How Much Do Physician Assistants Make?

9 Min Read Published August 24, 2023
Physician assistant salary

How Much Does a Physician Assistant Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2021 the average annual salary for Physician Assistants (PA) is $121,530 or $58.43 per hour. 

The lowest 10 percent earned less than $77,940, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $164,620. 

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Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Grand Canyon University
GCU’s RN-BSN program is tailored to meet the needs of the RN adult learner and to maximize the strengths that the working RN already possesses. Transfer up to 90 credits and earn a BSN in as little as 12 months. GCU’s online classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying a close connection with your classmates and instructor via online discussions.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

The University of Scranton

The University of Scranton offers multiple online degrees in the growing healthcare industry. The comprehensive coursework is based on real-world scenarios and is equally rigorous and rewarding. The return on investment will be as big as the change you can make in a variety of healthcare leadership roles!

Accreditation
Multiple
Location
Online

Enrollment: Nationwide

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Physician Assistant Salary by State

State

Annual Salary

Hourly Wage

New York

$125,125

$60.16

New Hampshire

$116,295

$55.91

Vermont

$114,688

$55.14

Maine

$113,602

$54.62

Hawaii

$110,301

$53.03

Massachusetts

$110,289

$53.02

Nevada

$109,609

$52.70

Arizona

$109,606

$52.70

Wyoming

$109,309

$52.55

Tennessee

$109,092

$52.45

Washington

$108,050

$51.95

New Jersey

$107,603

$51.73

Connecticut

$105,909

$50.92

Indiana

$105,831

$50.88

West Virginia

$105,438

$50.69

Montana

$104,675

$50.32

Minnesota

$104,624

$50.30

Alaska

$104,387

$50.19

Rhode Island

$104,362

$50.17

Oregon

$104,189

$50.09

Pennsylvania

$102,930

$49.49

North Dakota

$101,883

$48.98

Maryland

$101,421

$48.76

Idaho

$99,740

$47.95

Wisconsin

$99,531

$47.85

Virginia

$98,840

$47.52

Ohio

$98,793

$47.50

California

$98,213

$47.22

South Dakota

$97,702

$46.97

Iowa

$97,164

$46.71

Utah

$96,921

$46.60

Colorado

$96,194

$46.25

Kentucky

$95,741

$46.03

Delaware

$95,601

$45.96

Alabama

$95,474

$45.90

Nebraska

$95,414

$45.87

New Mexico

$94,297

$45.34

South Carolina

$94,144

$45.26

Kansas

$92,498

$44.47

Oklahoma

$91,170

$43.83

Arkansas

$91,080

$43.79

Mississippi

$90,745

$43.63

Florida

$89,926

$43.23

Illinois

$89,808

$43.18

Michigan

$89,704

$43.13

Missouri

$88,787

$42.69

Texas

$88,377

$42.49

Georgia

$87,836

$42.23

Louisiana

$83,764

$40.27

North Carolina

$78,886

$37.93

Via ZipRecruiter 

Physician Assistant Salary by Years of Experience

As of 2023, physician assistants earn the following salaries by years of experience, according to Payscale.

  • Less than 1 years of experience earn an average annual salary of $94,476
  • 1-4 years of experience earn an average annual salary of $100,110
  • 5-9 years of experience earns an average annual salary of $110,864
  • 10-19 years of experience earns an average annual salary of $116,390
  • 20+ years of experience earns an average annual salary of $120,981

Physician Assistant Salary by Work Setting

According to the BLS, as of May 2021, the median annual wages for Physician Assistants in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

  • Outpatient care centers: $128,430
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private: $127,240
  • Offices of physicians: $121,010
  • Government: $106,910
  • Educational services; state, local, and private: $101,040

Popular Online Healthcare Leadership Programs

Sponsored
Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Grand Canyon University
GCU’s RN-BSN program is tailored to meet the needs of the RN adult learner and to maximize the strengths that the working RN already possesses. Transfer up to 90 credits and earn a BSN in as little as 12 months. GCU’s online classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying a close connection with your classmates and instructor via online discussions.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

The University of Scranton

The University of Scranton offers multiple online degrees in the growing healthcare industry. The comprehensive coursework is based on real-world scenarios and is equally rigorous and rewarding. The return on investment will be as big as the change you can make in a variety of healthcare leadership roles!

