49.18$102.290
Michigan FlagMichigan0.90$46.01$95.690
Minnesota FlagMinnesota0.70$49.95$103.890
Mississippi FlagMississippi0.14$23.99 $49.900
Missouri FlagMissouri0.46$45.70$95.060
Montana FlagMontana1.01$45.94 $95.550
Nebraska FlagNebraska0.87$43.77$91.040
Nevada FlagNevada0.63$54.19$112.700
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire0.84$52.77$109.760
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey0.45$49.88$103.740
New Mexico FlagNew Mexico0.70$48.62$101.130
New York FlagNew York1.18$48.22$100.290
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina0.95$45.76$95.190
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota0.62$46.16$96.010
Ohio FlagOhio0.48$48.71$101.310
Oklahoma FlagOklahoma0.99$46.54$96.810
Oregon FlagOregon0.97$50.48 $104.990
Pennsylvania FlagPennsylvania0.88$41.84$87.020
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island0.54$53.45$111.180
South Carolina FlagSouth Carolina0.49$40.55$84.350
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota1.24$44.69 $92.960
Tennessee FlagTennessee0.51$43.34$90.150
Texas FlagTexas0.48$51.63$107.390
Utah FlagUtah0.70$44.52$92.600
Vermont FlagVermont1.11$51.47$1073050
Virginia FlagVirginia0.56$41.61$86.550
Washington FlagWashington1.01$51.63$107.390
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia1.44$42.19$87.750
Wisconsin FlagWisconsin0.58$44.38$92.300
Wyomin FlagWyoming0.79$46.10$95.880

Top paying metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Santa Fe – NM1.21$73.56$153,010
Longview – TX 0.52$72.92$151,670
South Bend/Mishawaka – IN/MI 0.38$71.11$147,900
Brownsville/Harlingen – TX 0.60$69.41$144,370
Santa Rosa/Petaluma – CA0.40$64.38$133,910

Top paying non-metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Southern Vermont, nonmetropolitan area 1.02$57.11$118,800
Capital – Northern New York, nonmetropolitan area 1.03$55.76$115,980
New Hampshire, nonmetropolitan area 0.97$55.01$114,410
West – Central Wisconsin, nonmetropolitan area0.75$54.81$114,010
Eastern Texas, nonmetropolitan area 0.18$54.76$113,900

Physician Assistant Job Outlook

The outlook for physician assistants has a very positive projection. The profession is expected to grow by 37% between 2016 and 2026, which is drastically more rapid than the average for all professions.

Demand in the healthcare sector is always increasing, this is the main factor in the stability of the job outlook. There is an always growing and aging population, which means the need for healthcare practitioners is always growing. Add this to the ever increasing number of people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, the need for physician assistants to provide care and support will increase.

There is expected to be an increased need for PA’s who are qualified to handle some of the doctors services. Having a larger skillset will not only help you command a higher salary, but the demand for the skillset make a person more employable.

The job outlook is expected to carry on expanding across the states, as more states change their legislation allowing physician assistants to carry out more procedures.

Physician Assistant Career Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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