In Ghana, the average monthly figure for a physician assistant salary is said to fall within the vicinity of 7,760 GHS. Physician assistants are health practitioners who work in clinics, hospitals, and other health facilities. This category of health workers earns their monthly and annual income depending on such factors as years of experience on the job, gender, location, the type of health facilities they are posted to, and several other conditions.
Who is a Physician Assistant?
A physician assistant is one who practices medicine under the direction, supervision and watch of a licensed physician. PAs form an integral part of health care teams in health facilities such as clinics and hospitals.
Working interdependently with licensed medical doctors, the physician assistant provides patients with care in virtually every medical specialties and setting; both therapeutic and diagnostic. A PA is considered competent to perform physical examinations, take patient histories, order both laboratory and diagnostic studies, develop patient treatment plans, and prescribe medications.
The job description of a PA is just as diverse as that of the supervising physician, including patient education, clinical practice, medical education, team leadership, research, and health administration.
Position of Physician Assistants in Ghana
Physician assistantship is a diverse field but the practitioners fall under the same umbrella. There are different categories of PAs, including;
- Medical physician assistants
- Dental practitioner physician assistants
- Nurse anesthetists physician assistants
What is the Salary of a Physician Assistant in Ghana?
There are considerable variations in the salary structure of physician assistants in Ghana, depending on certain variables. Years of working experience can be a determining factor here; a fresh graduate who just scored a job in a health facility as a PA is sure to earn less than a physician assistant who has been working in the field for the past five years.
A PA’s place of work also goes a long way in determining what the person will earn. In Ghana, private health facilities are likely to pay their PAs more than what government-owned clinics and hospitals are paying. However, for this piece, we will be focusing on the average pay for a physician assistant in Ghana. Whatever amount is taken as the average, it is expected to be increasing as the years roll by.
On average, the typical take-home package of a physician assistant in Ghana is 7,760 GHS monthly or thereabouts. This average is calculated by taking the lowest salary range of 3,800 GHS and the highest, 12,100 GHS into consideration.
Do Physician Assistants on Internship Get Paid?
When fresh graduates who qualify as physician assistants are posted to health facilities as interns to work under the watch of professionals for their one-year internship program. These newbies are expected to offer free internships as they don’t get paid.
Compared to their counterparts who graduated as medical doctors, the treatment meted out to the young PAs is highly unfair as the doctors on internship get some form of remuneration.
This unfair treatment from the Ghana government has sparked some reactions from physician assistants on internship who claim to be the ones doing the bulk of the work in the hospitals and thus, deserve compensations.
Variations in the Salaries of Physician Assistant in Ghana
As earlier mentioned, variables such as years of experience, type of health facility, location, and gender will make a lot of difference in the amount of salary a physician assistant is expected to receive in Ghana. Below is a detailed explanation of a PA’s salary in Ghana with regards to these variables.
Years of Experience is a Major Determinant of a Physician Assistant’s Salary in Ghana
Now, how do years of experience affect the remuneration of a physician assistant? According to what we could sieve from kept records, the level of experience a physician assistant plays a big role in determining his or her monthly and annual remuneration. Naturally, those who have acquired higher years of experience will be earning higher wages while PAs with lower years of experience will earn considerably lower. Below is what is obtainable when broken down by years of experience.
When a physician assistant’s years of experience fall below two years, the person will be making approximately 4,510 GHS per month.
When your experience level spans between a couple of years and five years, the person will be receiving 5,790 GHS monthly which is 29 percent higher than what a PA with lower than two years’ experience will be getting.
As a physician assistant’s experience level continues to increase, he or she will be pocketing around 8,000 GHS per month between five to 10 years on the job. This is 38 percent higher than what two to five years’ experience receives. Averagely. A PA’s monthly income is supposed to double his entry-level remuneration by the time the person crosses the 10 years’ experience milestone.
When the experience level of a physician assistant has exceeded ten years and is slowly inching towards the 15 years mark, the person will be entitled to a salary equivalent of 9,900 GHS per month. This is calculated to be 24 percent above the earnings of someone with five to 10 years of experience.
