Physician assistants are able to diagnose patient conditions and provide basic treatment, so long as they are working under the supervision of a trained physician. Physician assistants can specialize in any number of fields; those who practice internal medicine provide basic primary care to adults, just like physicians who practice internal medicine. This career requires a master's degree and state licensure.
Physician assistants who work on a part-time basis are not usually salaried; rather, they're paid according to how many hours they work per week. According to a study conducted by the medical website ADVANCE, physician assistants working on a part-time basis earned an average wage of $55.16 per hour as of 2012. By comparison, those specifically practicing internal medicine on a part-time basis reported an average wage of $49.73 per hour.
As of 2012, ADVANCE reports that physician assistants who are employed in a full-time position pulled down an average salary of $102,165 per year. Full-time PAs specializing in internal medicine made slightly less than the national average across all specialties, with a reported average salary of $98,555. By comparison, the highest-paid PA specialty was radiology, while the lowest-paid PAs were those practicing in college health clinics -- $84,299 per year.
Other Factors Affecting PA Salaries
Other factors affecting the potential salaries of physician assistants include geographical area and the type of facility at which they work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that PAs in the Northeast and West earned the most in 2012, while those in the Southeast had the lowest average salaries. The highest-paying state was Rhode Island, at $112,250, and the lowest-paying was Mississippi, at $50,200. The Bureau also reported that specialty hospitals tended to pay PAs the most, an average of $100,060.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for physician assistants is excellent through at least 2020. The Bureau expects jobs for PAs to grow at a rate of 30 percent over the decade, more than double the average rate of growth projected for all professions. This rate of growth will create an estimated 24,700 new jobs for physician assistants by 2020. PAs seeking employment in rural and medically underserved areas of the country will have the best job prospects.
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