Survey: Calif. Physician Assistants Have High Salaries, Student Debt
Physician assistants in California earn higher-than-average salaries but also have high amounts of student debt, according to a survey by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, Payers & Providers reports (Shinkman, Payers & Providers, 10/29).
Details of Survey
About 3,405 PAs who were actively licensed as of 2013 responded to the survey.
The survey included questions regarding:
- Characteristics of patients seen by physician assistants;
- Education; and
- Provider information.
Some of the results were compared with a similar OSHPD survey conducted in 1998 (OSHPD survey, September 2014).
PAs in California earn an average of $103,708 annually, compared with the national average of $90,930, according to the survey.
However, about one-third of respondents said their student debt was higher than $61,000, and about 50% said their debt was at least $31,000.
Meanwhile, the survey found varying demographics among PAs:
- More than 57% are female, up from 51% in 1998;
- About 5% are black, down from 8% in 1998;
- About 14% are Latino; and
- The average age of a PA is 49 years old, compared with 41 years old in 1998.
In addition, 59% of respondents said they are not fluent in a second language.
PAs in California now are more likely to enter emergency medicine than in 1998. Specifically, the survey found that about 15% of PAs in the state are involved in emergency medicine, compared with 12.8% in 1998. Meanwhile, the number of PAs in family medicine has fallen to 38%, down from 45% in 1998 (Payers & Providers, 10/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.