What to Expect in 2024 for Physician Assistant Jobs?

Expectations for Physician Assistant Jobs in 2024

Physician assistants (PAs) play a vital role in modern healthcare, and their demand is set to soar in 2024. This article explores the factors contributing to the rising demand for PAs, the challenges they face, and the promising future that awaits those pursuing this career path.

Overall Demand for PAs

The demand for physician assistants is projected to increase by 27% between 2022 and 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This translates to an additional 39,300 PA jobs across the United States, reaching a total employment of 187,300 by 2032.

Despite a 1% decrease in the growth rate compared to the previous decade, the field remains robust, with around 12,200 new job openings annually. U.S. News & World Report’s recognition of physician assistant jobs as the second-best healthcare job and fourth-best overall job in 2023 underscores the profession’s significance.

6 Factors Driving Increased PA Demand

Increased Demand for Healthcare: The aging population, particularly the baby boomers, contributes to a growing need for healthcare services. PAs play a crucial role in meeting this demand, allowing physicians to focus on urgent medical issues.

Growing Physician Shortage: The shortage of trained physicians is a significant driver of the increased demand for PAs. Factors such as the rising costs of medical education and resident shortages contribute to the need for PAs to fill the gap in patient care.

Restrictive Single-State Licenses: Current licensing requirements for PAs, which vary by state, may hinder access to care. Advocacy for a PA licensure compact aims to alleviate this by allowing PAs to practice across state lines with a single license.

Rising Healthcare Costs: Escalating healthcare costs prompt organizations to seek cost-effective solutions. PAs offer a viable option, with studies indicating cost savings of up to $2,000 for complex patient care when delivered by advanced practice providers.

Reaching Underserved Communities: PAs are well-suited to address the healthcare needs of underserved populations, particularly in rural areas where access to medical care is limited. The proposed PA licensure compact could facilitate easier deployment of PAs to these areas.

Social Determinants of Health: Recognizing the impact of social determinants on health outcomes, PAs are increasingly involved in addressing these factors in patient care. This has led to the creation of positions like SDOH care coordinators, contributing to the rise in demand for PAs.

In-Demand PA Specialties

Analyzing data from October 2023, in-demand specialties for staff PAs include family practice, gastroenterology, hospitalist, orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, and urgent care. Travel PA specialties posting high demand during the same period were general surgery and cardiology. PAs specializing in cardiovascular/cardiothoracic surgery have also become sought-after, addressing the significant burden of cardiovascular disease.

PA Employment Opportunities by State

States with higher populations, such as California, New York, and Texas, offer more opportunities for PAs. Metropolitan areas like New York-Newark-Jersey City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have the highest employment rates for PAs.

Average PA Salary Data

As of October 2023, the average hourly salary for staff PAs nationwide is around $80, with variations based on factors like experience, specialty, and location. The highest reported hourly wage was $87 in Oklahoma, while salaries for top staff PA jobs ranged from $105,000 to $150,000 annually.

Highest-Paying PA Specialties

Cardiovascular/cardiothoracic surgery stands out as the highest-paying specialty, with an average hourly wage of $86.54. Despite representing only 2.3% of PA employment, this specialty commands the highest compensation.

Travel Physician Assistant Salary Data

For travel PAs, the average weekly rate is $2,191, with paediatrics offering higher pay at around $3,199 per week. Pennsylvania, particularly in Danville, emerges as a location with the highest average salary for travel PAs.


The outlook for physician assistant jobs in 2024 is promising, driven by increased demand, evolving healthcare needs, and the invaluable role PAs play in addressing these challenges. As the profession continues to expand and adapt, aspiring PAs can look forward to a dynamic and rewarding career in healthcare.

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