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 2018 to 2028, employing an estimated 155,700 people by 2028.

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 55%
Hospitals, state, local, and private 26%
Outpatient care centers 8%
Educational services, state, local, and private 3%
Employment services 2%

How Much Do Physician Assistants Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a physician assistant was $108,610 in 2018 (or about $52.22 per hour). Actual salaries vary by setting, geographic area, specialty, and other factors.

Salary by Setting

SETTING MEDIAN ANNUAL WAGE
Offices of physicians $107,230
Hospitals, state, local, and private $111,540
Outpatient care centers $115,560
Educational services, state, local, and private $102,870
Employment services $109,890

Salary by State

STATE AVERAGE SALARY
Alabama $92,880
Alaska $122,260
Arizona $101,590
Arkansas $99,280
California $117,230
Colorado $102,770
Connecticut $125,610
Delaware $105,300
District of Columbia $114,740
Florida $105,930
Georgia $103,190
Hawaii $121,120
Idaho $109,090
Illinois $108,260
Indiana $96,090
Iowa $110,550
Kansas $104,720
Kentucky $91,010
Louisiana $85,990
Maine $110,030
Maryland $108,180
Massachusetts $108,700
Michigan $110,240
Minnesota $116,200
Mississippi $81,130
Missouri $94,480
Montana $106,130
Nebraska $106,700
Nevada $116,850
New Hampshire $111,080
New Jersey $116,270
New Mexico $108,610
New York $117,000
North Carolina $104,680
North Dakota $107,340
Ohio $105,410
Oklahoma $104,200
Oregon $113,570
Pennsylvania $98,510
Puerto Rico $30,200
Rhode Island $103,710
South Carolina $103,710
South Dakota $102,830
Tennessee $87,700
Texas $109,590
Utah $102,710
Vermont $106,520
Virginia $99,340
Washington $123,980
West Virginia $104,180
Wisconsin $107,920
Wyoming $116,890
AVERAGE SALARY