Aspiring Physician Assistants (PAs) are often drawn to this career path because of the potential for stability, job security, and earning potential. However, not all PA majors pay the same, and this can be important when deciding which field to pursue. Here's a detailed breakdown of physician assistant salaries by specialty, including some of the highest paying fields available.
Introduction: Understand the Importance of Physician Assistant Salary
Before diving into the details, it is important to understand the critical role that salaries play in the medical field. Financial compensation is directly related to job satisfaction, quality of life, and personal well-being for healthcare professionals such as PAs. Additionally, salaries can vary greatly between different specialties, and aspiring PAs should consider this carefully when choosing what to practice.
It's also important to note that physician assistant salaries can be affected by factors such as location, experience, and education level. For example, PAs working in urban areas may earn higher salaries than those in rural areas due to the higher cost of living. Likewise, PAs with more years of experience or higher degrees may have higher salaries. Aspiring PAs should consider these factors when deciding where to work and how to advance their careers.
Overview of Medical assistant specialties
Becoming a physician assistant requires a degree from an accredited program and state licensure. PA courses include courses in family medicine, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and patient care. After graduation, PAs can specialize in a particular discipline, such as cardiology, dermatology, or emergency medicine. Each specialty offers unique challenges, rewards and perks.
A popular specialty for medical assistants is pediatrics. Pediatric PAs work with children from infancy through adolescence and provide routine exams, vaccinations and treatment for common childhood illnesses. They also work closely with pediatricians to treat chronic conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, and to support families.
Another growing specialty for physician assistants is telemedicine. PAs who work in telemedicine provide virtual care to patients via video conference or phone call. This gives patients in remote or disadvantaged areas access to medical care without having to travel long distances. Telemedicine PAs can work in a variety of specialties, including primary care, mental health, and dermatology.
Highest Paying Physician Assistant Specialties
While it is true that every PA specialty has the potential to earn a steady and reliable income, some fields offer higher salaries due to demand or specialized skills and knowledge. Below are some of the most lucrative physician assistant specialties in terms of compensation:
One of the highest paying physician assistant specialties is dermatology. PAs in this field can earn an average salary of $120,000 per year. This is due to the high demand for dermatology services as well as the specialized knowledge and skills required to diagnose and treat skin conditions.
Another high-paying specialty for PAs is cardiology. PAs in this field can earn an average salary of $115,000 per year. Cardiologists work closely with cardiologists to diagnose and treat heart disease, and their expertise in this area is highly valued.
Cardiology: High paying specialty for medical assistants
Cardiology is an excellent field of study for PAs interested in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. In terms of salary, cardiology PAs can expect to earn an average of $123,500 per year.
In addition to a high salary, working in cardiology as a PA can also provide a sense of satisfaction as you help patients manage and improve their heart health. Cardiology PAs can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They may also have the opportunity to work with other healthcare professionals, such as cardiologists, nurses and technicians, to provide comprehensive patient care.
Dermatology: a lucrative field for medical assistants
Dermatology involves the treatment of skin-related problems and diseases, making it an attractive specialty for those who enjoy working with patients with visible and tangible problems. PAs in dermatology earn an average of $120,000 per year.
In addition to financial benefits, working in dermatology also offers a wide range of cases and treatments. PAs in dermatology can diagnose and treat a variety of skin conditions, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer. They can also perform procedures such as biopsies, cryotherapy and excisions.
In addition, dermatology is a field that is constantly evolving with new research and technology. Dermatologists have the opportunity to stay abreast of the latest developments and incorporate them into their practice, providing the best possible care for their patients.
Emergency medicine: an in-demand, well-paid specialty for physician assistants
Emergency medicine PAs help doctors treat acutely ill or injured patients in hospital emergency rooms. The fast-paced and demanding nature of the work can be stressful, but rewarding given the potential for high income. PAs in emergency rooms earn an average of $116,000 per year.
Emergency medicine PAs are in high demand due to the increasing number of patients seeking emergency care. This demand is expected to continue to grow, making it a solid career choice for those interested in the industry. In addition, emergency physicians often work as a team and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide the best possible care to patients.
Although the work can be challenging, emergency physicians find it to be a very rewarding career. They have the ability to have a significant impact on patients' lives, often providing life-saving interventions in critical situations. The fast-paced nature of the job also helps ER PAs stay sharp, constantly learning and growing in their profession.
Gastroenterology: A well-compensated specialty for physician assistants
Gastroenterology focuses on the evaluation and treatment of disorders of the digestive system. PAs working in this specialty can expect to earn an average annual salary of $114,000.
One of the reasons gastroenterology is a well-compensated specialty for PAs is because of the high demand for healthcare professionals in this field. Digestive disorders are common and the aging population is more prone to these disorders. As a result, there is a growing need for PAs specializing in gastroenterology to provide quality patient care.
