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Top Paying Physician Assistant Specialties

Top Paying Physician Assistant Specialties

If you are a Physician Assistant on the hunt for new employment opportunities, it is important to know what to expect when it comes to competitive compensation for the services you provide. Physician Assistants that choose to work outside of primary care medicine report higher earnings on average than do their general medicine colleagues. These pay differences can really add up over time making it worthwhile to know where you can make the most take-home pay. To help you navigate which specialties boast the top salaries, consider these results of the NCCPA’s 2018 Statistical Profile of Certified Physician Assistants Specialty survey.

  1. Cardiovascular Surgery- CV Surgical Physician Assistants make the most money in the business, according to the NCCPA’s Specialty survey*. Averaging $132,071 annually, these PA’s also log some of the highest hours on-call and in the OR, making it money well-earned.
  2. Dermatology- Physician Assistants who choose to provide care to patients suffering with dermatological conditions enjoy some of the best pay and job satisfaction levels amongst their colleagues. Earning an annual salary of $126,084, these PA’s also see a record number of patients, topping out at 115 per week*.
  3. Neurosurgery- Working in a surgical specialty often comes with lucrative pay but requires that PA’s work longer hours taking more call. While only 2% of PA’s endorse Neurosurgery as their chosen specialty, those who do earn an average of $121,927 a year.
  4. Orthopedic Surgery- This specialty employs over 10,000 Physician Assistants, making it the most popular surgical specialty for PA employment. Although this work requires long hours in the OR and on the floor providing care to peri-operative patients, an average salary of $117,479 annually can make the work worthwhile.
  5. General Surgery- This challenging specialty encompasses a wide variety of surgical procedures, making it attractive to Physician Assistants seeking exciting and lucrative employment. PA’s working in this specialty report making $112,397 a year in take home pay.
  6. Psychiatry- The vital link between one’s mental and physical health is undeniable. PA’s in the field of Psychiatry provide mental health care that addresses emotional, psychological and substance dependence disorders while earning an average of $110,466 annually.
  7. Pain Medicine- The demand for PA’s experienced in the care of acute and chronic pain is on the rise. These Physician Assistants often work with multi-disciplinary teams to help control patients’ pain while earning $109,273 a year on average.

*National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Inc. (2019, July). 2018 Statistical Profile of Certified Physician Assistants by Specialty: An Annual Report of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

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