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

What Are the Pros and Cons of Dual Degree Nursing Programs?In the United States, Dual Degree Nursing Programs (or DDNPs), sometimes called Combined Degrees, are degrees that mix nursing education…

Female nurse studying at computer.

Are You a Next Gen Nurse? Prepare for the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) Questions Now!When 65% of the medical errors involving nurses are related to poor clinical decision-making, it is high time to change…

Woman nurse studying at her computer.

Do Women’s Only RN to BSN Programs Exist?Nursing and women's-only colleges have a long, shared history. Up until the beginning of the 19th century, women generally were…

Map for travel nurse.

Is Travel Nursing the Right Adventure for You?Jetting off to a tropical location or new city for a few months while getting paid top dollar can be…

CVOR nurse in the the operator room with other doctors and nurses.

What Is CNOR and Why Should You Go For It?The Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI) is an organization that focuses on perioperative professional certifications for nurses. CCI identifies the…