How much does a Physician Assistant Earn?

The median annual wage for physician assistants was $108,610 in May 2018. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $69,120, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $151,850.

In May 2018, the median annual wages for physician assistants in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Outpatient care centers$115,560
Hospitals; state, local, and private111,540
Employment services109,890
Offices of physicians107,230
Educational services; state, local, and private102,870

Most physician assistants work full time. Some work more than 40 hours per week. Physician assistants may work nights, weekends, or holidays. They may also be on call, meaning that they must be ready to respond to a work request with little notice.

Career Outlook for Physician Assistants

Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Demand for healthcare services will increase because of the growing and aging population. Growth of the population means more need for healthcare services generally, and members of the large baby boom generation will require more medical care as they age. An increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, will also increase healthcare demand and, in turn, drive the need for healthcare providers including physician assistants who often provide preventive care and treat the sick. Furthermore, increases in incomes may improve access to healthcare services, and advances in medical technology will continue to increase the number and types of treatments available.

Physician assistants can provide many of the same services as physicians. PAs are expected to continue to have a growing role in providing healthcare services because they can be trained more quickly than physicians. Team-based healthcare provision models will continue to evolve and become more commonly used. Physician assistants will have growing roles in all areas of medicine as states expand allowable procedures and autonomy, and as insurance companies expand their coverage of physician assistant services.

Job Prospects

Good job prospects are expected in primary care and across all specialties, particularly for physician assistants working in rural and medically underserved areas.