A physician assistant has a similar role to a doctor the main difference is they do not hold the “Dr” title. According to College Board, they perform the same tasks as doctor such as clinical assessment, diagnosing conditions and providing checkups. They often work independently of the doctor and in 48 states, they are allowed to prescribe medicine to patients although there are restrictions to some prescriptions.
Becoming a physician assistant is a challenging process. This is because there are many requirements that must be met and they also must complete an accredited program. There are about 142 accredited programs in the United States and in general, most of them are offered as masters programs. With a master’s degree often accompany better job opportunities as well as higher salary. In order to locate a program in your local area, it is best to contact the Accredited Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
Once you have completed a program, you will need to apply for a state license. As tedious as it may sound, it is compulsory to attain a license in all states You will need to take a test to become licensed; you can do this through the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
The average salary for an entrance level assistant is approximately $64000 to $77000 according to PayScale.com.
On the other hand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics state that the median annual physician assistant salary across the states is between $56000 and $115000. A physician assistant with a limited amount of experience, such as those coming in at entry level will earn less than $56000, those who earn more than $115000 are in the top 10 percent of earners, and they would have had many years experience.
For those who are just starting out as physician assistants, it is recommended that you apply for a position in an industry that hires many physician assistants. Physician offices offer a competitive annual mean salary of $85000 and often hire many physician assistants. Another great industry for employment is at general medical and surgical hospitals which offers a great salary package of $84500.
You can apply for a position in a high paying industry even if you are an entry level physician assistant. It usually does not that long for you to rise to the higher end of the pay scale regardless of whether your starting salary is lower or higher on the line. If you are lucky to be employed within the employment services you can expect a high end salary of $105,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mental health and substance abuse industry offers a salary of $103500, and outpatient care centers offer a salary of $87000.
There are pay discrepancies between states, so entry level physician assistants wanting to earn a higher income may consider relocating to the higher paying states. The Physician assistant salary in Maine is the highest, with an annual mean wage of $86000. In addition, other states with higher annual salaries worth noting include Alaska at $81000 and West Virginia at $77500.