In the intricate world of healthcare, Physician Assistants (PAs) have emerged as vital players, bridging the gap between doctors and patients.

As the healthcare landscape evolves, so do the roles and compensation of PAs.

They are responsible for diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medications, and providing patient care under the supervision of physicians.

If you're considering a career as a PA or are already on your journey, understanding PA salaries is crucial.

Although the average physician assistant salary in the US is $121,530 per annum, this figure can vary significantly depending on location, employer, experience level, etc.

In this guide, we'll break down the basics of PA salaries, dissecting the key factors that influence how much PAs earn.

We'll delve into regional variations, uncovering the top-paying states and revealing the impact of geography on your potential income.

Here’s what’s in store:

Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant Salary

Comparing Nurse Practitioner (NP) and Physician Assistant (PA) salaries can provide valuable insights into two distinct yet often overlapping healthcare professions.

Both NPs and PAs are highly skilled healthcare providers, but on average, NPs tend to earn slightly higher salaries than PAs, depending on factors like location, experience, and specialization.

Here's a brief overview of nurse practitioner vs. physician assistant salary:

  • Education and Training: While NPs typically hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, PAs complete a Master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

  • Specialization: NPs often choose specialties such as family practice, pediatrics, acute care, or psychiatric-mental health, which can influence their salaries. PAs also have specialization options, including surgical, emergency medicine, or primary care.

Also Read: How to make a stellar physician assistant resume?

Factors Affecting Physician Assistant Salary

As stated earlier, physician assistant salaries can vary significantly due to several factors that influence their earning potential.

Understanding these factors is crucial for both aspiring PAs and those already in the profession.

Here are the key factors affecting Physician Assistant salary:


Geographic location is one of the most significant determinants of PA salaries.

PAs working in urban areas or states with a high cost of living generally earn higher salaries than those in rural or less expensive regions.

This difference can be substantial, and it reflects the local demand for healthcare services.

Given below are the best-paying cities and states for physician assistants:

Portsmouth, New Hampshire $167,240
Panama City, Florida $165,000
San Francisco, California $164,150
San Jose, California $163,720
Vallejo, California $162,030
Rhode Island, RI $146,880
Alaska, AK $145,830
Connecticut, CT $141,790
New Jersey, NJ $140,080
New Hampshire, NH $137,330

Also Read: How to write a compelling physician assistant cover letter?

Experience Level

As with most professions, experience plays a vital role in PA salary.

Entry-level PAs will typically earn less than their more experienced counterparts.

Salaries tend to increase with each year of experience, and PAs with several years in the field often earn significantly more.

On average, the best-paid 25% of physical assistants with 10+ years of experience make $131,740, while the lowest-paid 25% make $99,880.

Also Read: How to land the best medical assistant jobs in 2023?

Work Setting and Employer

PAs can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, private practices, clinics, and academic institutions.

The type of setting can affect salary; for instance, PAs in hospitals may earn more than those in outpatient clinics.

Some of the top companies offering higher average physical assistant salaries are:

MY DR NOW $147,959
Daiya Healthcare $130,582
WorkFit Medical $124,326
Comprehensive Rehab Consultants $121,626
Loyal Source $108,979
Center For Emotional Health $102,501
Doctors Urgent Care Group $101,932
Hiration pro tip:
It's essential for PAs to consider these factors when making career decisions and negotiating their compensation packages to ensure they are fairly compensated for their skills and expertise.

Also Read: How to get a job with Medtronic?

Specialization and Skills

PAs can choose to specialize in various medical fields, such as surgery, emergency medicine, dermatology, or primary care.

The choice of specialization can have a substantial impact on salary, as some specialties are in higher demand and command higher pay.

For instance, physical assistants with specialization in neurology earn +21.37% higher salary than their counterparts.

Additionally, physician assistants with DEA Certification earn +21.78% more than the average base salary, which is $120,450 per year.

Also Read: What are the different United healthcare career options?

Tips for Negotiating a Higher Physician Assistant Salary

Negotiating a higher Physician Assistant (PA) salary can significantly impact your financial well-being and job satisfaction.

Here are five tips to help you successfully negotiate a better PA salary:

  • Research Salary Benchmarks: Before entering negotiations, research salary benchmarks for PAs in your region and specialty. Websites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salary surveys by professional organizations, and online job boards can provide valuable salary data. This information will give you a realistic salary range to aim for.

  • Highlight Your Unique Qualifications: During negotiations, emphasize your qualifications, skills, and experience that make you a valuable asset to the organization. Discuss any specialized certifications, relevant training, or advanced degrees that set you apart. Explain how your expertise can benefit the practice or institution.

  • Practice Effective Communication: Approach negotiations with confidence, but remain professional and respectful. Clearly articulate your reasons for seeking a higher salary. Be prepared to discuss your responsibilities, achievements, and how your contributions align with the employer's goals. Practice your negotiation pitch to ensure you convey your points effectively.

  • Consider the Entire Compensation Package: Remember that salary negotiations are not just about base pay. Evaluate the entire compensation package, including benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and bonuses. Sometimes, improvements in these areas can compensate for a slightly lower base salary.

  • Be Prepared to Walk Away: While negotiating for a higher salary, be prepared to stand your ground if necessary. If the offer does not meet your expectations or align with the market rate, politely express your concerns and provide a counteroffer. Be open to compromise, but also be willing to walk away if the terms are not favorable.

Hiration pro tip:
Timing is crucial in negotiations. Consider discussing salary after receiving a job offer but before accepting it. This allows you to negotiate from a stronger position, as the employer has already expressed interest in hiring you.

Also Read: How to get med tech jobs in 2023?

FAQs Related to Physician Assistant Salary

What is an orthopedic physician assistant's salary?

The median orthopedic physician assistant salary ranges between $104,000 and $344,000 in the US.

How much does a physician assistant make an hour?

The median hourly pay for a Physician Assistant in the United States ranges from $52 to $62 with the average hourly pay of $56.

How much does a PA make in LA?

In the Los Angeles, CA area, the projected annual earnings for a Physician Assistant amount to approximately $130,744, with an annual mean salary averaging around $124,670.

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