PA salaries rose slightly in 2018

Compensation for physician assistants rose 1% in 2018 from the previous year, according to the 2019 salary report from the American Academy of PAs. The median base salary increased marginally from $105,000 in 2017 to $106,000 in 2018.

PAs are medical professionals who typically diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications and are often the principal healthcare provider for patients, according to AAPA, which queried more than 13,000 PAs for its report.

The median compensation across the profession was $107,500 in 2018, including base salary or hourly wages. Higher demand across the industry is also driving up average salaries.

The findings come at a time when PAs are in high demand, alongside many other roles in the healthcare industry. From 2016 to 2026, the PA profession is expected to increase 37%, according to AAPA. There are more than 131,000 PAs today.

“The PA workforce is strong and growing stronger every day,” David E. Mittman, PA, DFAAPA, president and chair of the AAPA Board of Directors, said in a statement. “The year-to-year, steady increase in PA salary affirms that PAs are in high demand. That is why it is so important to advance policies that will eliminate administrative burdens and allow PAs to work at the top of their education, training, and experience.”

Report highlights

While most PAs saw an increase in base pay year over year, part-timers who worked a median of 24 hours per week had a base salary of $83,000 and median hourly wage of $60. Full-time PAs also had a median hourly wage of $60.  

Median pay was $150,000 for PAs who are paid on a productivity basis, the report found.

Only about half of full-time PAs received a bonus in 2018, which was $5,500 or more for half of those who did. Those that worked in emergency care earned more than PAs in other specialty settings, with a median base pay of $116,964.