Physicians Assistants

How Much Do Physician Assistants Make?

Becoming a physician assistant (PA) can be a rewarding and financially fulfilling career choice. In today’s changing healthcare environment, the need for PAs is growing at a faster-than-average rate. As the healthcare industry continues to find ways to provide better outcomes for patients while reducing overall costs, the role of the PA will increase in significance.

The more pre-PA students understand about this career choice, the better. As a PA, you will serve as an advocate for your patients. That is a hefty responsibility, and the financial compensation should reflect that. So, it makes sense to wonder how much physician assistants make.

How Much Does a Physician Assistant Make?

If you are curious about a physician assistant’s salary, it is important you understand what factors might influence it.


At the top of that list is location. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual salary for a PA at $126,010 or $60.58 per hour. That is the midway point for salaries in this country. PAs in some areas may make less; in others, they may make more.

For example, the BLS reports that PAs in Nevada make $141,360 annually or $67.96 per hour. In Nebraska, however, the pay is $120,740 annually or $58.05 per hour. The difference relates to the cost of living in the area. You can likely buy a home and live for less in Nebraska than in Nevada.

The highest-paying states for PAs, according to BLS, are:

  • Washington – $145,390 per year or $69.90 per hour
  • California – $144,520 per year or $69.48 per hour
  • Alaska – $144,460 per year or $69.45 per hour
  • Connecticut – $143,280 per year or $68.89 per hour
  • Nevada – $141,360 per year or $67.96 per hour

The salary can even vary within a state. You may make more money working in a metro area like Chicago than in a rural community.

The highest-paying cities for PAs, according to BLS, are:

  • San Jose – $172,370 per year or $82.87 per hour
  • Napa, CA – $165,400 per year or $79.52 per hour
  • San Francisco, CA – $162,480 per year or $78.11per hour
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA – $159,570 per year or $76.72 per hour
  • Fairbanks, AK – $157,610 per year or $75.78 per hour

Some states will have more available jobs, as well. The highest concentration of PA jobs is found in California. That state employs an average of 15,540 PAs. You’ll find the lowest number of employment opportunities in Montana. There are only 700 PA jobs in that state currently. Employment there would be highly competitive.


Specialization is another critical factor when discussing salaries for physician assistants. PAs can specialize the same way medical doctors do. The highest-paying specializations include:

  • Cardiovascular surgery – $152,500 per year
  • Dermatology – $145,000
  • Emergency medicine – $133,990
  • Occupational medicine – $133,120
  • Critical care – $133,000

Certain specializations take more training, as well. That means getting there may cost you more.

Facility Type

The healthcare environment will influence a physician assistant’s salary, too. A PA can work in almost any facility, from private practices to retail clinics to surgical centers. The highest-paying facilities include:

  • Outpatient care centers – $137,040 per year or $65.89 per hour
  • Hospitals – $127,800 per year or $61.44 per hour
  • Doctor’s offices – $122,510 per year or $58.90 per hour
  • Health practitioner’s office – $118,490 per year or $56.97 per hour
  • Universities and colleges – $108,330 per year or $52.08

When choosing your PA career path, you want to consider all these things. They combine to determine how much you will make for a living in that role.

How to Start Your Journey to Becoming a Physician Assistant

The educational path to becoming a physician’s assistant is a long and potentially expensive one. The better you plan ahead, the smoother that path will be.

Your journey will start at undergraduate school. While working towards your bachelor’s degree, you must cover all the prerequisites necessary to enter a PA program. Those prerequisites can include:

  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Physiology
  • English composition
  • Genetics
  • Medical terminology
  • Psychology

These are the basic prerequisites. Every program has its own list, so the one you choose may require you to complete more classes before applying.

Most PA programs will also require you to have a certain number of hours of clinical experience. This means hands-on experience with patients. The number of hours varies significantly from program to program. They can range from 300 to 2,000 or more hours.

One way to ensure you meet that criteria is by getting an affordable online medical certification from Advanced eClinical Training (ACT). ACT allows you to get the credentials necessary to work in a hospital, clinic, lab, pharmacy, or doctor’s office. These are often paid positions, so you can earn money to help finance your PA education.

Begin Your Journey as a Physician Assistant with ACT

Embarking on the path to becoming a Physician Assistant is both exciting and demanding. At Advanced eClinical Training, we understand the importance of thorough preparation and strategic planning for your PA career. In addition to our PA Mentorship Program, our range of budget-friendly online medical certification courses includes Medical Assistant (CCMA), Patient Care Technician (CPCT), Pharmacy Technician (CPHT), and Physical Therapy Technician (PTTC), which are designed to provide you with the essential clinical experience and credentials needed to excel in the healthcare field.


These self-paced courses, which can be completed in just 8 to 12 weeks, are tailored to fit your busy schedule, allowing you to balance your current responsibilities while preparing for your future in medicine. Upon completion, you’ll be ready to sit for national exams and obtain certifications recognized across the country.


Don’t let the journey to becoming a PA overwhelm you. Let ACT be your guide and support system. Enroll today in our online medical certification programs and take the first step toward a fulfilling career as a Physician Assistant.

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