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Physician Assistant Workforce Salary Report Reveals Compensation Varies by Specialty, Employer Type, Location

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New research conducted by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) shows that the nationwide median compensation is $90,000 for PAs who are paid only a salary, and $100,000 when PAs earn a base salary plus a bonus.

Across all practice settings and specialties, nearly half (46%) of PAs report receiving bonuses on top of their base salary. Bonuses are largely determined by performance outcomes such as productivity and quality improvement. Three-fourths (75%) of PAs report their base pay is from annual salary. The remaining 25 percent are primarily compensated based on an hourly wage (22%) or based on productivity measures determined through relative value units (RVUs), patient encounters, charges or collections (approximately 3%).

Higher median compensation levels—which include both salary and bonuses—are found in PA specialties such as dermatology ($117,000), emergency medicine ($108,000) and surgery ($105,000), while PAs working in primary care and family medicine report earning less ($94,000 and $93,400, respectively).

"America's 95,000 PAs clearly bring significant economic value to today's healthcare marketplace," said AAPA President Lawrence Herman, PA-C, MPA, DFAAPA.  "It's no surprise that PAs continue to be one of America's most sought-after healthcare providers."

Employer type is also an important factor in PA compensation, according to survey results. Higher median PA base salaries are reported in employer settings such as university hospitals ($93,000) and other hospitals ($95,000), while the lowest compensation is found in solo physician practices ($85,000). Thirty-seven percent of PAs provide medical services in hospitals and 10.3 percent work in solo physician practices.

According to survey results, location is also an important salary determinant. The top five metropolitan areas with the highest median PA base salaries include Los Angeles ($97,000); Dallas ($96,500); Houston ($95,500); Atlanta ($94,200); and New York ($93,300). When bonuses are taken into account, the highest median compensation for PAs is found in New York ($105,000); Los Angeles ($103,250); Houston ($103,000); Dallas ($102,500); and Boston ($102,000).

The survey found that professional development (PD) is widely supported by PA employers.  Sixty-two percent of PAs report their employer directly pays for all of their state licensing fees, and 71 percent of PAs say their PD allowance covers continuing medical education (CME) expenses. The survey also shows that employers offer PAs a median of four weeks of vacation (20 days) per year.

AAPA administered the online survey from March to July 2013. More than 18,000 AAPA members and nonmembers responded. The sample closely resembles the PA population, with an overrepresentation of responses from AAPA members. Margin of error for the survey: ± <1 percent. Survey responses were de-identified and analyzed in aggregate form.   

Since 2006, the PA profession has grown by 34 percent, with more than 6,000 new PAs graduating and entering the workforce each year. Today, PAs can be found practicing medicine in every medical and surgical specialty and setting throughout the U.S.

Find highlights of the Salary Report at http://www.pasconnect.org/slideshow-highlights-of-the-2013-aapa-salary-report.

About the American Academy of Physician Assistants

Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for PAs. It represents a profession of more than 95,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare. Visit www.aapa.org and www.pasconnect.org to learn more. 

SOURCE American Academy of Physician Assistants

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