Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant: Who Has the Better Salary?
So you want to become a nurse practitioner. or a physician assistant. The lines between these two professions are becoming increasingly blurred, however some differences do exist. How do you choose? I will begin to discuss the differences between these two professions in a series of blog posts. Lets start with the $$!
Advance for NP’s and PA’s published an excellent comparison of 2011 NP and PA salaries. The following is a review of their findings. From 2010 to 2011, both nurse practitioner and physician assistant salaries declined but at significantly varying degrees. Nurse practitioner salaries declined by just $187 while physician assistant salaries were reduced by $2,006. Career expert Renee Dahring believes this is because PA’s have been traditionally overrepresented in specialty fields. NP’s are beginning to enter specialty practice in higher numbers. The influx of nurse practitioners into this job market has resulted in depressed salaries for physician assistants.
Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant Salary Comparison
In 2011, the average full-time salary for nurse practitioners was $90,583 while the average salary for physician assistants was $94,870. The average hourly rate for nurse practitioners was $47.63/ hour versus $50.52/ hour for physician assistants.
Practice Setting Salary Comparison
The most important factor in determining nurse practitioner and physician assistant salaries is practice setting. Practice setting can account for an over $45,000/ year salary differential .
The takeaway? Both the nurse practitioner and physician assistant professions provide excellent salaries. Although physician assistant salaries are currently higher than those of nurse practitioners, physician assistant salaries are decreasing at a faster rate. I predict the salaries will continue to reflect each other more closely. Check out Advance for NP’s and PA’s for further salary comparison charts.
Nurse Practitioner Programs in Pennsylvania: Facts Figures
The Health Resources and Services Administration keeps close track of what it refers to as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), or counties that do not have enough health professionals to adequately serve their populations. There are numerous of these HPSAs across the state of Pennsylvania, and like many states in the U.S. there is a distinct need for nurse practitioners there.
The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing handles all applications for nurse licensure in the state, including applications to be licensed as a:
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), including Nurse Practitioners
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse with Prescriptive Authority (APRN-Rx)
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Nursing Licensure in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is not a member-state of the Nurse Licensure Compact. so nurses who are licensed in another state must reapply for local licensure if they wish to practice in Pennsylvania. The steps for application are outlined below, and more detailed instructions can be found at the website of the Pennsylvania Department of State.
- Complete the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN), administered by the National Council of state boards of nursing (NCSBN).
- Submit all required paperwork, including transcripts from nursing college or training program and any previous licenses you have held.
- Submit to a criminal background check.
- Renew your license every two years using the application instructions available on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website .
- Fulfill continuing education requirements every two years, and submit proof of this along with your renewal application.
Average Nursing Salaries in Pennsylvania
All salary data is as of May 2011.
The mean annual wage for RNs in the state of Pennsylvania is $67,140, which is below the national mean, but at least in the same ballpark. The state’s metropolitan areas show a wide range of wages for nurses, possibly due to major differences in population density and relative income in the different regions.
The table below compares the mean annual salaries for RNs in Pennsylvania against those in the metropolitan areas of the state, and against the U.S. as a whole. All data has been provided by The Bureau of Labor Statistics .
The Cost of Nurse Anesthetist School
What is the cost of nurse anesthetist school?
Nurse Anesthetist Programs can range from Tuition Freeup to $178,000.
It’s important to note that for CRNA schools that charge out of state tuition. the CRNA program will be listed twice ; first for the in state tuition cost and then for the out of state tuition cost.
Cost of Nurse Anesthetist School
Nurse anesthetist programs are listed by Total Cost of the entire program rather than tuition cost by semester or quarter. Total cost listed is a calculation of tuition + fees and expenses incurred over the entire duration of the program. It is based on information available on each school s website.
The calculation of fees and expenses: Often includes AANA membership fees, certification fees, and clinical fees.
It always includes the cost of textbooks and supplies. When schools do not offer an estimate of this cost, I assume a cost of $2,000 for text books, as this is fairly average.
It never includes housing, travel or basic living expenses, as those vary a great deal from student to student and that data is not always available on program websites. It also does not include the cost of a computer/ laptop or smartphone (which are often either required or recommended).
Though the calculation of nurse anesthetist programs tuition and fees gives you a great idea of how much it will cost you to complete your degree, it does not include every expense you will incur while in one of these nurse anesthetist programs.
Also, beware that cost of nurse anesthetist school is usually NOT an indicator of the quality of education offered. Rather, it reflects where each school gets their primary funding.
There are many instances where the cheapest schools perform far superior to the more expensive schools.
Some students come out two-three years later completely debt free, while others begin their careers as CRNAs strapped with crippling student loan debt.
and some who pay top dollar for their education end up not feeling prepared for their new career, while others who pay the lowest price (or get through tuition free) are the most confident.
Most people make assumptions about school cost that are simply unfounded.
If you want to find a low cost of nurse anesthetist school, paired with excellence in education, you ll want to search the CRNA School Spreadsheet. You ll find your perfect school in minutes, rather than wasting days or months, and still not getting it right.
Cost of Nurse Anesthetist School $0-20k
FREE TUITION + full time salary in exchange for an active duty service commitment of 5 years U.S. Army Graduate Program in Nursing Anesthesia. Texas
$2,100 PER MONTH STIPEND + LOAN REPAYMENT UP TO 50,000 for joining the Army Reserves. Also, compare Army Reserves vs. Active Duty
Cost of Nurse Anesthetist School $20k-30k
$24,818 In State Tuition University of Akron College of Nursing. Ohio Please note: This total does not include the 23 core graduate courses that can be taken in any order. Please see the tuition link to determine what your additional cost will be.
Cost of Nurse Anesthetist School $30k-40k
$35,789 In State Tuition State University New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center. New York. Program is voluntarily closing 5/31/2016.
$37,413 Out of State Tuition University of Akron College of Nursing. Ohio Please note: This total does not include the 23 core graduate courses that can be taken in any order. Please see the tuition link to determine what your additional cost will be.
Cost of Nurse Anesthetist School $40k-50k
$40,379 In State Tuition University of North Dakota. North Dakota
$41,376 Out of State Tuition Virginia Commonwealth University: Post-Master s DNAP, Virginia