PA profession outlook, pay in 2023: 4 report takeaways

Physician assistants across the U.S. saw an average salary increase of 4.3 percent to a base salary of $120,000, according to a report from the American Academy of Physician Associates that surveyed 12,180 in the field.

Demand for physician assistants is rapidly growing as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the profession is projected to grow by 28 percent in the next seven years — which it notes is a much faster pace than other occupations.

Currently, the occupation's workforce of 168,000 oversees around 514 million patient visits annually, and staffing shortages continue to be a burden for the profession, the report found.

Other notable findings in the AAPA's 2023 salary report include:

  1. California has the highest base salary for physician assistants in the country, starting at $140,000 — followed by Hawaii at $135,000 and Alaska at $131,625.

  2. Recent physician assistant graduates in the U.S. can expect a starting salary of $110,000 on average.

  3. Physician assistants working in non-metro areas typically have a higher average compensation when adjusted for cost-of-living than those in metro areas.

  4. Though healthcare is still plagued by staffing shortages across the board, for physician assistants it has become slightly better. Nearly 79 percent reported their employer is struggling due to shortages, which is down 9 percentage points from 2021's 88 percent.

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