Neurologist assistants are physician assistants who’ve specialized in neurology. Like any other PA, these specialists diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments to their patients, but the majority of their work focuses on disorders of the nervous system. As with many medical professionals, specializing in a branch of medicine improves earnings.
On average, PAs earned $92,460 a year in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was an increase of roughly 3 percent from the previous year, when salaries averaged at $89,470. A survey by Advance, an online resource for health care professionals, found that PAs specializing in neurology earned $81,762 a year, as of 2009. A more recent survey by Advance groups neurology with all other nonsurgical or non-emergency specialties, and sets salaries at $93,506 a year, as of 2011. The job site Indeed provides an even higher figure for 2013, estimating the average at $123,00 a year.
As with almost any occupation, earnings vary by location. Of the states, some of the highest wages for neurologist assistants were in New York, where the average was $149,000 a year. Those working in New York City fared even better, at an average of $159,000 a year. Neurologist assistants in Massachusetts averaged $144,000, while those in California earned $133,000 annually. Some of the lowest reported wages were in South Dakota, where the average was just $91,000 a year.
The relatively high wages are at least partly due to education. In addition to a four-year undergraduate degree, physician assistants must graduate from PA school, which generally lasts about two years. To become a neurologist assistant, additional education is necessary. PA graduates must go on to a postgraduate education programs. The length of these programs varies by educational institution.
The BLS expects employment for physician assistants to be favorable. Between 2010 and 2020, the occupation is expected to grow by as much as 30 percent. This is more than twice the rate of all U.S. occupations, an average of 14 percent. Being a relatively small field, however, the anticipated growth works out to the creation of nearly 25,000 new jobs. Expect the greatest prospects for PAs willing to relocate to rural and under-served areas in the nation.