In addition, PAs working in gastroenterology have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. This ensures flexibility in relation to work-life balance and career progression. Additionally, PAs in this specialty often work with gastroenterologists, providing opportunities for mentorship and professional development.
Neurology: A specialty with good earning potential for medical assistants
Neurology is a branch of medicine that deals with the nervous system, and PAs in this field can have a variety of roles, from evaluating patients to prescribing medications. Those who choose neurology as a specialty enjoy an average annual income of $112,000.
Orthopedics: A popular and well-paid specialty for medical assistants
Orthopedics is another popular field for PAs dealing with musculoskeletal problems and injuries. PAs who practice orthopedics can earn an average of $110,000 per year.
Pediatrics: A rewarding but moderately paid specialty for medical assistants
Pediatrics deals with the medical care of children, providing an important and rewarding path for those who enjoy working with babies and young children. Pediatric PAs can expect a modest average salary of $99,000 per year.
Psychiatry: A sought-after and well-paid specialty for medical assistants
Psychiatrists diagnose and treat people dealing with mental health issues, and PAs in this field can have a wide variety of duties. With the growing demand for mental health services, psychiatric PAs can expect to earn an average of $115,000 per year.
Radiology: A specialized field with high earning potential for medical assistants
Radiologist PAs assist radiologists with diagnostic procedures and interpretation of medical images. With an average annual salary of $115,000, radiology can be a valuable and lucrative specialty for PAs.
Surgery: The highest paying specialty for physician assistants
Finally, it's no surprise that surgery is one of the highest paying specialties for PAs. Surgical PAs work with surgeons in the operating room, performing surgical procedures and providing patient care. Surgical PAs have the highest earning potential of any specialty. they can earn an average of $123,000 per year.
Factors Affecting Multispecialty Physician Assistant Salary
Several factors affect a PA's salary, including location, years of experience, and specific employer. The size of the practice or medical facility also has an impact, as does the demand for the specialty. PAs moving to high-wage areas or working in high-demand specialties should expect higher salary offers.
Job prospects and employment opportunities in various PA subjects
In addition to salary, current and future job opportunities are critical factors for PAs. Some majors have more demand and growth opportunities than others. Fields such as emergency medicine and psychiatry are likely to see significant increases in demand over the next decade.
Conclusion: Choosing a PA specialty based on salary and personal preferences
Ultimately, the decision to pursue a particular PA specialty depends on many personal factors that go along with salary considerations, including interests, strengths, and career goals. While the compensation for the highest paying majors is impressive, pursuing a major based solely on earning potential may not be the best path for everyone. PAs should carefully weigh factors such as their passion for the medical field, work-life balance, and long-term career prospects before making a specialty decision.
Physician Assistant Salary by Specialty: Which PA Specialties Pay the Most? | Leland? ›
The highest-paying PA specialty is cardiovascular/cardiothoracic surgery. The median salary for this specialty is $147,200 for an average of eight years of experience. Here are some other high-paying PA specialties and their annual salary: Dermatology: $146,000.Can I make 200k as a PA? ›
How Much Does a Physician Assistant Make Per Year? Most PAs are paid an annual salary. The typical PA salary can also vary by specialty. For example, PAs with an emergency medicine specialty earn more than $200,000 per year on average.What is the most common specialty for PAs? ›
- Family medicine.
- General practice.
- Internal medicine.
- Obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN)
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that physician assistants made a median annual salary of $121,530 in 2021.How much does a surgical physician assistant earn in PA? ›
The average Physician Assistant - Surgical salary in Pennsylvania is $126,632 as of May 01, 2023, but the range typically falls between $112,096 and $139,363.What is top 1% income on PA? ›
Bring in at least $384,447 in yearly income, and you'll be among the top 1 percent of earners in Pennsylvania, according to a Wall St.How can a PA maximize salary? ›
Locum tenens is a particularly attractive option for PAs looking to earn more. Since many PAs tend to work fewer hours in a week (40 hours is the median) than their physician counterparts, they can pick up extra shifts through locum tenens when they're off work from their regular job.Which PA specialty has the highest satisfaction? ›
The report finds 70.5 percent of PAs to be completely or mostly satisfied with their jobs—plastic surgery at 78.7 percent, and dermatology at 76.7 percent are highest, followed closely by both otolaryngology and obstetrics and gynecology at 75.4 percent, and in the 74 percent range, it's general pediatrics, orthopedic ...Which physician assistant specialties have the lowest burnout? ›
Certified PAs working in dermatology reported the lowest rate of burnout (20.3%).What is the best specialty to work as a physician assistant? ›
Physician assistants work in specialties like family medicine, surgery, and emergency care. With high salaries and strong demand, PAs face a positive job outlook. The highest-paying PA specialties include surgery, OB-GYN, and occupational medicine.
