Physician Assistant Salary

The Physician Assistant profession has become one of the most popular occupations in  recent years in America. In the next decade or so, this profession is predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be the second fastest growing health profession; given that it grows at expected 39 percent in the coming years. It is totally worth mentioning that an increase in jobs in this profession is accompanied by an increase in the   Physician Assistant salary as well. Getting into this profession not only opens up your endless opportunities in the health care sector, but it generally also provides you with better salaries than other health care workers. It is, however, important to know that the Physician Assistant salary depends on a number of different factors which will be discussed further on in this article. Let’s look at some numbers first to make sense of everything that is being said here:

The median annual salary earned by full-time Physician Assistants in 2010 was about $90,000. The top 10%, hitting the higher Physician Assistant salary bracket, received an annual salary of $125,000 followed by the bottom 10% with about $71,000.

Physician Assistant Salary
Median Pay$90,000
Higher 10% $125,000
Lower 10% $71,000

Please note that a full-time employee works about 32 hours or more per week. Any employee that works less than that is considered to be a part-time employee.  Also, all of the Physician Assistant salaries given in this article are median values in USD unless otherwise stated.

It is important to bring to your attention that not all Physician Assistants receive annual salaries. Whether a Physician Assistant salary is annual based or an hourly wage, is solely upon the discretion of his/her employer. According to the recent statistics, a Physician Assistant makes about an average of $42/hour.

Although it is up to the employer to hire a  Physician Assistant based on an annual salary or an hourly wage, it is noted from the table (on the right) that about 90.8% of full-time employees receive annual salaries as compared to 66% who receive hourly pays. A higher contrast is seen in part-time employment where a much higher percentage of about 32% receive hourly pay, while only 7.2% receive annual salaries.

Annual Salary90.8%7.2%2%
Hourly Pay66%32%2%

In most professions, it may be wrong to correlate the amount of income earned to job satisfaction, but in this case, it has been proven to be true. It is very interesting to see that the Physician Assistant profession not only comes with a higher pay than most other jobs, but also has a very high rate of job satisfaction.


Looking at the above chart, it is evident that a large number (66%) of Physician Assistants are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their jobs. Only about 27% are dissatisfied with their jobs along with 7% who are neutral.

Bonus: Check out the following video which gives a good overview of the Physician Assistant profession:

Coming back to the factors affecting the Physician Assistant salary, it is important to know that although there could be other factors affecting your ability to make as much as stated in this article, the three main factors that make a huge difference are as follows:

Specialization:   A specialized Physician Assistant earns a higher salary than someone who is not (Read more on   how to become a Physician Assistant here). From the below table, it is clear that specialized Physician Assistant salary comes in the higher end of the pay bracket which is usually a six figure salary or something very close to it. The areas of specialty for the highest paid Physician Assistants are usually the Cardiovascualar Surgery and Dermatology. Physician Assistants in the other areas of speciality such as General Surgery or  Surgical Subspecialities also make a good amount of money. Check out the article on the  Physician Assistant programs for more details.

Physician Assistant Salary
Cardiovascular Surgery$115,000
Emergency Medicine$101,000
Surgical Subspecialties$97,000
General Surgery$92,000
Pediatric Subspecialties$88,000
Internal Medicine Subspecialties$87,200
Primary Care$85,000
Other Specialties$90,000

Experience:   Experience is probably one of the most important deciding factors in the Physician Assistant salary. The more the experience a physician assistant has, the better their expertise in that field and the less the need for supervision. Statistics clearly indicate a direct relationship between the experience gained by a physician assistant and their salary(References:  Physician Assistant Salary and AAPA).

0 years$80,000
5 years$91,000
10 years$100,000

Location:    The work location plays a vital role in deciding Physician Assistant salary. It is more likely for someone working in larger urban areas to earn more than someone who works in rural areas. Six figure salaries are often seen in states like Alaska, California and Nevada to name a few. Check out the following table to find out more about the Physician Assistant salary in different states:

Physician Assistant Salary by State

Good Negotiation Skills:  Last but not least, good negotiation skills are very important in order to land a physician assistants job with an above average pay. Make sure that you do enough research about average salaries and benefits in your area of specialization before signing the contract and taking up the job. Research well about the average Physician Assistant salary based on your specialty, state and years of experience. Consider using the helpful stats provided on this website in order to help you make an informed decision.