Health care has now become an increasingly vast profession that has lately been divided into so many diverse fields that it can often become difficult for aspirants to settle on one field. The nursing field isn’t tinny box, as you think. Nursing has many branches and of this is Therapist. So here we will understand the difference between physician and nurse practitioner. Both Regarding salary, education requirement and career outlook in the US.

Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners are two fields that are similar and in fact different in many ways.

People who take up healthcare and medicine can have a hard time deciding especially when it comes to fields like these where the prospects are very competitive.

The fields have been closely differentiated and by the end of this article, you should be well on your way to choosing what is best for you.

What is Physician Assistant?

So first of all, we will clear the concept of Physician and then comes towards its facts and figures.

  1. 2016 4th Best Most growing and highly Paid Job
  2. Work everywhere in clinics, hospitals and rehabilitation centers
  3. Assist in patent surgery and maintain operation environment
  4. Interpret Laboratory Tests
  5. High demand in most of Us state (California, Texas, Florida, Washington)
  6. Counsel patient regarding diagnosis any kind of medical issue

In survey shows only one year 320 million patient visits for getting assistance to Physician Nurse.

Average Salary: $97,667/Year

Career Outlook: Excellent

Highest Paid Salary State US: Pennsylvania, New York

Most Job Opening States: Georgia, Utah, Arizona, Virginia

Education Requirement

If you are a student and start the career with becoming physician assistant, then you should follow these steps to become.

Earn bachelor Degree

First of all, you should earn an undergraduate degree, here are some course subject must include in your degree. Before applying nursing career, you must experience in EMT, paramedic.

  1. Medical Terminology
  2. Healthcare Ethics
  3. Quantitative Methods
  4. Introduction to Healthcare

Step 2 (Earn Master Degree)

2 years online or on-campus Master degree in Physician Assistant required.  Make sure master degree through some accredited university.

  1. Physiology
  2. Pathology Clinical
  3. Medicine Medical
  4. Laws and Ethics
  5. Pharmacology

Step 3 (Certified)

NCCPA certification is necessary to enter this field, with state licensed through registered & legal center.

What is Nurse practitioner?

In the healthcare industry, nurse practitioner plays an important role.  I’m already writing the complete article about the practitioner. So Check out for more information.

Highest Nurse Practitioner Field:

You can earn as a practitioner above $178,998/ year

Dermatology Nurse: Usually between $45.00 to $55.00

Highly Paid State

Master degree required to become licensed through the registered institute.

Where to NP Work?

  • Cardiology
  • Emergency
  • Family practice
  • Geriatrics
  • Neonatology

Education and Training

The one key similarity between the two fields is that they both require a person to attain a high level of medical education.

Both these fields require a master’s degree at least and require a high amount of health care training at a recognized medical facility. The difference, however, lies in the difference between the kind of education and training attained.

Nurse Practitioners have an education that is more towards an ideal nursing model. These practitioners are experts in patients and their course of medical treatment in the longer run.

Physician Assistants, on the other hand, are experts in the actual treatment of the patients. Their education largely involves studying diseases and infections with a more focused approach.

A physician assistant may specialize in dermatology, surgery, or orthopedics etc. A nurse practitioner is more generalized in his or her work.

A physician assistant gains training while working with nurse practitioners whereas nurse practitioners may have it differently.

Nurse practitioners need a minimum educational qualification of a master’s degree whereas this may be optional for physician assistants.

Work Description of Nurse Practitioners vs Physician Assistants

A physician assistant may also choose to work with a specialized set of patients such as women (as is the case in gynecology), children, adults or families.

Nurse practitioners may also choose to work independently i.e., they can take up private practice and prescribe medicines. This is, however, not the case with physician assistants.

Physician assistants in most cases work with other senior medical professional such as surgeons or doctors in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and clinics.

Family nurse practitioners work most closely as independent practitioners who can also have a very lucrative career for themselves.

In general, physician assistants work as a hand that seconds a doctor or a senior medical professional in primary health care treatment whereas nurse practitioners independently focus on disease pathology and treatment of patients.

Salary and Career Prospects

Nurse practitioners are now recommended by the government to hold a Doctor of Nursing Practice title in the near future and they make an impressive average of about $104,000 per year.

Physician assistants earn about $2500 less than nurse practitioners, they make an average of $101,500 annually.

Both professionals are considered to express a high degree of job satisfaction in terms of work and monetary rewards.

The average growth in both careers is also expected to be about 30% which is a relatively very high number.

Which Career Should I Choose between Nurse Practitioner and Physician?

As per my research on both of these, this depends on particular state opportunity. For example, if you live in Pennsylvania & Georgia then you should select the career in Physicians due to increasing demand.

Overall job opportunity is high for the nurse practitioner in the US.

Important Note before Selection

Although practitioner makes more than PA but required at least 6 to 10 years of experience and an advanced degree.

On the other hand, Pas doesn’t require an advanced degree and such experience to become.


Sara Tancredi
Sara Tancredi BSN, MSN, has 10 years of professional experience in nurse educator. She specialized in occupational therapist & administering [...]
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