The Average Physician Assistant: How Do You Compare?

Do you ever wonder how you compare to the rest of your profession?  Are most PAs middle aged males, or does that just happen to be the case at your hospital?  How much experience do you have compared to other physician assistants on the job market? 

To answer these questions, the American Academy of Physician Assistants surveyed PA's across the country to get an idea of the physician assistant population.

Where do physician assistants work?

The majority of physician assistants surveyed work in a specialty setting.  31 percent of PAs are employed in primary care and 10 percent in internal medicine while the rest opt for specialty practice.  Of these individuals, 23 percent work in surgical subspecialties, 11 percent work in emergency medicine and 19 percent in other specialty practices.  

Within these practice settings, most physician assistants work in physician practice groups.  26 percent of PAs are employed in a single-specialty physician group practice, 12 percent in a multi-specialty physician group practice and 15 percent in a solo physician practice.  The remainder of physician assistants are employed in emergency departments (14 percent), inpatient hospital units (14 percent) and outpatient hospital units (11 percent).

How much do physician assistants make and how hard do they work?

The average physician assistant salary depends on practice setting and ranges from $85,000 to $100,000.  Emergency PAs top the earnings list with an average salary of $100,000 followed by surgical PAs at $97,000.  On average, the lowest earners were primary care physician assistants with an average salary of $85,000 and internal medicine PAs coming in at $87,200.  

Most physician assistants (72 percent) are paid on a salaried basis.  24 percent of PAs are paid hourly.  11 percent of physician assistants receive some type of RVU-based pay. 

Physician assistants are hard workers.  Most PAs (83 percent) work full-time and put in a 40 hour work week.  Nearly 32 percent of PAs take call, not an easy task.  Most physician assistants hold one job, but 12 percent of the PA population balances two positions. 

How much experience do physician assistants have?

The amount of experience among physician assistants is pretty consistent across the board.  18 percent of PAs have less than 2 years of experience, 18 percent 2 to 4 years experience, 23 percent 5 to 9 years experience, 21 percent 10-17 years experience and 18 percent have more than 18 years of experience.  

Fortunately, most physician assistants like their jobs.  37 percent of PAs report they are "most satisfied" with the physician assistant career and 26 percent report they are "somewhat satisfied".  15 percent of PAs report being "least satisfied" with the physician assistant career path. 

Who is the average physician assistant?

The average physician assistant is a 38 year-old female with seven years of experience overall including four years of experience in her current specialty.  

How do you compare to the average physician assistant population?

 

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