Is being a PA financially worth it? ›
Physician assistant jobs pay well compared to other jobs because of the advanced skills PAs develop through their education and vital role in the health care system. Physician assistants are in high demand, and the BLS predicts the market for PAs will grow by 31% between now and 2030.What is a decent salary in PA? ›
$26,093 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $42,738 is the 75th percentile.How much does a PA with residency make? ›
PA fellowship and residency stipends range from $50,000-80,000 per year and average program length is 12 months (1). In comparison, the average starting salary of a recently certified PA in 2021 was $100,961 (4). A PA choosing to pursue postgraduate training accepts an opportunity cost in salary of $20,000-$50,000.How much does a PA get paid starting? ›
How much does an Entry Level Physician Assistant make in the United States? The average Entry Level Physician Assistant salary in the United States is $106,160 as of May 01, 2023, but the salary range typically falls between $98,687 and $114,010.How much does a surgical first assistant get paid in PA? ›
$56,235 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $95,374 is the 75th percentile.What is upper class in PA? ›
|Annual Salary||Monthly Pay|
If you make $100,000 a year living in the region of Pennsylvania, USA, you will be taxed $25,548. That means that your net pay will be $74,452 per year, or $6,204 per month. Your average tax rate is 25.6% and your marginal tax rate is 34.4%.What is considered middle income in PA? ›
Their analysis used data from the Census Bureau's 2021 American Community Survey to determine the following middle class income ranges: In the New York/Newark/Jersey City, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania metro area, families making between $56,000 and $169,000 are considered middle class.How much do PA's make in private practice? ›
Private Practice pays Physician Assistants $158,142 per year on average. This is 33% more than the national average salary for Physician Assistants. Physician Assistants make $118,812 per year on average, or $57.12 per hour, in the United States.What is the career growth as a PA? ›
|Quick Facts: Physician Assistants|
|Number of Jobs, 2021||139,100|
|Job Outlook, 2021-31||28% (Much faster than average)|
|Employment Change, 2021-31||38,400|
How much do emergency room PA's make? ›
Emergency medicine, physician assistant salaries typically range between $90,000 and $272,000 a year. The average hourly rate for emergency medicines, physician assistant is $75.55 per hour. Location, education, and experience impacts how much an emergency medicine, physician assistant can expect to make.What is the least stressful PA specialties? ›
The reverse trends also seemed to be true — pediatric subspecialty PAs has the lowest rates of burnout as well as the lowest rates of professional fulfillment (50.6%) and exhaustion (39.3%).What is the hardest part of PA program? ›
Most PA students report that the first year, or didactic year, is the most challenging. During the first year, students are required to learn and remember a lot of new information.What is the highest degree a PA needs? ›
Physician assistants need a master's degree and patient care experience. After graduating with a master's degree, aspiring physician assistants must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and meet any additional state-specific requirements for licensure to practice.Which three PA subspecialties have the highest salaries? ›
1. What Is the Highest-Paying PA Specialty?
- Dermatology: $146,000.
- Emergency medicine: $129,146.
- Surgical subspecialties: $127,775.
It is relatively easy for PAs to change specialties because of our broad education and general certification process. Other medical professions, such as NPs and MDs, require specialized certifications for each field of medicine.What is the lowest paid physician assistant? ›
How Much Does a Physician Assistant Make? Physician Assistants made a median salary of $121,530 in 2021. The best-paid 25% made $131,740 that year, while the lowest-paid 25% made $99,880.Do PAs have good work-life balance? ›
The PA profession embodies the possibilities of successful work-life balance. Career flexibility is a hallmark of the profession and highly valued by PAs.Is PA a better career than MD? ›
Physician Assistants have consistently high levels of job satisfaction, job stability, and work-life balance, while spending less time and money on school and having more opportunities to switch specializations than their MD colleagues.Are physician assistants happy with their job? ›
Physician assistants rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.7/5. The majority of physician assistants find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.
What is the biggest challenge facing physician assistants? ›
- PAs Asked to Do More. ...
- Move Past Traditions and Fear. ...
- PAs Are 'Everybody' Now. ...
- The State of PAs at Work. ...
- PAs Want Work Time with Patients.
Average debt of graduates (2019-20)
The average debt load of a Pennsylvania college graduate during the same timeframe was $39,375. In Pennsylvania, 22 percent of college graduates had private student loan debt, with an average total of $42,361.
