Physician Assistant–Friendly Legislation Boosts Pay

Debra Shute, October 5, 2017

PAs practicing in states with a practice barrier reported lower salaries than their peers in states without that barrier, according to a survey from the American Academy of PAs. 

States with more progressive laws governing the practice of physician assistants (PAs) also offer the Masters-prepared clinicians the highest earning potential, according to the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) 2017 AAPA Salary Report.

The AAPA analyzed the survey responses of 7,225 PAs in relation to whether states have adopted the Six Key Elements of a Modern PA Practice Act, which include, “licensure as a regulatory term” and “adaptable collaboration requirements,” among other measures intended to ease barriers to PA practice.

Related: More NPPs Mean More Profit

Other notable insights include the following:

  • In 2016, the median annual salary for PAs working full-time in the United States was $102,000, up 5.2% from a median of $97,000 in 2015.
  • The 17.3% of PAs who reported receiving an hourly wage, rather than an annual salary, earned a median of $60.00 per hour—a 9% pay increase over 2015.
  • In addition to their base salary or hourly wage, 48.4% of full-time PAs received a bonus in 2016. Half of these respondents reported a bonus of $6,000 or more.
  • The top median salaries were reported by PAs working in critical access hospitals ($111,000), operating rooms ($110,000), and intensive care/critical care units ($110,000).
  • The lowest median salaries were reported by PAs working at ambulatory service centers ($95,500), rehabilitation centers ($96,250), and extended care facilities or nursing homes ($95,000).

Related: The AMA Does Not Want PA Autonomy

  • States with the highest PA base salary are those in which state-level enactments have reduced practice barriers. For example, the median salary in states that have adopted “adaptable supervision requirements” (28 and Washington, D.C.) was $108,799, compared to $101,475 in the remaining states.
  • In the 37 states in which PA clinical scope is determined at the practice level, the median PA salary is $107,178, compared to $104,145 elsewhere.

The 2016 survey also includes cost-of-living adjustment tools to help relocating PAs negotiate new salaries.

Debra Shute

Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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