Compensation Growth For NPs & PAs Outpace Physicians

Compensation Growth For NPs & PAs Outpace Physicians

Increasing demands on the healthcare industry make it a job seekers’ market, with physician assistants and nurse practitioners in particularly high demand, according to the Health eCareers’ 2016 Healthcare Salary Guide.

Physicians, executives, and physician assistants lead the healthcare profession in compensation. Average annual compensation increased by 2.5 percent among physicians and surgeons from 2015 to 2016 while executives saw a 12.9 percent decrease. Compensation for NPs and PAs has risen more than 5.3 percent.

Researchers surveyed nearly 20,000 healthcare professionals and found that 87 percent of respondents made more or the same compared to the year before. However, just 57 percent said they were happy with their current jobs and employers, while 43 percent reported actively looking for better opportunities and nearly 30 percent of those surveyed plan to change employers in the next year.

Top desires for new positions included higher compensation, more rewarding or challenging work, better working hours, and the desire to work for a different organization. Eighty-six percent of job seekers surveyed said they were very confident or somewhat confident about finding a new position within a year.

Among the highlights of the report:

  • Physicians and surgeons were the highest-paid, making $255,648 on average, which represents a 2.5 percent increase.
  • Executives were in second place; however their average salaries fell 12.9 percent from 2015 to $134,632.
  • PAs made an average of $105,856 and saw a bigger pay bump than doctors, at 4.3 percent.
  • Nurse practitioners saw an even higher bump of 5.3 percent, for an average salary of $100,549.
  • But nurses actually report a 3.1 percent decrease in pay, for an average salary of $61,875.

“It struck us that NPs and PAs received a higher pay bump than physicians,” said Bryan Bassett, Health eCareer’s Managing Director in a news release. “This could, at least in part, be attributed to the physician shortage, which is causing healthcare providers to hire NPs and PAs in larger numbers, and having to pay them more to be competitive.”

Where employees live also plays a role in their pay. Physicians in California are paid nearly $40,000 more a year than their Florida counterparts, and nurses in New York are paid over $7,000 more than those who work in Colorado.

Despite the stiffening staffing competition, employers’ use of incentives such as increased compensation, more paid time off, and flexible work hours rose only 1 percent over the past year, from 60 percent to 61 percent.

Here are the 2016 mean salaries and percent changes for 14 healthcare professions, according to the report.

  1. Physician/surgeon — $255,648 (up 2.5 percent)
  2. Executive — $134,632 (down 12.9 percent)
  3. Physician assistant — $105,856 (up 4.3 percent)
  4. Nurse practitioner — $100,549 (up 5.3 percent)
  5. Healthcare IT — $91,251 (up 2.2 percent)
  6. Academics/research — $90,584 (up 26.6 percent)
  7. Pharmacy — $78,327 (down 7.2 percent)
  8. Administrative/operations — $74,423 (up 20.4 percent)
  9. Occupational/physical therapy — $67,901 (up 0.1 percent)
  10. Nurse — $61,875 (down 3.1 percent)
  11. Radiologic technologist/imaging — $59,546 (up 0.2 percent)
  12. Dietician/nutritionist — $56,544 (up 9.1 percent)
  13. Counselor/social services — $54,175 (down 3.5 percent)
  14. Allied health — $49,658 (up 17.8 percent)

In 2015, 475,000 new healthcare jobs were created, and in the first quarter of 2016 alone, U.S. healthcare employers added another 112,000 professionals to their staffs.


You can download the full survey report here.