New Report Showcases Physician Assistants in 23 Specialties

Highlights the movement of PAs into complex practice areas

JOHNS CREEK, Ga.--()--Certified PAs are heavily integrated on health care teams in every specialty, according to the 2017 Statistical Report of Certified Physician Assistants by Specialty.

The percentage of PAs working in surgical sub-specialties increased over 70 percent since 2013. Other high growth areas include emergency medicine and hospital medicine, indicating that PAs treat highly complex patients with serious and even, life-threatening, illnesses and injuries.

The statistics also seem to indicate that PAs are filling the physician shortage gap, especially in non-primary care specialties.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • Growth in Practice Specialties
    The number of PAs in all practice specialties has grown over 13 percent since NCCPA published the 2015 specialty report.
  • PA Impact
    Today there are 128 certified PAs per 1,000 physicians, an increase of over 23 percent in three years. In some specialties that number can be much higher. For example, there are 621 certified PAs per 1,000 physicians in occupational medicine; 537 per 1,000 in orthopaedic surgery, 390 per 1,000 in neurosurgery, and 320 per 1,000 in dermatology.
  • Emerging Specialties
    The report includes the latest Information on emerging specialties, such as addiction medicine and hospice/palliative care.
  • PA Salary Information
    The average salary PAs across specialties is almost $108,000.

The report, published by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), is the most comprehensive data available anywhere on PA practice patterns.

“The PA profession has changed dramatically, in numbers, demographics and scope of practice, since its founding more than 50 years ago,” says Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D., PA-C, president and CEO of NCCPA.

“As demand for specialty services increases, physician leaders are looking to increase certified PAs to health care teams because of their reputation for quality care.”

About the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only certifying organization for physician assistants (PAs) in the United States. The PA-C credential is awarded by NCCPA to PAs who fulfill certification, certification maintenance and recertification requirements. There are more than 123,000 certified PAs in the U.S. today. NCCPA also administers the Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) program for experienced certified PAs practicing in seven specialties. For more information about certified PAs, visit


Mary Rittle, Director of Communications

Release Summary

NCCPA's Statistical Report of Certified PAs by Specialty reports that PAs are heavily integrated into healthcare teams in virtually every specialty.


Mary Rittle, Director of Communications