Annual salary varies throughout different jobs in the healthcare industry. A licensed physician assistant salary may differ from that of an EMT or a registered nurse. For example, a physician assistant generally receives a larger salary than EMTs. Various factors, such as level of education, job market and healthcare needs, determine a physician assistant salary.

Average Physician Assistant Salary

The median income for physician assistants in 2010 was $86,410 yearly and $41.54 hourly. (In other words, half of the physician assistants in the United States made more than $86,410 that year, and half of the PAs in the United States made less than $86,410 that year.) This data is gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor through an Occupational Employment Statistics survey.

Physician Assistant Salary Compared to Similar Jobs

The career path of a physician assistant may be compared to that of EMTs/paramedics, physical therapists, occupational therapists, registered nurses, audiologists and speech-language pathologists. These careers require a similar amount of job duties and required education. The median pay in 2010 for these careers ranged from $30,360 to $76,310. The median pay for a physician assistant was higher than this range (at $86,410 in 2010). For example, the median pay for a registered nurse in 2010 was $64,690 yearly and $31.10 hourly.

The annual physician assistant salary is lower than that of a physician or a surgeon. To become a physician, one must complete more education and supervise physician assistants. The median income in 2010 for a physician or a surgeon was $166,400 yearly and $80.00 hourly.

Physician Assistant Job Growth

The physician assistant career is currently one of the fastest growing jobs. It is predicted that the physician assistant occupation will increase by as much as 30 percent between now and the year 2020; the occupation is growing at a faster rate than average. This sharp growth may be attributed to the amplification of the healthcare industry in general. It is also becoming more common for healthcare institutions and physicians to increase the number of physician assistants in their facilities. Different areas may also be hiring more physician assistants for cost reasons as the need for more primary healthcare providers increases.

Physician Assistant Employment Trends

In 2010, there were 83,600 physician assistant positions. Meanwhile, the employment number is predicted to change by 24,700 openings for 2010-2020.