The Lowdown on Hourly Pay for Physician Assistants

Physician assistants may be compensated on a hourly or salaried basis. Hourly compensation often fits well with the unconventional scheduling required by many PA positions and may also allow for greater flexibility in meeting staffing needs on part of the employer and the physician assistant team. How much should PAs expect to be paid on a hourly basis?

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that overall, the national mean hourly wage for physician assistants is $46.77 per hour. The breakdown of percentile wage estimates for physician assistants is as follows: 

*Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 data

Specialty, practice setting, and location play a significant role in physician assistant compensation. PAs employed in specialty practices, for example, can expect to earn more than those in the outpatient primary care setting. Physician assistants that transition from patient care to managerial and administrative roles are paid more than their strictly patient-facing counterparts.

While national hourly wage estimates don't reflect PA compensation for specific locations and specialties, this data serves as a helpful barometer in comparing and evaluating pay. The following table outlines the most profitable areas of employment for physician assistants. 

*Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 data

Physician assistants paid on an hourly basis must also consider the way compensation is structured. 1099 employees, for example, are liable for paying a greater share of taxes than those in W-2 positions. Cost of living must also be taken into account - how far will your wage go in your neighborhood? Finally, the complete benefits package must be considered in evaluating compensation. Health, retirement, and loan forgiveness benefits can amount to a significant financial package offsetting a seemingly low hourly wage. 

How does your hourly wage as a physician assistant compare to these rates?


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