In 2014, U.S. News and World Report ranked physician assistant (PA) as a top 15 job pick in the US, with a 30% projected growth in opportunities through 2020. Average starting salaries are very appealing, as is the flexibility to practice in various medical specialties without the requirement of additional education or training. Numerous specialty options exist to satisfy a wide variety of interests.
But where is the best place to practice medicine as a PA? It’s not always about money, as most people feel that quality of life, comfort, and proximity to family all factor into the equation. PAs can practice and prescribe medicine in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia, though specific regulations vary from state to state. A typical workday consists of diagnosing and treating illness; physical examinations; counseling patients; ordering therapies, lab tests, and X-rays; prescribing medications; recording patient progress; taking medical histories; treating injuries by suturing, splinting, or casting, and performing or assisting in surgeries. All of these responsibilities help to inspire passion for the job.
Finding a comfortable position where PAs can earn a good salary, enjoy benefits, and apply their talent to the fullest is paramount. Although it’s subjective, for most people, a great place to work is inspiring, draws passion and talent from the employees, and leaves them fulfilled career-wise. However, if you want someone to “show you the money,” according to Monster.com, the states with the highest and lowest average salaries for physician assistants are as follows:
- New Jersey
- New York
- New Mexico
The average PA salary is currently $100,500 per year. This figure is based on a survey where salaries ranged from $20K to $150K. NPs’ average starting salary is $95,000 per year, compared with family practice physicians, who have an average annual starting salary of $175,000.
Some other interesting statistics:
Average PA salary by practice area:
Emergency Medicine: $113K
Urgent Care Centers: $104K
Family Practice/Family Medicine: $94K
Average PA salary based on experience:
<5 years: $95K
6-10 years: $98K
11-15 years: $106K
16-20 years: $103K
>20 years : $106K
Average PA salary based on region:
Average PA salary based on practice setting:
Walk-in Ambulatory Care: $102K
Office practice: $96K
Average PA salary based on location:
- Family physician compensation report: 2013. Medscape website. http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2013/familymedicine.
- 2014 nurse practitioner & physician assistant salary survey. Clinical Advisor website. January 17, 2014. http://www.clinicaladvisor.com/2014-nurse-practitioner–physician-assistant-salary-survey/slideshow/1934/#0.
- U.S. News & World Report announces best jobs of 2014. U.S. News website. January 23, 2014. http://www.usnews.com/info/blogs/press-room/2014/01/23/us-news-announces-best-jobs-of-2014.