What Should I Look for in a PA Contract?

When about to start working as a physician assistant, you will find a new area to understand that wasn’t taught in your school. Schooling hasn’t covered how to negotiate a contract, or even what should be in a contract. Anyone about to sign a contract as a physician assistant must know what to ask for. A PA has numerous responsibilities within a practice and this should open the door to negotiate certain terms in the employment contract.

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Looking at Job Opportunities as a Physician Assistant

First of all, good advice is to continue to look at jobs and what is being offered. It will help in understanding what your options are in a contract and what can be negotiated. You’ll should know if the contract you are going to sign is far off from comparable positions. There’s the AAPA Salary Guide with can help you see what sort of salary you can get depending on your location, experience and specialty.

Looking Out for Oral Contracts

Without a question, you should never do an oral contract. This must be mentioned as even though it seems to go unsaid, there are employers out there who agree to a salary increase verbally, but this isn’t recognized as enforceable legally. Anything agreed to verbally should be put in the contract in writing. The most standard contract points covered are:

  • Salary
  • Schedule
  • Start Date
  • Vacation Days
  • On-call Pay
  • On-call Schedule
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Disability Insurance

Other points you may desire to review and ensure that they are covered thoroughly in the contract are malpractice insurance, productivity commission, license fees, and loan repayment. An important part of reviewing a contract is knowing what would make you walk away. Are there points that would just not settle for? What would be a deal breaker in this job?

Looking for Legal Help

Before plunging in and signing a contract, you should consult a contract attorney. They can review the contract to ensure it is binding, the wording and format is correct, and that all important points are covered. The attorney can also help in the negotiation of certain points. This will ensure you won’t be sorry later that some point was not negotiated when it should have been.

How Much Do Physician Assistants Make On Average

Many ask how much do physician assistants make on average? A PA is a medical professional. A PA usually works in a doctor’s office, a clinic, or in a hospital. They can perform many of the tasks that doctors perform, and thus can allow physicians to spend more of their time on patients or cases that are not routine. The PA can always bring in a doctor when they have a case they feel needs more specific care. For education, a PA needs a Master’s degree from an accredited school. This means a four-year degree and then two years of a post graduate education, or a full six years of study.

Physician Assistant Salary Per Year

Recently it has been reported that average physician assistant median salaries are $110,000. In earlier years, the average salary was $104,000 and $108,000, so it has clearly been increasing regularly. To compare with similar jobs: nurse practitioners had an average salary of $110,000 and registered nurses made $75,000.

Moving to another State to Become a Physician Assistant

Sometimes physician assistant jobs pay higher in other states. For instance, in California a PA may earn $117,000 a year but in Connecticut may bring in $125,000 a year. The temptation to move to another state to earn a higher income must be approached with caution. A physician assistant must take into consideration and factor in the cost of living expenses in that state as well.  Many job openings that provide entry level physician assistant positions only have job openings due to being in an undesirable location (objectively).  Practicing in a rural location with also provide salaries that exceed those of urban jobs.

Careful Contract Review is Needed

When approaching a clinic, doctor’s office or hospital where you wish to work, you will need to do your homework. Finding out what sort of salary they offer is important. Getting a copy of the contract you would be expected to sign is also important. Finding a contract attorney who can review the contract is vital so all points in the contract will be properly covered, and your interests are protected.

What is the Highest Paying Physician Assistant Specialty?

Many ask what is the highest paying physician assistant specialty? When embarking on a career as a physician assistant, you should look into what specialty you should pursue, as annual pay can range much higher for certain specialties.  You, of course, want to do what you love, but at the same time make good salary. Check out different salaries and see which specialty clicks with you.  A PA is very much like a doctor, however they are termed medical support professionals and their work must be supervised by a doctor. They do many of the same duties as a doctor, such as examining patients, prescribing medications and ordering tests.

Highest Paying Specialties for a PA

Of all specialties surveyed, dermatology is the highest paying specialty for a PA. They earn an average of $126,000 to $129,000 per year. Following that, the next highest paying specialties are critical care at $125,000 a year, emergency medicine $123,000, general surgery $112,000, and pathology and radiology, both making about $111,000 a year.

Growth Opportunities for PAs

There are many growth opportunities for physician assistants. To take advantage of the growth opportunities to the fullest, you should get as much experience working in the workplace as you can. Choosing a high-paying specialty is just the start. If you can get productivity pay, this pay scale allows you to earn much more than other salaried physician assistants. If you work in a medically under served area, you can also find programs available for loan forgiveness.

Employee vs Independent Contractor

PAs who work as independent contractors earn more than those who are classified as employees. When self-employed, the PA can work temporary assignments or even contract with other healthcare facilities. If you decide to be self-employed, review all the responsibilities that go along with it.  Although an independent contractor would have to pay for their own AAPA fees, not working as an employee can save some from career burnout.  If you think becoming a pa as an IC in the medical industry is a way for your concerns about burnout to be answered it is worth looking into that employment relationship.  As an employee or as an independent contractor, you are going to be required to sign a contract when starting work at a facility. These agreements can contain a lot of fancy text and cover many areas. You want to ensure the wording and format is right, and that all the points vital to your future are covered thoroughly. Have a contract attorney review your contract to ensure your interests are taken care of properly.

Medical Contract Attorney

When your PA agreement is reviewed by an experienced attorney, you will find financial benefits which end up outweighing the cost of the review. Leave it to the experts.  If you are in need of assistance with an employment agreement or contract review schedule a Physician Assistant Contract Lawyer with Chelle Law today!