March 28th 2016

Nurse practitioner and physician assistant ranked first and fourth, respectively, on a list of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States.

Nurse practitioner (NP) and physician assistant (PA) ranked first and fourth, respectively, on a list of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently compiled a list of the fastest-growing jobs based on projections for the decade leading up to 2024. After controlling for positions that require at least a 4-year degree, NPs ranked first, while PAs ranked fourth.

Here are the job market data from BLS:

Nurse Practitioner

2014 median annual pay: $95,350

Degree required: Master’s

Number of jobs in 2014: 170,400

Job growth outlook through 2024: 35%

Physician Assistant

2014 median annual pay: $95,820

Degree required: Master’s

Number of jobs in 2014: 94,400

Job growth outlook through 2024: 30%

Several factors may be at play in the projected job growth for both professions, but the most significant force may be the shortage of primary care physicians (PCPs), which is projected to be between 46,000 and 90,000 within the next decade. This combined with the increasing cost of health care andstudiesdemonstrating that retail clinicians provide the same quality of care as PCPs has ledmore patientsto turn to NP- and PA-run clinics.

In fact, the number of retail clinics isprojected to surpass2800 by 2017, which is significantly up from about 1900 in 2014.

Beyond the PCP shortage, the increasing focus on value-based care and reduced readmissions are also likely drivers of the growing NP and PA job market. Outpatient care is in high demand, and NPs and PAs are increasingly taking on more responsibility in filling those positions.

The market growth associated with both professions is not the only benefit of the job. Many NPs and PAs also report a high level of personal satisfaction from their career path.

As Kristene Diggins, FAANP, CNE-NEA-BC, DNP, DCC, MBA,previously wrote, “The privilege of being a nurse is not quantifiable. It is somewhere in the middle of a patient’s story when the nursing role thrives.”

Notably, NPs and PAs alsorecently landedin spots on Glassdoor’s 2016 list of the 25 best jobs in America.

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