The Physician Assistant Salary in 2017

A physician assistant in the US makes about $55,209, while one working in Canada will earn about C$74,086 (US$55,209) per year. The highest physician assistant salary can be found in Australia and New Zealand, where professionals in this field earn AU$90,000 (US$68,363) and NZ$90,930 (US$63,505) per year.

Learn how location, experience, and the industry in which physician assistants are practicing influence their salary in our guide.

How Much Does a Physician Assistant Make per Year?

You can see the estimated yearly and hourly wages in English-speaking countries in the following table:

Physician Assistant Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Wage $43.59 C$35.62 (US$26.54) £16.83 (US$20.52) AU$43.27 (US$32.87) NZ$43.72 (US$30.54) Rs103.85 (US$1.56) R58.69 (US$4.53)
Annual Wage $90,677 C$74,086 (US$ 55,209) £35,000 (US$ 42,687) AU$90,000 (US$ 68,363) NZ$90,930 (US$ 63,505) Rs374,257 (US$ 5,616) R122,084 (US$ 9,416)

Factors that Influence the Physician Assistant Salary

As expected with pretty much any job on the market, those hoping for the physician assistant average salary should carefully choose the location and industry in which they want to work for the best possible salary. Here’s a breakdown of the average salaries for physician assistants and the most important factors that influence them.

Geographic Area

Location is the most important factor that influences how much a physician assistant makes.

Physician Assistant Salary in the US

The average physician assistant salary in the US revolves around $90,677 per year, which translates to $43.59 per hour. A beginner in this field will start at about $72,213 and gradually earn more in the next 5 to 10 years, while an experienced professional will make about $126,357. Nevertheless, the most significant salary growth can be observed in the first 10 years on the job.

Bonuses can account for $1,019 – $16,486 of the yearly salary and profit-sharing can bring extra $2,053 – $17,218. Physical assistants can also earn up to $37,500 from commission. Generally, proven skills in emergency medicine, acute care, oncology, surgery, orthopedics, or another healthcare branch will further increase the salary of a physical assistant.

In addition, states like Maryland offer far better-paid jobs than states like Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, or Michigan. However, that doesn’t mean that people aspiring to go for a physician assistant starting salary in one of the states not mentioned in the tables below shouldn’t go for the position. There is always room for improvement, and the wage also varies depending on other elements such as specialty, job description, and experience.

For those hoping for a career in the field and a physician’s assistant salary, below you will find several tables documenting the average levels of employment and payment for physician assistants throughout some of the more densely populated areas of the United States.

Highest Levels of Employment for Physician Assistants in the US

In the table below, you can find a list of the states with the highest level of employment for physician assistants in the country:

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
New York 11,760 1.31 1.83 $49.05 $102,020
California 10,010 0.65 0.91 $51.83 $107,810
Texas 5,990 0.52 0.72 $47.87 $99,580
Pennsylvania 5,610 0.98 1.38 $42.12 $87,610
Florida 5,090 0.64 0.90 $48.79 $101,480

For those interested in more widely distributed information, below you will be able to see the metropolitan areas with the highest levels of employment in the field:

Metropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
New York – Jersey City – White Plains, NY – NJ Metropolitan Division 6,350 0.98 1.37 $50.78 $105,630
Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division 2,640 0.64 0.90 $43.54 $90,560
Nassau County – Suffolk County, NY Metropolitan Division 2,370 1.86 2.60 $49.05 $102,020
Atlanta – Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 1,960 0.79 1.11 $47.81 $99,450
Phoenix – Mesa – Scottsdale, AZ 1,830 0.97 1.36 $45.34 $94,320
Houston – The Woodlands – Sugar Land, TX 1,790 0.61 0.86 $46.91 $97,570
Chicago – Naperville – Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Division 1,760 0.49 0.69 $39.62 $82,420
Baltimore – Columbia – Towson, MD 1,660 1.27 1.77 $40.86 $84,990
Oakland – Hayward-Berkeley, CA Metropolitan Division 1,420 1.35 1.89 $57.12 $118,810
Washington – Arlington – Alexandria, DC – VA – MD – WV Metropolitan Division 1,390 0.57 0.80 $45.03 $93,660
Highest Physician Assistant Salaries in the US

Next, you can see a table featuring the American States offering the highest physician assistant salary:

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Nevada 550 0.44 0.62 $59.70 $124,180
Rhode Island 230 0.49 0.69 $55.12 $114,650
New Hampshire 530 0.84 1.18 $54.36 $113,070
North Dakota 300 0.66 0.92 $53.82 $111,940
Connecticut 1,890 1.14 1.59 $53.46 $111,200

The metropolitan areas paying the highest physician assistant salary are as follows:

Metropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Santa Fe, NM 70 1.12 1.57 $78.40 $163,070
Yuba City, CA 60 1.54 2.15 $75.86 $157,780
Longview, TX 50 0.50 0.71 $72.37 $150,520
Leominster-Gardner, MA 40 0.74 1.03 $67.72 $140,860
Santa Rosa, CA 90 0.47 0.66 $67.70 $140,810
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN – MI 40 0.27 0.38 $66.77 $138,880
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 370 0.40 0.57 $66.32 $137,950
Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, MA – NH NECTA Division 40 0.30 0.41 $65.14 $135,490
Evansville, IN – KY 50 0.30 0.43 $64.54 $134,250
Idaho Falls, ID 50 0.83 1.16 $64.53 $134,230

While cities like Miami, FL, Boston, MA, and Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, PA aren’t on the list, anyone qualified enough can still hope to get a decent physician assistant salary. Each candidate’s specialties, experience, and aspiring domain can further influence their pay grade.

