PA Salary and Compensation
In 2018, the median annual salary for PAs working full-time in the United States is $102,000 - $106,873 per year.
PAs who receive an hourly wage, rather than an annual salary, earn an average of $60.00 per hour.
PAs working in emergency medicine and surgical subspecialties continue to make the most money. While PAs in primary care are among the lowest paid in our profession.
Most (79.4%) of PAs are paid an annual (versus an hourly) salary. PAs who work in emergency medicine, urgent care, or are independent contractors are more likely to receive an hourly wage.
In addition to their base salary, half of full-time clinically practicing PAs receive a bonus of $6,000 or more with the average bonus being $6,118. Sadly, the average bonus for a female PA is $3,000 less than their male counterpart.
PA salaries and the buying power of those salaries vary significantly by region. While PAs in California have the highest median salary of $118,000, PAs in Kentucky, Iowa, and Mississippi have some of the highest cost-adjusted median wages in the nation.
Earnings and Hours Worked for Primary Employer by Part-time and Full-time Status
|Earnings||10th percentile||25th percentile||50th percentile||75th percentile||90th percentile|
Median Base Salary and Bonus From Primary Employer by Work Setting and Years of Experience
Years of experience matters with salary peaking for PAs with 15-19 years of experience. Those in this group can make up to $30,000 more per year than their new-grad counterparts.
|0-1 yrs||2-4 yrs||5-9 yrs||10-14 yrs||15-19 yrs||20+ yrs|
Proportion of Professional Expenses Paid
The vast majority (87%) of PAs receive professional development compensation from their primary employer
- Did receive professional development funds: 87.3%
- Did not receive professional development funds: 12.7%
|State license fees||19.9%||60.5%||16.3%|
|Other professional organization fees||34.8%||25.9%||24.8%|
|Tec (phones, laptop, tablet)||49.1%||16.2%||8.6%|
Insurance Benefits Paid for by Primary Employer
Most full-time PAs continue to have individual health, dental and liability insurance included as a covered benefit
|None||More Than Half||All|
|Family health insurance||21.9%||25.5%||9.0%|
|Term life insurance||29.6%||14.2%||27.8%|
Retirement Benefits Provided by Primary Employer
The majority (31.5%) of employers match from 3% - 7% of employee 401K contributions. Only 7.3% of PAs have a pension which is roughly half (14% ) the number of non-union employees in the US receiving pensions.
- Employer does not contribute to retirement: 15.6%
- Employer-provided a 401k/403b option but did not contribute: 6.9%
- Employer contributed a set amount to 401k/403b: 12.3%
- Employer matched 3% or less of 401k/403b contribution: 25.2%
- Employer matched between 3% and 7% of 401k/403b contribution: 31.5%
- Employer matched more than 7% of 401k/403b contributions: 5.9%
- Employer-provided a pension: 7.3%
Paid Days Off
The average PA receives 17 paid vacation days per year and six days of sick leave. For those who receive paid time off the average PA is given 20 days of general PTO. The majority of PAs receive 4.4 hours of CME with 26.4% who are lucky enough to have their CME paid for them.
- General PTO 20.0
- Vacation 17.1
- Sick 8.0
- Parental leave 18.0
- Bereavement 2.7
- Holidays 6.0
- CME 4.4
PA Call Status
The majority of PAs (64%) do not take a formal call.
- Did not take call: 64%
- Took some call: 23.2%
- Took some call do not know hours: 8.8%
- Always on call: 3.6%
Hours per Month PAs Took Call
On average PAs working 32 hours or more per week who were required to take call took 48 hours of call per month.
- 10'th percentile: 6 hours/month
- 25'th percentile: 16 hours/month
- 50'th percentile: 48 hours/month
- 75 percentile: 100 hours/month
- 90'th percentile: 168 hours/month
PA Participation in Profit Sharing Plans
The majority of PAs (86%) do not participate in profit sharing plans. Those that do receive the majority of their profit share as a bonus.
- Participated in profit sharing: 13.9%
- Did not participate in profit sharing: 86.1%
Mode of Profit Sharing
If a PA does receive profit sharing they are likely to receive this as a bonus to their annual salary.
- Stock options: 26%
- Equity: 15%
- Bonus: 30.9%
- Other: 28.1%
Amount of Additional Forms of Compensation
PAs who receive specific additional compensation from their primary clinical employer is most likely to receive this in the form of student loan repayment.
- Honoraria: $2,000
- Research stipend: $1,500
- Student loan repayment: $10,000
- Sign on bonus: $5,000
- Relocation expenses: $3,900
- Tuition reimbursement: $2,500
PA Compensation by Wage Type
The majority of PAs (79.4%) receive their wages in the form of salary.
- Annual salary: 79.4%
- Hourly wage: 17.3%
- Productivity: 3.3%
Median PA Salary By Region
- West: $106,000
- Northeast: $102,000
- South: $100,100
- Midwest: $100,000
Median Base Salary From Primary Employer by Primary Work Setting
The best paid PAs work in the OR, ICU and emergency department receiving (on average) $8,000 more per year.
