10 PA specialties that earned the most in 2021

Physician assistants working within cardiovascular/cardiothoracic surgery earned $147,000 in 2021, marking it the highest paid PA specialty last year, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants salary survey published June 8. 

AAPA collects base pay data in the form of salaries, hourly wages, or guaranteed pay within a productivity model to assess the overall compensation across 60 PA specialties. The totals also include bonuses. Only specialties with 100 or more respondents nationwide are included in the report. 

Cardiovascular/cardiothoracic surgery was also the highest paid PA specialty in 2020, with an average compensation of $130,000. 

  1. Cardiovascular/cardiothoracic surgery — $147,000 
  2. Dermatology — $146,000 
  3. Emergency medicine — $129,146
  4. Surgical subspecialties — $127,775
  5. Occupational medicine — $125,600
  6. Critical care — $124,886
  7. Neurosurgery — $124,000 
  8. Urgent care — $123,517
  9. Radiology — $122,350 
  10. Plastic surgery — $122,000 

To read more about the survey methodology, click here.

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