Physician Assistant Salary, Career and Job Outlook
The physician assistant field is growing faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Physician assistant job outlook is projected to increase 31% from 2020 to 2030, employing an estimated 169,500 people by 2030.
This is due to population growth, aging populations (especially the large Baby Boom generation), and an increase in patients with chronic conditions. Since physician assistants can be educated in less time than medical doctors, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increased demand for PAs.
What Do Physician Assistants Do?
PAs perform many of the same duties as doctors, but they must work under the supervision of a physician. This doesn’t mean they must be constantly working with a doctor, though. In fact, PAs frequently see patients by themselves and make many decisions regarding patients’ care.
According to the American Academy of PAs, a physician assistant is often a primary care provider and may perform important tasks such as:
- Examining patients
- Diagnosing conditions
- Ordering medical tests
- Prescribing medication
- Creating treatment plans
PAs can also specialize in a particular field of medicine like psychiatry, dermatology, pediatrics, or primary care.
Where Do Physician Assistants Work?
The American Academy of PAs (AAPA) reports that there are PAs in every medical setting. If you choose to become a physician assistant, you will likely be able to work in the environment and field of your choice.
Here is an overview of where physician assistants typically work:
|SETTING||PERCENTAGE OF PAs|
|Offices of physicians||53%|
|Hospitals, state, local, and private||26%|
|Outpatient care centers||8%|
|Educational services, state, local, and private||5%|
How Much Do Physician Assistants Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a physician assistant was $115,390 in 2020 (or about $55.48 per hour). Actual salaries vary by setting, geographic area, specialty, and other factors.
Salary by Setting
|SETTING||MEDIAN ANNUAL WAGE|
|Offices of physicians||$113,460|
|Hospitals, state, local, and private||$118,600|
|Outpatient care centers||$124,610|
|Educational services, state, local, and private||$118,600|
Salary by State
|District of Columbia||$114,330|