2016 nurse practitioner and physician assistant salary survey

  • The average PA makes $6,754 more than the average NP.

  • Family medicine was the most popular practice area for NPs (24.1%), but cardiology practitioners (4.5%) had higher salaries.

  • Although dermatology was the least popular practice area (3.4%), dermatology PAs made nearly $134,000.

  • On average, NPs practicing for 6-10 years (16.4%) made $2,438 more than NPs practicing for 11-15 years (20.1%).

  • The most significant salary variation was found between PAs practicing for 16-20 years (13.8%) and PAs practicing for 5 years or less (23.9%).

  • For another year, the highest NP salaries can be found in the West.

  • The highest PA salaries can be found in the West. The lowest salaries can be found in the Midwest.

  • Urban NPs made $3,501 more than their rural counterparts.

  • A majority of PAs reported practicing in an urban setting, and on average made nearly $1,300 more than rural PAs.

  • Male NPs reported making $14,736 more than their female colleagues.

  • A large pay gap still exists between male and female PAs; male PAs report making $17,223 more on average.

  • Although office practice was the most popular practice location for NPs (34.8%), NPs in office practices reported lower salaries than those in stand alone clinics (22.2%) and walk-in/ambulatory care (6.1%).

  • Over a quarter of PA respondents (25.4%) report practicing in stand alone clinics.

  • 57% of 2,139 NPs reported making more money this year compared to last.

  • PAs reported making more money this year as well; 54% compared to 49% in 2015.

  • 54% of NPs expect to earn more money next year, while 3% expect to earn less.

  • A little over half of PAs expect to earn more in 2017. 5% expect to earn less.

  • The average NP sees between 26 and 50 patients per week (30.4%).

  • 24.7% of PAs report seeing between 51 and 75 patients per week; 6.3% of PAs report seeing over 125 patients on a weekly basis.

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By Lauren Biscaldi and Colby Stong


A majority of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) earned a higher income than they did in 2014-2015, according to results from The Clinical Advisor's 2016 annual salary survey. About 57% of NPs reported that they received a raise this year, while 54% of PAs had a raise.


The average salaries in 2015-2016 for NPs and PAs are:

Nurse Practitioners: $101,989
Physician Assistants: $108,743


Family medicine remains top practice area

Family medicine continued to be the top practice area among NPs (24.1%) and PAs (18.8%) this year. The second most common specialty area for NPs was pediatrics (5.5%), while emergency medicine (8.0%) was the second most common category for PAs.


Survey responders are getting younger on average, as the top experience level for NPs and PAs was those having 5 or fewer years experience: 32.1% of NP responders have 5 or fewer years of experience, and 23.9% of PA responders have 5 or fewer years of experience.


The West continues to be the region with the highest salaries for NPs and PAs, and those who work in urban areas continue to make more than their colleagues who work in rural and suburban areas.


How the results were analyzed

We asked our readers to provide their current salaries, which included base pay and bonuses, in increments of $5,000. The salaries were then converted to the midpoint within that category (for example, salaries in the $71,000 to $75,000 category were converted to $73,000).


This year, to be more precise with our results, we expanded our salary categories to include increments of $5,000 beginning with $0 to $5,000. And we added categories in $5,000 increments from $150,000 to $200,000.


The findings are based on analysis of 2,139 NPs who responded to the NP survey and 832 PAs who responded to the PA survey.

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