Physician Assistant Salary in Canada

The starting physical assistant salary in Canada is set at about C$47,784, which translates to US$35,613. After 10 to 20 years, a professional in this field can earn up to C$101,042 (US$75,326), which is more than double the starting salary for this country. Bonuses can account for up to C$1,500 of these amounts.

As for job satisfaction, most professionals in this field are extremely satisfied with their workplaces – even though many beginners and mid-career professionals earn less than the national average for this profession.

Physician Assistant Salary in the UK

With an average of around £35,000 or US$42,687, the United Kingdom has one of the lowest salaries of all English-speaking countries. A beginner in this field starts somewhere between £30,000 and £31,383, although those working as interns in this field will earn less. With experience, a physician assistant can earn up to £48,034.

Physician Assistant Salary in Australia

The average physician assistant salary in Australia is set at AU$90,000 (US$68,363). A beginner working in this field in Australia will earn about AU$70,000, or a little over US$53,000, but with experience will reach a yearly salary of AU$110,000 (a little under US$83,500).

Physician Assistant Salary in New Zealand

Since this job is relatively new to this country, there is no information on the salary of a physician assistant in New Zealand. Little can be said about the job growth after more than 10 years in this field, too. It’s still unclear whether the physician assistant job will continue to exist in New Zealand in the next decades.

Physician Assistant Salary in India

The average salary of a physician assistant in India is set at Rs374,257, or US$5,616. A beginner in this field will earn about Rs142,031 or US$2,131 per year, while a professional with more than 15 years of experience can expect a salary of Rs973,127 (US$14,603) or more. Bonuses can account for Rs15,500 or about US$233 of this amount.

Physician Assistant Salary in South Africa

The starting physician assistant salary revolves around R37,095 (US$2,852) in South Africa. After 5 to 10 years, a professional working in this field will reach the average salary of a physician assistant in South Africa is R122,084 (US$9,416). Those who stay in this field for more than 15-20 years will earn up to R302,012 or US$23,227 per year not counting bonuses, which can add another R13,454 (US$1,035).

Experience

For example, an experienced radiology, dermatology, anesthesia, pediatrics, neonatal, neurology, cardiothoracic PA in Washington could theoretically make far more than an entry level psychiatry, oncology, or plastic assistant physician in NYC.

According to a report from the website payscale.com, the average physician assistant salary can grow by slightly more than $20,000 over 20+ years of activity. However, since the website works mostly with the average data from previous years, primarily 2013, 2014, 2015, you can expect a fluctuation of around $10,000 from the showcased data.

The data for the average PA salary is as follows:

  • $85,000 – $96,000 during the first five to ten years
  • $96,000 – $100,000 during the first ten to twenty years of experience
  • $100,000 – $105,000 after twenty years of experience

Industry

Of course, the industry in which someone aspiring to have a physician assistant salary plans to work in also influences the pay grade. Be it a surgical physician assistant salary, an orthopedic physician assistant salary, or even that of a dermatologist or an OB/GYN, the average salaries widely vary depending on the healthcare industry.

The industries offering the highest levels of employment for the occupation are as follows:

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Offices of Physicians 56,820 2.26 $47.42 $98,630
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 21,420 0.41 $48.52 $100,920
Outpatient Care Centers 7,490 1.02 $51.00 $106,080
Employment Services 2,760 0.08 $52.08 $108,330
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 2,600 0.09 $45.84 $95,340

Meanwhile, the industries paying the largest wages for physician assistants are the following:

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services 90 0.01 $62.50 $129,990
Employment Services 2,760 0.08 $52.08 $108,330
Outpatient Care Centers 7,490 1.02 $51.00 $106,080
Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals 800 0.32 $49.49 $102,930
Home Health Care Services 120 0.01 $49.28 $102,500

Nevertheless, those looking for a job in departments like cardiology, urgent care, pediatric centers, mental hospitals, or ER can confidently try to apply for a physician assistant job without worrying about a lower salary or smaller chances of getting hired.

Working Hours

Generally, people with a physician assistant salary work full time. The most common occurrence is for them to work regular, 40-hour work weeks. However, things are different for those physician assistants working in hospitals.

For the physician assistants working in hospitalsextra work hours can usually range from working nights and weekends to being on call. There usually is no overtime, but shifts and working on holidays are also quite the common occurrence. The average hospital physician assistant worked one out of five weekends in 2016.

Bonuses and Benefit Packages

Aside from the physician assistant salary, which is far above the minimum wage, the job also comes with bonuses and benefits packages. According to a recent report, the best medical insurance is given to physician assistants. 81% get full medical, 60% get dental, and 45% get vision insurance.

Additionally, most physician assistants get average bonuses of around $15,000 a year. This is what motivates a wide selection of future medical assistants to consider this career.

Job Outlook

As the demand for medical services has been steadily growing over the past few years, more physician assistants will be needed. In fact, the employment rate is estimated to grow some 30% by 2024. That is even higher than sports or office jobs.

The job isn’t exceptionally well paid when compared to other medical specialties. But it certainly pans out to become a physician assistant overall. Not only are the physician assistant salary and bonuses worth it on the long run, but the job is one of the most respected in the field of medicine. And when comparing benefits vs. costs, the long education and internship times are totally worth the future salary.

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