Physician Assistant Workforce in the United States Reaches Record High


Physician Assistant Workforce in the United States Reaches Record High 

American Academy of Physician Assistants Census Report contains key information on fast-growing health care profession 


Washington, DC – The American Academy of Physician Assistants today released its 2010 Census Report and Salary Report. These documents provide data revealing that, even in a down economy, the profession continues to grow rapidly and reward PAs professionally and personally.   

According to the Census, the number of practicing PA reached 83,466 in 2010, a 100 percent increase over last 10 years.Female PAs outnumber their male counterparts by nearly 20,000. More than 30 percent of PAs practice in primary care, making it the largest specialty for PAs.

Nearly 30 percent of PAs practice in single-specialty physician group practices, and 40-percent have been in their current primary specialty for at least six years. The Census also shows that PAs enjoy their work, as 66 percent indicate they are satisfied or mostly satisfied with their career.

“PAs are the only health care providers educated and credentialed with a primary care focus, providing a strong foundation for any  specialty in which they may choose to practice,” said AAPA President Robert Wooten, PA-C. “The information from AAPA’s salary and census reports clearly confirm what PAs and the health care world have known for years: The PA profession is growing rapidly, and it is key to expanding access to quality health care for millions of Americans.”   

PAs earn a median annual salary of $90,000 according to the Salary report, an increase of 2.8-percent from the 2009 survey. The three states with the highest salary increase in 2010 were Rhode Island, South Dakota and Missouri all with increases of more than nine percent over the previous year.

While the majority of PAs are in clinical practice, an estimated 5,079 PAs work either alone or concurrently   in health care education, administration,  research and public health – a figure that demonstrates the growing role PAs play in influencing the entire health care field. 

The AAPA annual Census is a survey of physician assistants, both AAPA members and nonmembers. The data collected are used to track PA workforce issues, calculate summary statistics and describe the salary information.

Download the full report.
Patrick Dunne


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Methodology statement 

To ensure that responses accurately represent the entire profession, not just those who participated in the census, weight factors were applied to the data.Weighting is used to compensate for the fact that not all PAs in the country participate in the survey. Using multivariate logistic regression we determined that age, sex, ethnicity and certification/licensure status were the most important factors affecting census participation. We used these to calculate census weights for this report. Detailed information on the methodology is included in the survey.  




About the American Academy of Physician Assistants  

Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of over 81,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories, and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered health care.  Visit to learn more.



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