PAs in Hospitals: 10 Fast Facts

Hospital PAs Have Unique Practice Aspects

By AAPA Research Department

  1. Hospitals are the most common workplace for PAs.
    The hospital is the most commonly-reported work setting by PAs. Almost two of five PAs (38.5%) of PAs report that a hospital is their primary practice setting. Of the 32.3% of PAs who are employed by a hospital, 42.9% work at an academic medical center and 38.8% work at a community (nongovernment, nonprofit) hospital.
  2. More male PAs work in hospitals, compared to other settings.
    While the difference is slight, it is significant: 37% of PAs in hospitals are male, versus only 31% in other work settings. While PAs in hospitals are younger, they still have a great deal of experience; PAs in hospitals had been practicing as a PA for 8 years, compared to 9 years for PAs in other settings.
  3. PAs work in every department of the hospital. PAs practice in every department of a hospital.
    Over one in four (25.8%) practice in an inpatient unit (not ICU/CCU); over 1 in 5 (22.8%) work in the emergency department, and almost 1 in 6 (17.2%) work in the operating room.
  4. Hospital PAs report higher base salary and hourly wages, but smaller bonuses.
    Overall, PAs in hospital settings report a median base salary of $105,530 and an hourly wage of $62.00, versus $99,000 and $55.00 for PAs who are not primarily in a hospital setting. Conversely, the median bonus reported by PAs in hospitals is $750 smaller: $5,250 versus $6,000.
  5. Bonuses are smaller for hospital PAs and they are less likely to receive them.
    In comparison to PAs in non-hospital settings, of which 50.7% report receiving a bonus, only 41.3% of PAs in hospitals report receiving a bonus.
  6. PAs in hospitals consult with and spend more time with, their collaborating physician.
    The PA profession is a team-based profession so it is not surprising that collaborating physicians of PAs in hospital work settings are on-site 80% of the time, versus 60% for other PAs. It is also not surprising that when PAs in hospitals are working in a high acuity specialties (i.e., 36.5% work in surgical specialties), that the percentage of time consulting with a collaborating physician is 20% versus 5% for other PAs.
  7. PAs in hospitals are more satisfied with their career.
    About 2.3% more PAs in hospitals (83.9%) are satisfied with their career to the extent they would do it all over again versus 81.6% of PAs in other work settings.
  8. PAs in hospitals, except for emergency departments, see fewer patients per week compared to other PAs.
    Among PAs across all hospital work settings, the typical PAs reported seeing 50 patients per week at their primary job versus 75 for all other PAs (the median number of patients per week for all PAs in all settings is 63). When looking within the hospital setting, the department PAs are located in makes a difference. The greatest number of patients per week is 66 for PAs in emergency departments and the lowest is 40 for PAs in operating rooms as well as ICU or CCUs.
  9. Fewer PAs in hospitals take call but are on call more. 
    Seven out of 10 PAs (70.3%) in hospital settings report they did not take call in the previous year, versus 62.5% of all other PAs. But of PAs who took call, PAs in hospitals reported being on call more: there was a median of 48 hours of call per month versus 40 hours per month for PAs in settings other than a hospital.
  10. PAs in hospitals are more likely to be in leadership roles, and report having a career pathway.
    While the difference is small, it is statistically significant: 32.4% of PAs in hospitals, versus 29.3% of PAs in other work settings, reported being in a leadership role in the previous year. In addition, more PAs in hospitals have a path to leadership available to them. One-quarter (25.0%) of PAs in hospitals report that there is a career pathway in their organization, versus 16.3% of PAs in other work settings.

The author is Tim McCall, PhD, manager of research at AAPA. Contact him at [email protected].
About the data: All data within are derived from the 2017 AAPA Salary Survey.