For the fourth year, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) has published the 2017 Statistical Report of Certified Physician Assistants by State – one of four annual reports that comprise the most comprehensive and accurate source of Certified PA data nationwide.
The report indicates a 6.5 percent increase (7,542) in the number of Certified PAs nationwide, bringing the collective number to slightly over 123,000 as of December 31, 2017. According to monster.com, physician assistant was the second fastest growing health profession in 2018.
The increase was most pronounced in Mississippi, which saw the greatest growth with a 59.3 percent increase in Certified PAs between 2014 and 2017. During the same period, Arkansas saw a 44.9 percent increase in the number of Certified PAs.
Additional key findings from the report indicate:
- Alaska and Wyoming lead the country in the percentage of Certified PAs practicing in a primary care specialty (53.3 percent and 50.5 percent respectively). Primary care includes family medicine/general practice, general internal medicine and general pediatrics.
- California leads in racial diversity of Certified PAs with 33.3 percent of the state’s Certified PAs identifying as persons of color. Over half (52.6 percent) of California’s Certified PAs communicate with patients in languages other than English.
- The average income of Certified PAs is $107,742 and Certified PAs have experienced a 12.5 percent salary increase in the last five years, with the highest average salaries being reported in Nevada, California and Alaska.
“We are pleased to see that the PA profession continues to thrive,” said NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias. “The nation’s health care needs continue to grow, and more people are choosing to help make high-quality, health care accessible to millions of patients by becoming Certified PAs. Physician Assistant is consistently ranked as one of the top jobs in America, and most recently ranked as the #1 Best Health Care Job by U.S. News and World Report for 2019. Employers recognize the value and services that PAs add to the practice environment. PAs working in all clinical settings and disciplines make health care more accessible. This is especially good news for patients in rural and under-served communities.”