Accreditation
Multiple
Location
Online

Enrollment: Nationwide

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

How to Make More Money as a Physician Assistant 

Negotiation

PA positions are typically salary-based, which is an indicator that negotiation can be essential in earning a higher salary. 

Overtime

Physician Assistants who work overtime are entitled to increased pay for their additional work hours. Generally, this is considered time and a half pay.  In most cases, this means working over 40 hours a week. 

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that all "non-exempt" employees receive overtime pay equal to one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for every hour over 40 hours worked during a work week. 

Per diem or Contract Employment

Per diem and contract employees earn a higher wage than staff members. They are paid a premium for working less desirable shifts and having shifts canceled at any given time. Per diem employees are not offered guaranteed hours so remember that a paycheck most likely will not be consistent. 

Hazard Pay

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, hazard pay means “additional pay for performing a hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship.” It may also include work duty that causes “extreme physical discomfort and distress.” 

Is Becoming a Physician Assistant Worth it?

Becoming a PA is a very in-demand career. According to the BLS, there is a projected growth of 28% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

About 12,700 openings for physician assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. According to U.S. News & World Report, PAs rank #2 in Best Health Care Jobs, #4 in 100 Best Jobs, and #4 in Best STEM Jobs.

Registered Nurse

Registered Nurses (RNs) average annual salary is $77,600 as of May 2021, according to the  BLS. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $59,450, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $120,250.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) average annual salary is $120,680 as of May 2021, according to the  BLS. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $79,870, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $200,540. 

Nurse Midwives

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) average annual salary is $112,830 as of May 2021, according to the BLS. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $79,870, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $200,540. 

Physician Assistant FAQs 

  • What is the highest-paid PA salary?

    • According to the BLS, PAs who work in outpatient care centers can earn the highest average annual salary of $128,430 per year. 
  • Can a PA make 6 figures?

    • It is very common for PAs to earn 6 figures, but it depends on the state and work setting. Historically, jobs in education will pay less than in hospitals. Additionally, the North East and West coasts pay more than the Southern states. ZipRecruiter also reports the average annual salary for PAs is $111,371 or $54 an hour. 
  • Is a PA just as good as a doctor?

    • While PAs do independently treat patients, they are not at the same educational level as Medical Doctors (MD). The training is different and as a result, the salary is reflective of this. 
  • Is being a PA a stressful job?

    • Being a PA can be a very stressful job, depending on the work environment. Some PAs work in trauma, the ER, and even surgery, where they constantly have patients’ lives in their hands. Like most other healthcare professionals, being a PA is stressful but also rewarding. 

 

Popular Online Healthcare Leadership Programs

Sponsored
Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Grand Canyon University
GCU’s RN-BSN program is tailored to meet the needs of the RN adult learner and to maximize the strengths that the working RN already possesses. Transfer up to 90 credits and earn a BSN in as little as 12 months. GCU’s online classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying a close connection with your classmates and instructor via online discussions.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

The University of Scranton

The University of Scranton offers multiple online degrees in the growing healthcare industry. The comprehensive coursework is based on real-world scenarios and is equally rigorous and rewarding. The return on investment will be as big as the change you can make in a variety of healthcare leadership roles!

Accreditation
Multiple
Location
Online

Enrollment: Nationwide

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Kathleen Gaines
MSN, RN, BA, CBC
Kathleen Gaines
News and Education Editor

Kathleen Gaines (nee Colduvell) is a nationally published writer turned Pediatric ICU nurse from Philadelphia with over 13 years of ICU experience. She has an extensive ICU background having formerly worked in the CICU and NICU at several major hospitals in the Philadelphia region. After earning her MSN in Education from Loyola University of New Orleans, she currently also teaches for several prominent Universities making sure the next generation is ready for the bedside. As a certified breastfeeding counselor and trauma certified nurse, she is always ready for the next nursing challenge.

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