Physician Assistants: Arizona Salaries, Job Outlook, and PA Week 2014

We are soon approaching Physician Assistants’ Week. In light of this yearly celebration of PAs throughout the nation, we thought we’d highlight this excellent career.

Physician Assistants’ History

The Physician Assistant profession was first proposed to the American Medical Association in 1961 and the first graduating class of Physician Assistants was in 1967. The curriculum was based on the fast-track training of medical doctors during WWII. As of October 2013, there were 181 accredited PA programs in the United States. The first Physician Assistant employer was the Veterans Administration. Now, physicians’ offices, physicians’ clinics, hospitals, and many other facilities commonly employ PAs.

Physician Assistants in Healthcare

Physician assistants primarily work in hospitals and doctors’ offices under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. PAs work directly with patients to examine, diagnose, and provide therapeutic and preventative health care services. Additionally, most states allow PAs to prescribe medication. If the physician assistant specializes in surgery assistance, the PA typically is responsible for preoperative and postoperative care.

According to the 2013 American Academy of Physician Assistants Annual Survey:

  • Every year a typical Physician Assistant will treat 3,500 patients and write 2,600 – 5,200 prescriptions
  • Physician Assistants that work within healthcare teams typically work with an average of four physicians, three other PAs, and one NP.
  • 86% of Physician Assistants report high job satisfaction.

If you would like to be placed in a healthcare job within the United States, please fill out the form below or call us at 602-468-6300.

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Physician Assistant Job Outlook

Since 2006, the PA profession has grown 34% and has a higher than average growth expectation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Physician Assistant jobs are some of the most favored in the country. US News & World Report’s “Best Jobs of 2014” lists Physician Assistant careers as the 8th best healthcare job for 2014, stating a high growth projection, low unemployment rate, and excellent salaries as contributing factors to this ranking.

CNN’s 2013 report on the “Best Jobs in America” ranks Physician Assistants as the 21st out of 100 jobs. Stating those with a Physician Assistant career typically rank their personal satisfaction and benefit to society as an “A”.

In 2012, Forbes “Best and Worst Masters Degrees for Jobs” reports Physician Assistants Studies as the No. 1 Best Masters Degree. This ranking is based on mid-career salaries and employment projections.

According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, there are currently more than 2,200 PAs in Arizona at present, out of 93,000 PAs in the United States. This is a higher per-state number than 35 other states and this is an increase from the reported number of 2,041 from the AAPA’s 2010 Physician Assistant Census Report.

Physician Assistant Salaries in Arizona

Within Arizona, the median salaries for Physician Assistants in 2010 were:

  • Phoenix – Mesa – Scottsdale, Arizona: $85,310
  • Prescott: $79,660
  • Tucson: $89,440
  • Yuma: $89,590
  • North Arizona nonmetropolitan area: $88,570
  • Southeast Arizona nonmetropolitan area: $83,340

In Arizona, the longer a PA has been in their career, the higher their pay. The median pay per years of experience in Arizona is:

  • <1 year: $75,000
  • 1-4 years: $89,000
  • 5-9 years: $95,000
  • >10 years: $105,200

Source: American Academy of Physician Assistants 2010 Salary Report

PA Week, 2014


It’s almost time for National Physician Assistant Week, which happens yearly in the US from October 6 through October 12 to commemorate the first graduating class of Physician Assistants, which was at Duke University on October 6, 1967.

One of the hallmark events of this week is a gathering at New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza to appear on NBC’s “Today” Show to celebrate PA Week. This event is sponsored by the AAPA. Learn more about this PA Week event here.

Visit the AAPA website to learn even more about National Physician Assistant Week.

Related Information

Physician Assistant Jobs in Arizona

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Top Healthcare Jobs

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