Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician’s assistants (PA) are two of the most popular jobs in the healthcare field today. Interestingly, despite their clear differences, many people do not know what the right job is for them. As such, we will look at a head-to-head comparison of both jobs and how to decide what the right choice is for you.


One of the biggest factors of comparison is remuneration. Believe it or not, there is a slight difference in the remuneration packages of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. According to a recent survey, the average PA with less than 5 years of experience earns over $91, 000.The average NP with less than 5 years of experience earns over $88, 000. With over 10 years of experience, NPs can expect to earn over $96, 000 while PAs can expect $101, 000.


Contrary to popular belief, NPs have a nursing background with a master’s degree.  They can spend a significantly longer time acquiring their certification. On the other hands, PA’s traditionally have a 2 – 4 years of collegiate level experience and most earn a bachelors degree.  As a PA, you may require 100 hours of Category 1 continuing medical education (CME) every 2 years and exam every 6 years.


One of the biggest differences between NPs and PAs is how specialized they are. Most PAs concentrate on a 2-year program after acquiring their bachelor’s degree and learn a large amount of information. As such, they can adapt and perform a wide variety of tasks.

NPs on the other hand are usually highly specialized. Known as advanced registered nurses to many, they acquire a high degree of specialization.

On the whole, PAs have broader horizons of knowledge and experience in different departments while NPs’ experience is limited to their area of specialization.

If you want to work with a broad number of people, learning a vast array of new things, then perhaps becoming a PA is best. However, if you love specializing and mastering one field, then becoming a NP is a better choice.

Type of Work

One of the biggest differences in both NPs and PAs is the type of work they do and the mindset they have. NPs are, as the name suggests, nurses who concentrate on the overall wellness of their patients. They work and strive hard to ensure the promotion of a patient’s health. PAs are more concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of a patient’s diseases.

As such, if you have a keen eye and great deductive skills, then you are better suited as a PA. Of course, if you are highly compassionate and focus more on a holistic healthcare approach, then becoming a NP is a better choice.

If you want to spend more time studying, diagnosing and treating patients’ illnesses and get paid very well for it, then a PA could be the right job for you. On the other hand, if you want to start earning well faster, concentrate on treating your patients’ wellbeing and want to specialize in a healthcare field, perhaps NP is a better choice. In the end, the