When will PAs retire? More than one in every seven PAs in the United States are age 55 and older, with a majority of PAs predicting they will retire by age 65. As one would assume, PAs nearing retirement are more confident in their expected age of retirement and in their preparation for retirement than those under 55.Are PAs more respected than NPs? ›
Is NP higher than PA? Neither profession ranks "higher" than the other. Both NPs and PAs work in the healthcare field but with different qualifications, educational backgrounds, and responsibilities. They also work in different specialties.What is the career outlook for PAs? ›
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 27.6% employment growth for physician assistants between 2021 and 2031. In that period, an estimated 38,400 jobs should open up. Physician assistants, also known as physician associates, are ubiquitous in the medical world.Where do dermatology PAs make the most money? ›
How much does a Dermatology Pa make? The average Dermatology Pa in the US makes $159,139. Dermatology Pas make the most in San Francisco, CA at $239,291, averaging total compensation 50% greater than the US average.Can you make 200k as a PA? ›
How Much Does a Physician Assistant Make Per Year? Most PAs are paid an annual salary. The typical PA salary can also vary by specialty. For example, PAs with an emergency medicine specialty earn more than $200,000 per year on average.What salary is considered upper class? ›
Annual / Monthly / Weekly / Hourly Converter
If you make $75,000 per year, your hourly salary would be $37.96.
This is 218% of the US median salary.
A salary of $120,381 per/yr. equates to an average physician assistant pay of $10,017/month, $2,313/week, and an hourly wage of $57.74/hr. The highest-paid PAs are those working in dermatology ($129,246) and critical care medicine ($125,522).
Is it worth it to do a PA residency? ›
Benefits of a Physician Assistant Residency
One obvious benefit of a PA residency is enhancing your knowledge and skills. Programs often involve a lot of information and skills practice in a short period. The experience you gain in a PA residency program could take years to learn on the job.
- Versatility. PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality. ...
- Work/life balance. ...
- Competitive Salary. ...
- Length of school. ...
- Ability to give back to the community. ...
- Develop relationships with patients. ...
- Team-based care. ...
- Continuing education.
The average salary for a Physician Assistant is $139,499 per year in United States, which is 36% higher than the average U.S. Department of State salary of $101,947 per year for this job.How do I ask my physician assistant for a raise? ›
- Take stock of your value as a physician assistant. ...
- Understand the salary structure in the organization. ...
- What are other physician assistants paid in the area. ...
- List your accomplishments. ...
- Choose the right time to ask for a raise. ...
- Attend a specialization course.
While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $121,918 and as low as $27,893, the majority of Surgical Tech salaries currently range between $42,288 (25th percentile) to $74,680 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $104,822 annually in Pennsylvania.How much does a surgical coordinator earn in PA? ›
How much does a Surgical Coordinator make in Pennsylvania? As of May 13, 2023, the average annual pay for a Surgical Coordinator in Pennsylvania is $32,596 a year.What is the highest salary for a Surgical Assistant? ›
The best Surgical Assistant jobs can pay up to $250,000 per year. A surgical assistant helps a surgeon in the operating room. Surgical assistants assess the operating area, apply sutures, insert and remove intravenous (IV) tubes, dress surgical wounds, and transport patients to and from the operating room.What is a livable salary in PA? ›
|1 ADULT||2 ADULTS (BOTH WORKING)|
|0 Children||2 Children|
As of May 8, 2023, the average annual pay for the Upper Class jobs category in Pennsylvania is $51,500 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $24.76 an hour. This is the equivalent of $990/week or $4,291/month.What salary is considered middle class in PA? ›
Pew explains that a middle income equals an annual household income of $52,000 to $156,000 for a family of three, based on 2020 dollars.
What state pays PA the most? ›
However, annual compensation for the two professions never differs by more than a few thousand dollars on average. Alaska is the state where the highest-paid physician assistants are employed while Kentucky is the state where PAs earn the lowest salaries.Is 150K a good salary in PA? ›
While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $158,359 and as low as $54,436, the majority of 150K salaries currently range between $114,269 (25th percentile) to $134,964 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $143,062 annually in Pennsylvania.How much take home pay is 100k in PA? ›
If you make $100,000 a year living in the region of Pennsylvania, USA, you will be taxed $25,548. That means that your net pay will be $74,452 per year, or $6,204 per month. Your average tax rate is 25.6% and your marginal tax rate is 34.4%.Why being a PA is better than MD? ›
Physician Assistants have consistently high levels of job satisfaction, job stability, and work-life balance, while spending less time and money on school and having more opportunities to switch specializations than their MD colleagues.What is considered upper middle class? ›
Many have graduate degrees with educational attainment serving as the main distinguishing feature of this class. Household incomes commonly exceed $100,000, with some smaller one-income earners household having incomes in the high 5-figure range.What salary is considered middle class for a single person? ›
"Middle class" is defined by the PRC as those earning between two-thirds and twice the median American household income, which in 2021 was $70,784, according to the United States Census Bureau. That means American households earning between $47,189 to $141,568 are in the "middle class" as defined by the PRC.What net worth is middle class? ›
We can also define middle class in terms of net worth. According to the U.S. Census data, the average net worth for U.S. households in 2022 is about $300,000. The median net worth is about $110,000 in 2023. In other words, wealth is concentrated at the top.