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 salarynurse midwife salarynurse 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
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