- Physician assistants (PAs) earned on average $104,000 in 2016, up from $102,000 in 2015 and $98,000 the previous year, according to a new report from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
- PAs making the highest salaries are in specialties like dermatology, emergency medicine, critical care medicine, radiology and surgical subspecialties.
- “The profession is young and the demand for well-qualified providers is expanding,” NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias told Forbes. “Certified PAs contribute greatly to the value-based care model and offer a solution to the nation’s need to provide access to care at a sustainable cost.”
With physicians facing increasing regulatory and administrative burdens around various healthcare reforms, PAs and nurses can help alleviate burnout by taking on some of the documentation themselves. They can also help to improve patients' experience and engagement by adding another level of professional care.
But healthcare jobs could take a hit if President Donald Trump fulfills his campaign promise of repealing the Affordable Care Act, a New York Times analysis released earlier this year showed. Since the economic downturn in 2007, 35% of U.S. job growth has been in healthcare — much of that in non-patient care areas, the NYT added.
That could actually be good news for physician assistants. With their ability to enhance care quality and increase efficiencies, future reforms aimed at further reducing costs could make the role more indispensable for hospitals and medical practices. PAs were No. 7 on Glassdoor’s 2017 list of 25 highest paying jobs in America, with a media base salary of $112,529.
While PAs in specialized medicine are among the highest earners, those in primary care also do well, NCCPA's survey of 109,000 PAs revealed. PAs working in hospital medicine average $105,000 annually, and those in internal medicine average $95,000. The lowest paid fields are gynecology, obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics, at about $85,000 a year, according to the NCCPA report.