More PAs in the workforce, salaries continue to increase

care team

It’s a good time to be a physician assistant, according to a new report from the national organization that represents them.

Based on nearly 16,000 respondents, the demand for PAs continues in the healthcare field and their salaries continue to increase, according to the report prepared by the American Academy of PAs (AAPA).

The AAPA’s salary data shows that compensation for PAs has increased faster than both national inflation and for most other professions, according to an announcement. That increase has been consistent for more than 15 years, as PA salaries saw an overall increase that was about 50 percent greater than the rate of inflation between 2000 and 2015, the group said.

Other highlights from the report indicate that:

  • The national median base salary for PAs increased 3.4 percent between 2014 and 2015.
  • The median annual salary was $97,000, while the median hourly wage was $55.
  • Salaries varied by geographic region, with PAs practicing in the western United States receiving the highest median salary ($102,000), and PAs in the Midwest the lowest ($95,000).
  • Salaries also varied by work setting, employer type and specialty.

The profession has also seen rapid growth, doubling in size every decade since 1980 and growing by more than a third between 2010 and 2015. Despite the increasing number of PAs, they remain in high demand nationwide, the report found.

“The growth of the PA profession in terms of size and compensation is just the tip of the iceberg,” CEO Jennifer L. Dorn, said in the announcement, adding that PAs are taking on new leadership roles in health systems. “They are well positioned to drive change as the U.S. healthcare system adapts to a growing and aging population, the shift towards value-based care, and a renewed focus on patient education and prevention.”

More than 70 percent of certified PAs in the United States work in specialties outside of primary care. The number of PAs has grown over recent years, owing to both the cost-effective nature of their positions and their contribution to increasing healthcare access in the face of the ongoing doctor shortage, as FiercePracticeManagement has previously reported.