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Physician Assistant Salary by State is on the Rise

The average physician assistant salary by state is on the rise. In 2010, the full time physician assistant pay rose by approximately $3,800. Statistics also reveal that physician assistant salaries were higher than the salaries of nurse practitioners.

You will be surprised to know that mental health physician assistants topped the salary table in 2010 at $116,758. Elementary or Secondary School assistants were a close second at $115,000, while cardiology assistants came in third at $109,030. The lowest salary was reported from the Diabetes practice at $69,000. Here are the top 10 highest-paying practice settings (source: National Salary Survey Report 2010 as published in Advance For NPs & PAs, August 2011 issue):

Practice Setting

  • Mental health – $116,758
  • Elementary or secondary school – $115,000
  • Cardiology practice – $109,030
  • Aesthetics/dermatology practice – $107,727
  • Emergency department – $103,489
  • Surgery – $102,760
  • Hospital unit (other than surgery or emergency department) – $97,680
  • Nursing home, assisted living or long-term care facility – $96,296
  • Work site – $95,296
  • Academia – $95,215

The average salary for male physical assistants ($102,669) was higher than salaries paid to women physician assistants ($91,662). The states that employed the highest number of physician assistants paid the following salaries:

  • California: $100,000/year
  • Texas: $104,000/year
  • New York: $87,750/year
  • Florida: $90,000/year

Other American states paid salaries of around $90,000 annually. In addition to the salaries, most physician assistants also received health insurance, paid continuing education, professional association dues, retirement plan, malpractice insurance, and paid time off. 21% of the physician assistants surveyed said they were also given a share of profits while 23% also received tuition reimbursement. This is the general breakup of physician assistant salary by state.

What are the different factors that help determine physician assistant salary by state?

Physician assistant salaries depend on a number of factors, which are:

  • LOCATION – Healthcare centers situated in densely-populated cities pay higher salaries. The closer you get to the city center, the higher your salary will go. That said, there are some heavily-funded, large hospitals that are located away from inner city areas may pay a higher salary than inner-city hospitals. Also, rural centers pay lower than urban centers.
  • SPECIALTY – As you have seen above, a mental health assistant received a salary of $116,000 in 2010, while a diabetes assistant received $69,000. So, physician salaries also depend on the specialty and upon the demand for the specialty.  As per current figures and trends, physician assistants who specialize in mental health, cardiology, anesthesiology, emergency medicine or surgery get the highest salary packages. Note that way back in 2008-2009, dermatology assistants were paid $105,000 per year; in 2010 the salary number is at $91,000 for retail clinics that dole out dermatology services.
  • EXPERIENCE – Experience counts as well. The general increment in salary ranges between 5% and 15% every year. Highly skilled and experienced physician assistants are highly sought after.
  • WORKPLACE – Hospitals can afford to pay more than a small private practice. One surprising trend is that schools paid higher salaries than hospitals in 2010. This is clear evidence that many people are actively enrolling for physician assistant courses and therefore, assistants who can teach are in demand.

What is the average physician assistant salary by state and by experience?

Well, as we have seen above different states offer different salary packages depending on the demand and supply equation. However, here are the average and approximate annual salary numbers you can expect depending on experience:

  • 0-1   years of experience – $70,000
  • 1-4 years of experience – $80,000
  • 5-9 years of experience – $90,000
  • 10-19 years of experience – $100,000
  • 19+ years of experience – $110,000+

In addition to salary, physician assistants are also entitled to health insurance, retirement benefits, paid time off, and more.

Does the physician assistant salary by state depend on the degrees?

Well, the short answer to that is yes, it does. A physician assistant can enroll for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. The Physician Assistant Bachelor’s Degree is a 4-year program that can be earned while he’s working on a graduate-level physician assistant certificate. The initial 2 years are devoted to mathematics, sciences and arts, while the 3rd and 4th year involve heavy duty work like clinical course work and clinical rotations.

Students can enroll for a Master’s degree after successfully completing their Bachelor’s. The Master’s degree is a 2-year course. In the 1st year the student works on anatomy, pharmacology, microbiology, pediatrics, emergency and internal medicine, obstetrics, surgery, etc. In the 2nd year, he works on primary care and medical specialties.

Naturally, professionals who complete the Master’s course can expect a higher starting pay.

This was about the physician assistant salary by state. If you want more information and in detail, you should visit the local government’s employment website. A physician assistant’s career is self-satisfying and rewarding. It helps build a healthier and more productive nation and also keep healthcare costs down.

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