Nurse practitioners and physician assistants perform very similar, if not identical, roles in most states. In fact, in the emergency department where I work, NPs and PAs are hired interchangeably. While this is true in many geographic areas, in certain instances state law, Medicaid guidelines, and/or the job market lead to wage disparities between nurse practitioners and physician assistants. NPs might be paid more than PAs and vice versa. How do the salaries for these individuals compare in your area?
Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we detailed the mean annual salary for nurse practitioners and physician assistants in 2018. On average, NPs earned $1,984 more per year than their physician assistant counterparts. This difference was much more significant on a state-by-state basis for some locations. In Mississippi, for example, nurse practitioners earned an average of $28,570 more than physician assistants. On the other hand, in Connecticut, PAs earned $7,590 more than NPs in 2018.
The table below outlines the mean annual wages for nurse practitioners and physician assistants by state and shows how pay compares. NPs earn more than PAs in the 26 states outlined in blue. The 24 states in pink outline where PAs out-earn NPs.
How does compensation for nurse practitioners and physician assistants compare in your state?