While I have worked as an emergency department nurse practitioner with the same company for nearly three years, I have yet to receive a raise.  I’m not complaining as my employer pays very fairly compared to the market rate for NPs.  But, with my three year employment anniversary looming I began to wonder, just how much do NP and PA salaries change depending on years of experience?

Overall, your job as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant remains largely the same over time.  While other types of employees may work their way up the corporate ladder within their businesses, NPs and PAs don’t change their job descriptions over the years.  Yes, your employer may trust you with higher acuity patients as your skill level increases or expand your duties within the hospital or clinic, but ultimately your job is to diagnose and treat patients.

So, just how much do years of experience impact your income?  Check out the following data taken from a 2012 Clinical Advisor Survey.

Nurse Practitioner Salary by Experience Level





Physician Assistant Salary by Experience Level

While this data might be a bit depressing- as an NP or PA it seems you shouldn’t expect a raise as you become more experienced- there are a few things you can do to give your earnings a boost.

First, you can switch practice settings.  Working in a different area of medicine not only keeps your job interesting but may also lead to a larger paycheck.  For example, transitioning to the emergency department rather than working in a primary care clinic will add thousands of dollars to your annual income.

Second, consider participating in opportunities outside the clinical setting.  Teaching a course at a local university, for example, adds variety to your work and also brings in a few dollars on the side.  Some companies interested in implementing wellness programs may also hire a nurse practitioner or physician assistant to lead weekly health discussions.  Administrative healthcare positions are another natural avenue to consider and can lead to a larger paycheck.

Although NPs and PAs can’t expect to significantly increase their salaries with experience, overall the profession pays very well and will continue to do so.  After all, there aren’t many professions where you can earn nearly $90,000 right out of school.


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2 thoughts on “How Much Will Your NP or PA Salary Change With Experience?”

  • my 1st NP job started at 104k without a raise in 2 yrs. I am wondering if the market expects to plateau the wages even as the MDs going into family are fewer each year and the demand for NP/PA is increasing- yet wages stagnate. weird supply/demand that doesn’t make sense.
    Owning your own and moving the payscale upward yourself seems to be the most dramatic way to increases versus waiting 20 yrs

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