How Much Does a Physician Assistant Make?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 30, 2021 | Published March 20, 2020

Updated March 30, 2021

Published March 20, 2020

If you're searching for a role that involves treating patients and collaborating with other medical professionals, you may enjoy working as a physician assistant. Being a physician assistant requires less schooling than a physician while still gaining hands-on medical experience and an impressive salary. Physician assistants must undergo rigorous training and experience in exchange for a rewarding, well-paying role.

In this article, we explore what a physician assistant is, their work responsibilities and how much they make.

What is a physician assistant?

A physician assistant is a medical professional who examines, treats and diagnoses patients. Doctors typically supervise physician assistants as they complete certain medical tasks and procedures. Most physician assistants provide care to patients in a clinical setting while some prefer to work in hospitals. They may also collaborate closely with physicians by assisting them in complex surgeries.

Related: Learn About Being a Physician

What does a physician assistant do?

A physician assistant checks patients for various illnesses or injuries and provides the necessary treatments to cure them. Common responsibilities of a physician assistant include:

  • Conducting physical examinations and check-ups to ensure patients are in good physical shape

  • Prescribing medication and educating patients on proper dosage amounts

  • Ordering X-rays, scans and other laboratory tests and reviewing the results

  • Stitching patients' wounds and setting fractures

  • Performing diagnoses on patients and developing treatment plans

  • Providing patients with counseling services and educational resources to help them better understand their illness or injury

  • Staying up to date on current medical trends and researching new treatment methods for various diseases, injuries and illnesses

Related: Learn About Being a Physician Assistant

Physician assistant average salary

Physician assistants make an average of $106,585 per year. A physician assistant's salary can vary depending on the location they choose to work in. For instance, some physician assistants may work in a general family care practice while others may specialize in certain fields. This may lead them to work for a private practice and make a larger salary. Most physician assistants work regular hours in the clinic or hospital throughout a typical workweek. They may also have to remain on call to assist any patients who need emergency care. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please click on the salary link above.

Top physician assistants' salary by state

The salary a physician assistant makes can depend on the state they choose to reside in. Below are average physician assistant salaries by state. The salaries below were populated using state-specific data from Indeed. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please check Indeed Salaries.

  • Alabama: $118,513 per year

  • Alaska: $55,027 per year

  • Arizona: $106,467 per year

  • Arkansas: $26,620 per year

  • California: $119,615 per year

  • Colorado: $98,862 per year

  • Connecticut: $108,737 per year

  • Delaware: $108,371 per year

  • Florida: $93,692 per year

  • Georgia: $83,180 per year

  • Hawaii: $92,202 per year

  • Idaho: $101,698 per year

  • Illinois: $119,195 per year

  • Indiana: $102,138 per year

  • Iowa: $107,894 per year

  • Kansas: $96,278 per year

  • Kentucky: $92,898 per year

  • Louisiana: $108,528 per year

  • Maine: $139,846 per year

  • Maryland: $105,018 per year

  • Massachusetts: $102,341 per year

  • Michigan: $99,418 per year

  • Minnesota: $108,636 per year

  • Mississippi: $95,752 per year

  • Missouri: $100,816 per year

  • Montana: $56,136 per year

  • Nebraska: $74,255 per year

  • Nevada: $91,897 per year

  • New Hampshire: $104,869 per year

  • New Jersey: $102,033 per year

  • New York: $117,621 per year

  • North Carolina: $108,581 per year

  • North Dakota: $120,682 per year

  • Ohio: $44,831 per year

  • Oklahoma: $99,207 per year

  • Oregon: $115,604 per year

  • Pennsylvania: $97,229 per year

  • Rhode Island: $89,513 per year

  • South Carolina: $98,308 per year

  • South Dakota: $96,101 per year

  • Tennessee: $102,935 per year

  • Texas: $107,918 per year

  • Utah: $98,437 per year

  • Vermont: $108,489 per year

  • Virginia: $86,566 per year

  • Washington: $118,488 per year

  • West Virginia: $95,071 per year

  • Wisconsin: $51,861 per year

  • Wyoming: $92,938 per year

Job outlook for physician assistants

As the need for healthcare continues to grow, the demand for physician assistants should increase as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the job outlook for physician assistants to grow by 31% between 2018 and 2028.

As scientists and medical professionals discover new diseases and cures, patients will need physician assistants to prescribe new medications and perform these treatments.

Related: 32 Career Paths in the Medical Field To Explore

Education and training requirements for physician assistants

Becoming a physician assistant requires many years of education and experience. Students must receive their bachelor's degree, preferably in a science or health-related field of study. It's also best to pursue hands-on experience in the medical field as a medical assistant, registered nurse or paramedic during or after receiving a bachelor's degree to gain enough experience in the medical field.

After receiving an undergraduate degree, students apply for an accredited Master's Physician Assistant program that takes approximately two years to finish. Students gain a combination of educational and hands-on experience as they complete work in the classroom and in a supervised clinical setting. Subjects students study in this program include:

  • Pharmacology

  • Pathology

  • Biology

  • Physiology

  • Anatomy

  • Genetics

  • Biochemistry

  • Law and ethics

Upon graduation from the physician assistant program, students must earn their official physician assistant certification. To gain this, students apply for their certification and take a five-hour exam that tests them on the skills and knowledge they gained during their program. Physician assistants must continue renewing their license by taking an exam every 10 years that grants them their recertification.

Related: Useful Tips on How To Become a Physician Assistant

Skills required for physician assistants

Common skills successful physician assistants may hold within their role include:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving abilities to accurately diagnose patients and provide them with treatments that return them to a healthy condition

  • Detail-oriented skills to find any symptoms that may be challenging to detect

  • Strong communication and listening skills to effectively explain illnesses and treatments to patients, doctors and other medical professionals

  • Empathy and compassion to listen to the needs of patients and make them feel comfortable in the physician assistant's care

  • Organizational skills to keep track of a patient's records and personal information

  • Time-management abilities to ensure they're giving patients enough time to explain their illness while still finding time to care for other patients and complete separate medical tasks

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