With Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) having some similar duties, many considering these healthcare careers are curious about the salary difference. Both fields can prescribe medication, perform diagnostic tests, and assess patients. Both practices must complete advanced education programs, with NPs attending nursing school and PAs attending medical school. Since these degree programs are neither easy nor inexpensive, salary might be an important factor in deciding which career to pursue.

RELATED: NP vs PA

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the 2018 median pay for Nurse Practitioners is roughly $140,000 per year or $53 per hour. In comparison, 2017 median pay for Physician Assistants is over $108,000 per year or $52 per hour. It is worth noting that salary can widely differ from state to state. The top-paying states for NPs include California, Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts andNew York with mean annual salaries ranging from roughly $118,000 to $127,000.

The lowest paying states for NPs include Alabama, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee with median annual salaries between roughly $95,000 to $96,000.

In comparison, the top-paying states for PAs include Connecticut, Washington, Alaska, New Jersey, and Nevada, with the mean annual salary ranging from roughly $119,000 to $126,000.

The lowest paying states for PAs include Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Rhode Island, and Kentucky, which have a median annual salary ranging from roughly $90,000 to $94,000.

Learn more about APRN salaries: nurse practitioner salary, nurse midwife salary, nurse anesthetist salary

In addition to the projected salary, it is significant to note the proposed outlook for each job. The BLS predicts over 25% growth of employment for NPs and over 30% growth for PAs from 2018 to 2028. This is much faster than the average growth for all occupations. With an increased need for advanced-degree healthcare professionals, as well as an increased focus on preventative care and an increasingly aging population, the job outlook for both careers looks bright.

Amanda Bucceri Androus RN, BSN

Amanda Bucceri Androus RN, BSN

Amanda Bucceri Androus is a Registered Nurse from Sacramento, California. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in nursing. She began her career working night shifts on a pediatric/ med-surg unit for six years, later transferring to a telemetry unit where she worked for four more years. She currently works as a charge nurse in a busy outpatient primary care department. In her spare time she likes to read, travel, write, and spend time with her husband and two children.
Amanda Bucceri Androus RN, BSN

Latest posts by Amanda Bucceri Androus RN, BSN

Our Visitors Found These Nursing Topics Useful

The Do's and Do Not's of Getting Accepted into Nursing School

How Do I Get Accepted into Nursing School? Over the last decade nursing school acceptance has become increasingly difficult. The call for individuals to join the ranks of registered nurses has been answered, in spades. As a result of this,…

Improving Cultural Competence in Nurses

In a world moving toward globalization more than ever before, nurses must strive to connect to not only patients of differing cultural beliefs, but to colleagues as well. Culturally competent care is the cornerstone of nursing care to best reduce…

Male Nurse Drinking Coffee on Break

Are Breaks and the 12-Hour Shift Being Dealt a Bad Hand?

When Senator Maureen Walsh made a flippant remark this week about nurses playing cards during their shifts, nurses across the globe went crazy. But for those who actually reviewed the footage of the now-sorry senator from Washington state, the request…

A Shortcut to Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered Nurses are in Demand The demand for registered nurses is high. With the aging Baby Boomers population requiring medical care and with many nursing reaching the age or retirement, RN positions need to be filled. Hospitals, skilled nursing facilities,…

Why is Fingerprinting Required for Your Nursing License?

Boards of Nursing are challenged to protect the health and welfare of the public by assuring that only competent and safe nursing care is being provided by licensed nurses of high moral character. Moral character can be assessed through a…