- Hospital: Critical access $110,000
- Hospital: Operating room $ 110,000
- Hospital: Intensive care/critical care unit $110,000
- Hospital: Emergency department $110,000
- Hospital: Other units not specified $109,640
- Convenient care clinic (including retail clinics) $109,000
- Industrial facility/worksite $108,000
- Other $106,469
- Hospital: Outpatient unit $105,000
- Hospital: Inpatient unit (not ICU/CCU) $104,000
- School/college/university $103,000
- Urgent care center $102,000
- National median $102,000
- Other freestanding outpatient facilities: $100,000
- Patient home $100,000
- Correctional facility $99,263
- Physician office/clinic $98,900
- Ambulatory surgical center $98,500
- Rehabilitation facility $96,250
- Extended care facility/nursing home $95,000
Median Base Salary From Primary Employer by Employer Type
The least profitable place for a PA to work is for a physician solo practice, community health clinic or certified rural health center. Those receiving the highest salary work as independent contractors or work for non-healthcare related corporations.
- Non-healthcare related corporation $124,500
- Self-employed/ independent contractor $124,500
- Consulting firm $111,500
- HMO $110,000
- Convenient care (including retail clinics) $110,000
- Other healthcare related corporation $110,000
- Hospital (including academic medical center) $105,000
- Medical staffing agency $105,000
- Other $104,500
- Government $103,000
- College or university $102,989
- National median $102,000
- Physician practice: Multispecialty group $101,750
- Physician practice: Single specialty group $100,000
- Federally Qualified Health Center $100,000
- Certified Rural Health Clinic $97,500
- Community health clinic $95,500
- Physician Solo practice $93,000
Median Base Salary From Primary Employer by Major Specialty Area
Once again, the poor primary care PA is the lowest paid among all PA specialties.
- Emergency Medicine: $110,000
- Surgical subspecialties: $105,560
- Pediatric subspecialties: $103,000
- All other specialties: $103,000
- Internal medicine subspecialties: $100,000
- Primary care: $95,000
The PA Profession Affords Flexibility
The PA profession is more flexible than other healthcare professions, allowing PAs to change specialties and work settings relatively easily throughout their careers. Different specialties and settings enjoy unique benefits and different compensation levels.
About one-sixth (17.7%) of PAs made a change in one or more of these areas. The most common change was in employer; 11.6% of PAs find a new employer in a given year, while almost 7% of PAs switch their role, setting, or specialty.
Career Changes by PAs
- Employer change: 11.6%
- Setting change: 6.9%
- Role change: 6.6%
- Speciality change: 6.3%
The Relationship Between Salary and Gender for PAs
Gender-Based Salary Discrepancies: On average, female PAs are paid less than male PAs, about 91 cents for every dollar a man made.
The median base salary for female PAs is $10,000 lower than male PAs, and the median bonus is $3,000 lower.
Meanwhile, Labor Department data show women across all industries earned about 82 cents for every dollar a man made in 2016.
|Year||Percent of male salary|
Cost Adjusted Median Salary by State
Just because a particular state post a larger or smaller wage doesn't mean you will actually be living a larger life. When adjusted for costs of goods the results can be surprising. Below is the cost-adjusted median salary of PAs living in all 50 states. Kentucky fried chicken anybody?
If you are moving for work or just want to get an idea of how good or bad your situation is head over to the AAPA website and use their free Cost of Living Calculator. Doximity also publishes an interactive map with PA compensation and housing costs by county and specialty.
|State||Actual Median Salary||Cost-Adjusted Median Salary|
|District of Columbia||$109,249||$80,627|
Cost-Adjusted Median PA Salary by State
When it comes to salary, like many things in life, bigger does not always mean better.
Where you live determines how far your salary (and your dollar) goes. So before you move across the country to take that snazzy $104,000 per year job in New York State, realize that in real cost adjusted dollars this equates to only about $80,000 in purchasing power.
For example in Arkansas, it takes only $0.86 to purchase $1.00 of goods and services. Versus my home state of California where it takes $1.28 to obtain $1 of similar products or services. So, in reality, each $1 earned in California is really only worth 0.78 cents of purchasing power, or in terms of hourly wage, my $60 per hour salary is worth $47 per hour when adjusted for the high cost of living in the Bay Area.
Using cost-of-living data, you can determine not only your adjusted cost-of-living salary but you can use this data to calculate the salary you will need to maintain the same standard of living in a different location.
A cost-adjustment of 1.0 indicates that a salary of $104,000 has $102,000 of buying power for purchasing goods and services. In many of the states where PAs report lower wages, such as South Dakota, Mississippi, and Ohio, PAs may find that they have greater purchasing power than their absolute salary appears when cost-of-living adjustments are taken into account.
To determine the salary needed to maintain your current standard of living in a different location simply multiply your current salary by the number in the buying power column for that particular state. For example, say I make 118,000 in before-tax salary in California but I want to move to New York State. Currently, my cost adjusted median salary is $91,972. The same 118,00 salary in New York would (118,000 x .76) $89,680. In other words, if I want to live the same life I can either make some budget cuts or ask for $120,000 per year at my new job.
|wdt_ID||State||Relative Costs of Goods/ Services||Actual Median Salary||BUYING POWER||Cost-Adjusted Median Salary|
|9||District of Columbia||1.36||109,249||0.74||80,627|
|State||Relative Costs of Goods/ Services||Actual Median Salary||BUYING POWER||Cost-Adjusted Median Salary|