Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

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United States of America is already facing acute shortage of medical professionals and nurses, due to growth of population at a steady rate, rise of ageing population and baby booms. Most of the facilities all over America are passing through nurse’s shortage phenomena.

Therefore, career opportunities in medical and nursing fields are great but choosing any specific medical field is not easy. For example, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are in great demand in US but you might be in a dilemma, which one to choose? You might be wondering Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant, which one is better for your career? Though both are health care providers and have almost similar job functions but their practice field and salary is different. Both Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants works independently or under the supervision of a physician or a doctor, but their entry-level salary differs as PAs are paid better than for NPs.

Practice difference Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner

A Physician Assistant is a licensed health care provider and practices under the direct or indirect supervision of a licensed physician, offering common health care services that are specified for physician assistants to perform.

A Nurse Practitioner is advanced practicing RN, might be specialized in any specific field and completed advanced nursing education and training. A Nurse Practitioner practices by offering a wide array of health care services, though different states have their own rules and regulations defining their scope of practice. In few states, NPs are allowed to practice independently, prescribing medications.

Trainings Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics,, the accreditation for a Physician Assistant program is provided by the American Academy of Physician Assistants, which might have duration of two years for completion. A Physician Assistant is required to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and only graduates of an accredited Physician Assistant program are eligible to sit for the exam.

A NP must hold a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree and pass the NCLEX-RN licensure examination and must be a RN to become a Nurse Practitioner. They can then opt for Masters Degree or Doctorate degree, or pursue advanced studies in any specialized field.


An entry level or less than 1 year experienced Physician Assistant earns around $69,381 and independent working PA makes nearly $87,279 annually.

An entry level or less than 1 year experienced Nurse Practitioner’s salary range is nearly $66,328 annually, though few even earn $85,500, depending upon the employers.