The PA profession grew by 76% in the past decade, from 95,583 board-certified PAs in 2013 to 168,318 by the end of 2022, according to the latest Statistical Profile of Certified PAs published by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

The average income for PAs increased by 9% from $110,567 in 2018 to $120,204 in 2022. The vast majority of PAs (94%) work in clinical practice and treat an estimated 10.4 million patients each week.

The top 3 practice areas for PAs in 2022 were surgical subspecialties (19%), family medicine/general practice (17%), and emergency medicine (11%). The majority of PAs work in hospitals (42%), followed by office-based private practices (37%), and urgent care (5.6%). Most PAs practice in urban settings (93%), with few in large rural (4%), small rural (2%), or isolated rural (1%) settings.

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Increased use of telemedicine stemming from the pandemic was also evident in the report, which showed that 40% of PAs used telemedicine in 2022 compared with 9% in 2018. Sixty-two percent of practices or institutions said they participate in telemedicine services.  

Key PA Practice Trends in the NCCPA Report

Psychiatry and critical care medicine had the greatest proportional increases among PA specialties between 2018 to 2022 (1.5% to 2.2% and 1.5% to 2.0%, respectively)
States with the highest growth in PA numbers were Mississippi (47.6%), South Carolina (45.9%), and Indiana (44.1%)
In 2022, there were 51 PAs per 100,000 population compared with 40 per 100,000 in 2018
63% of PAs said their employers are currently in the process of recruiting or hiring additional PAs
23% of PAs provide care to people living in areas deemed Health Professional Shortage Areas or Medically Underserved Areas
32% of PAs reported feeling one or more symptoms of burnout
52% of PAs see patients on the weekend or evenings
29% of PAs have $100,000 or more in educational debt

High Levels of Job Satisfaction Reported

Job satisfaction rates were high among PAs, with 87% of respondents indicating they are satisfied with their career (including responses ranging from satisfied to completely satisfied). Additionally, 84% of PAs are satisfied with their current job.

“High career and job satisfaction are one of the reasons the PA profession is one of the fastest growing and highly rated health care roles in the US,” Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C, ICE-CCP, FACHE, said. “Over their careers, more than half of PAs change clinical positions at least one time, demonstrating how versatile and adaptable the role is across different clinical settings and specialties.”

As with many medical professions, burnout is still a concern among PAs with 32% reporting one or more symptoms of burnout including physical and emotional exhaustion. PAs working in community health centers had the highest levels of burnout (41%) and those in office-based private practice had the lowest levels (29%). Less than 10% said they intended to leave their principal clinical position in the next 12 months with the top reasons for this change being to seek another PA position (57%), feelings of professional burnout (43%), and sufficient wages given the workload and responsibilities (40%).

Minority Populations Are Still Underrepresented

“Although we’ve seen tremendous growth in the PA profession over this past decade, little progress has been made in matching the PA profession’s race and ethnicity composition to the patient population,” Dr Morton-Rias said. The vast majority of respondents identified as White (80%); only 3% identified as Black/African American (no change from 2018) and 7% identified as Hispanic (a 6% increase since 2018).

Most respondents identified as female (71%), followed by male (29%), and nonbinary (<0.1%).


National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. 2022 Statistical Profile of Board Certified PAs: Annual Report. Accessed May 1, 2023.

National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. PA Profession Surges in Last Decade. April 31, 2023. Accessed May 1, 2023.