Oregon Near the Top in Paying Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners

However, the same rankings showed that physicians didn’t make it into the top ten list when the figures were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Medical professionals in Oregon are extremely well paid compared to their colleagues in other states during 2013 – particularly registered nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

Those findings, from a report compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Oregon ranked third in the nation when it came to paying nurse practitioners – their average annual salary was $107,560 – just slightly below Alaska, $111,800 and California, $110,590. This data was later reported by Becker’s Hospital Review, which considers itself the leading source of cutting-edge business and legal information for healthcare industry leaders.

Looking at nurse practitioner salaries, seven states fell below Oregon -- Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and New York – while their average salary across the nation was $95,070.

Registered nurses, meanwhile, fell far behind their nurse practitioner counterparts when it came to their annual salaries – only earning on average $80,440 in Oregon – giving them the 5th highest ranking in the nation.

No surprise, California led the way, with salaries reaching $96,980, followed by Hawaii at $85,380, Massachusetts, $83,720 and Alaska, $83,640. But nurses in Oregon can consul themselves by realizing their salaries were 16 percent higher than the national average of just $68,910 in 2013.

And, nurses in Oregon also outdid their colleagues who worked in Nevada, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Washington and Connecticut.

Across the nation, physician assistants earned on average $94,350 in 2013, according to this National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates report .But in Oregon, their salaries were much higher, reaching $104,440. Rhode Island recorded the highest salaries, $110,660, followed by Nevada, $106,470, New Hampshire, $106,350, New Jersey, $106,330 and Washington, $106,190.

According to the data, four states fell below Oregon in the top ten rankings -- Delaware – $104,180, Connecticut – $103,840, Arizona – $103,610 and Maine, $103,490.

All of these aggregate totals represent 57.5 percent of the total national employment and were determined from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. None of the data was categorized by rural or urban areas.   

Physicians Fall Below the Mark

Not only did Oregon physicians not make it into the top ten list, but the state that came away with the top prize came as a big shocker to many analysts -– Mississippi – which paid its physicians and surgeons $240,510 in 2013 – 25 percent higher than the national average of $191,880.

Mississippi wasn’t alone in beating Oregon when it came to paying physicians. South Dakota came in next at $233,100, followed by Montana, $231,820, Minnesota, $228,700, Idaho, $227,550 and New Hampshire, $227,160.

Also, another chart prepared by the Department of Labor shows Oregon physicians earning between $197,830 and $213,830 that same year

Population Makes a Difference

Data collected by the Medical Group Management Association shows some very revealing trends about physician compensation depending on the population size of the community. .  

Primary care physicians and specialists in metropolitan areas that had a population between 50,000 and 250,000 were the highest paid, $241,300 and $421,591, respectively, according to its Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2014 Report Based on 2013 Data.

Meanwhile, primary care physicians in metropolitan areas with a population size of more than 1 million reported an average compensation of $232,107, and specialists were paid $403,693, according to that same report.

Medscape also got into the picture when analysing the compensation of physicians in 2013. According to its findings, male physicians earned considerably more than their female counterparts -- $267,000 compared to $204,000, while self-employed physicians earned slightly more – regardless of whether they were primary care physicians or specialists. An earlier report by Medscape found that 49 percent of employed physicians were satisfied with their income, even though they were earning slightly less.

That survey also found that rheumatologists saw their compensation rise by 15 percent in 2013, reaching $214,000, while general surgeons realized a 6 percent increase, to $295,000, while orthopaedic doctors were the highest paid, averaging $413,000, followed by cardiologists, whose salary reached $351,000.

Hospital-based physicians earned on average $262,000, while those working at outpatient clinics only brought home $189,000, while physicians who practiced at academic, research, military or government institutions earned  $198,000.

Family physicians and infectious disease physicians had the lowest average pay in 2013, earning $176,000 and $174,000

Diane can be reached at [email protected].

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