COVID-19 Leads to Slight Dip in Annual Physician Assistant Compensation

2021 AAPA Salary Report Finds Decrease from $111,000 in 2019 to $110,000 in 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After years of steady growth, PA (physician assistant) median compensation decreased slightly in 2020, falling from $111,000 in 2019 to $110,000 due in part to reduced hourly wages resulting from COVID-19, according to the 2021 American Academy of PAs (AAPA) Salary Report.

While compensation (which includes base salary, hourly wages, or some form of productivity pay) dropped, the median annual base salary remained steady at $110,000.

Three in seven (42%) full-time PAs reported a change to their hours worked in 2020 compared to 2019 due to COVID-19.

The report found that nationwide, among full-time PAs:

  • One in seven PAs experienced an increase in hours.
  • One in seven PAs experienced a decrease in hours.
  • One in seven PAs maintained their average work hours in spite of COVID-19 impacts.
  • Four in seven PAs did not experience an impact on their hours specifically due to COVID-19.

The survey also found that over one in seven PA respondents to the survey (14.9%) became infected with COVID-19.

“Like all healthcare providers, America’s PAs rose to the unprecedented challenges COVID-19 brought in 2020,” said AAPA President and Chair of the Board Beth R. Smolko, DMSc, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA. “The 2021 AAPA Salary Report gives PAs and their employers national insight into how the past year affected the profession. A reduction in hours for one in seven PAs during a pandemic underscores why AAPA is pursuing permanent changes to states’ PA practice laws throughout the country. These outdated laws are a barrier to PAs practicing medicine to their full potential. It is critically important that state laws enable PAs to practice at the top of their education, training, and experience. Our overburdened healthcare system simply cannot afford to miss opportunities to deploy PAs when and where patients need us most. Now is the time for states to modernize PA practice.”

The 2021 AAPA Salary Report unveiled other COVID-19 impacts on the PA profession, including use of telehealth. The profession saw telehealth usage increase more than 550% from 2019 to 2020. 62.8% of all respondents to the 2021 AAPA Salary Survey reported using telehealth in their practice in 2020. 53.3% reported still using it, while 9.5% reported using it at some point in 2020 but had stopped prior to responding to their survey.

AAPA released a digital version of its salary report today; the full report will be available in July. The AAPA Salary Report is the only PA salary resource that provides detailed information about base salary, base hourly wage, bonus, and benefits. The report provides detailed breakdowns based on experience, specialty, setting, and employer. Data for this report were collected through the 2021 AAPA Salary Survey between February 1 and March 1, 2021. The survey was open to all PAs, and 13,865 PAs responded to the survey. For more information on the methodology, please contact


Media Contact: Jenni Roberson, 703.380.2764


About the American Academy of PAs
AAPA is the national membership organization for all PAs. PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. Learn more about the profession at and engage through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.


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