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Which Specialties are paying the Highest for Physician Assistants?

Are you a physician assistant already? Wow, you are fortunate! I say this because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated a 30% growth in the number of job opportunities for physician assistants from the year 2014 to 2024. This seems to be must faster than the average of all occupations put together, which is only 7%.

Well, now you know that you will have a huge demand for physician assistants in the near future. But wait, what about the salaries? The physician assistants earn an average annual salary of $98,180 (as of May 2015). But, as you might be aware, a lot of factors are responsible for the level of earnings you get. For instance, the state where you are pursuing your career in addition to the level of your work experience will determine the earnings you get.

One more factor that is important in deciding your salary is the specialty within which you are working. Not all specialties are paying the same for physician assistants. Find here the list of specialties that are paying the highest salaries for physician assistants.


This is a specialty which seems to be paying one of the highest salaries for physician assistants. As a physician assistant in dermatology, you will be required to treat various types of skin diseases and conditions. Your job as a dermatology PA would include a variety of duties like treating skin cancers and carrying out cosmetic procedures.

According to a survey that was conducted recently, the average pay for physician assistants in dermatology specialty was found to be around $117,000 per year. If you want to become a dermatology physician assistant, you can obtain training from a dermatology physician assistant residency or through a fellowship program. In addition, you can also be trained on-the-job by a dermatologist.

Emergency Medicine:

Physician assistants in emergency room specialty are also earning one of the highest salaries today. In addition to the top earnings, this specialty has the advantage of providing the healthcare professionals with an interesting work setting. Most typically, the emergency room physician assistants would involve treating the patients suffering from the medical conditions:

  • Cardiac arrest

  • Respiratory distress

  • Trauma

It’s to be noted that the employment prerequisites for emergency room physician assistants would vary from one hospital to another. However, a person who has completed a ‘PA residency’ in emergency medicine is considered preferable in most places.

According to a few surveys conducted during different time periods have found that the average annual salaries of emergency room physician assistants are ranging between $116,000 and $122,000.

Surgical Specialties:

Generally speaking, surgery is among the highest paying healthcare specialties and the earnings of a physician assistant in this specialty is seemed to be earning somewhere around $105,000 in a year. The duties and responsibilities of a surgical physician specialty would vary and often include the pre-operative evaluations and examinations in addition to assisting the doctors during surgical procedures and follow-up.

In order to become a surgical physician assistant, you would require completing a ‘PA residency’ after having graduated from your PA school.