More than 95% of physician assistants expect their salaries to remain the same or increase next year, according to The Clinical Advisor’s 2014 Nurse Practitioner & Physician Assistant Salary Survey.
Their optimism is not without merit. The physician assistant job outlook looks promising. A recent report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics included physician assistants on its list of fastest growing occupations, predicting that between 2012 and 2022 physician assistant jobs will grow 38%. The Clinical Advisor collected responses from more than 1,100 PAs to compile its salary survey and found that the average annual PA salary is 100,497. The survey also showed that 50.5% of respondents earned more than the previous year, and 35.8% earned the same salary. Here are some of the highlights.
Highest earning specialty: Emergency Medicine
Emergency medicine physician assistant jobs appear to be the most lucrative, netting those PAs an average of $113,393 annually. Orthopedic Surgery was not far behind with an average salary of $108,878, followed by Urgent Care and Cardiology PAs who earned $103,865 and $102,000, respectively. Despite being the most common practice area, family medicine physician assistants reported the lowest average salary, $93,872 per year.
Highest earning practice setting: Hospital
Not only was hospital the highest earning practice setting, earning $109,058 annually, it was also the most popular, with 23.1% working there. Only 4% of respondents work at walk-in clinics or ambulatory care locations, yet those PAs earn the second-highest salary, $102,000. Hospital based clinics, standalone clinics, and office practices rounded out the top five earning settings with $101,952, $96,447, and $96,179, respectively.
Highest earning metro region: Urban
Physician assistants working in urban locations earn an average of $102,437 annually, while PAs working in suburban and rural regions earned $100,601 and $96,280 respectively. Not only do rural-based PAs earn less than other PAs, there are also far fewer of them. More than 80% of PAs work in either an urban or suburban region, while only 19.4% work in rural regions.
Highest earning region: West
hysician assistants working west of the continental divide reported the highest average salary, $101,883. However, geographic region seems to be the least significant factor when it comes to salary. The difference between the highest earning region and the lowest, the northeast, was less than $2,500. With this information, we can surmise that the most lucrative physician assistant job is an emergency department position at an urban hospital in the western region. The least lucrative PA job is a family medicine position at an office in the rural northeast.
What do you think? Does that ring true?