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I’m often asked questions about the nurse practitioner and physician assistant professions and how they relate. In what way are roles for NPs and PAs different? How does the nurse practitioner education compare with that of a physician assistant? And, of course, there’s the inevitable salary question – how does compensation for NPs and PAs compare? Since salaries vary significantly by location, it can be helpful to answer that last question by looking at compensation data for each specific state.

If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, hiring an NP or PA, or are just plain curious, we’ve gathered compensation data showing the average NP and PA salaries by state from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The following table indicates how salaries for the two professions compare. Nurse practitioners are paid more than physician assistants in states listed in green and NPs are paid less on average than PAs in states listed in red. Please not that by performing a salary comparison, this post is not meant to position the NP and PA professions against each other in a competitive or adversarial light. Rather, it is simply meant to show compensation trends for the purposes of general interest. 

In most states, NPs and PAs have pretty similar compensation, differing by no more than a few thousand dollars. In 28 states, nurse practitioners earn more than physician assistants. In 22 states, PAs earn more than NPs. Remember, this table depicts state averages. Salaries for both NPs and PAs can deviate significantly from average rates depending on specific geographic area, years of experience and specialty. 

Do nurse practitioners or physician assistants earn more in your state?


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