15 to 20 years of working experience for a personal assistant n Ghana means a salary of 10,600 GHS per month. This goes 7 percent higher than the paycheck of a PA with 10 to 15 years of experience.
Those that can boast of over 20 years of working experience as a physician assistant will be receiving 11,300 GHS per month as salary. This is 7 percent above the remuneration of a PA with 15 to 20 years of experience.
Physician Assistant Salary Can Also be Affected By Gender
It is generally believed that gender should never have any role to play in the amount a worker receives as salary. However, this belief is wholly theoretical as gender does affect salary in reality. In the profession of physician assistants, it is the male gender that is more favored. On average, male PAs can receive eight to nine percent higher than what their female counterparts earn.
Where a male PA is paid 8,020 GHS as monthly remuneration, his female colleagues will be receiving way lower at 7,390 GHS, even though the two may be at the same experience level. The difference between the male and female pay package is as much as eight percent.
Average Salary Increment For Physician Assistants In Ghana
People who wish to join the profession of physician assistant in Ghana will want to know how much increment is given to practitioners of the profession yearly and how often they expect salary raises.
Research has shown that every 17 months a practitioner puts in as a physician assistant, the person will be getting approximately a 12 percent raise. This comes a bit higher compared to the country’s average yearly increment for all professions which is 8 percent granted every 19 months.
Bonuses and Incentives for Physician Assistant in Ghana
How often do physician assistants get bonuses and how much do they collect in the form of incentives?
Bonuses are majorly earned by those who are directly involved in revenue generation, and physician assistants have limited direct involvement in the generation of revenue in Ghana, however, there are a lot of exceptions. Physician assistantship may be a high bonus-based job for those who are directly involved in the country’s revenue generation cycle as this selection of PAs will be earning higher bonuses than the rest.
Going by reports put out from surveys, 78 percent of physician assistants in Ghana receive one form of bonus and incentives yearly while the remaining 22 percent haven’t received any.
Those who do receive bonuses said the rate ranges from five to nine percent of their yearly income.
What type of Bonuses Do Physician Assistants Receive?
Bonuses are not ball-pack figures, they come in different forms and those who are considered eligible to receive them are the ones who have worked seriously for the extra pay. PAs enjoy such bonuses as individual performance-based bonuses, company performance bonuses, goal-based bonuses, and the likes.
Individual Performance-Based Bonuses
Among all the bonuses receivable by workers is the individual performance-based bonus. Here, a physician assistant will be awarded based on the person’s exceptional performance. Those whose performances are deemed to be highly exceptional will get more than what an average performer will get.
Company Performance Bonuses
At the end of every year, companies and organizations take stock and those that have performed excellently may wish to share the excess profits and earnings with members of staff. This type of bonus will be granted to the entire staff of the organization, however, the amount each person gets will vary, depending on their individual roles within the company.
In the case of a health facility, a PA saddled with too much responsibility is likely to be rewarded with a higher amount in bonus.
Companies and organizations often set important goals and milestones for their staff members to achieve. These goals are often accompanied by bonuses and will be granted to deserving staff members upon the achievement of the set goals.
Holiday or End of Year Bonuses
When organizations do their end-of-year celebrations, they usually give staff members end-of-the-year bonuses. This type of bonus is usually granted without reason and resembles an appreciation token from the management.
Bonuses Are Different From Commissions
More often than not, people tend to mix up bonuses and commissions but the two are not the same. While bonuses are arbitrary and unplanned in most cases, commissions can be a form of a prefixed rate at which staff members get paid for deals completed, items sold, targets met, and more.
Does a Physician Assistant Earn More Than a Nurse in Ghana?
The monthly and annual receivables of a physician assistant are deemed to be almost equivalent to the salary of a degree holder nurse in Ghana. With that said, the two professions are on par with remuneration. However, if the nurse is a diploma holder, the salary of a PA is sure to be higher.
Can a Diploma Nurse Become a Physician Assistant in Ghana?
Apart from enrollees from secondary schools who gain admissions into recognized institutions of higher learning to major as physician assistants, other people like nurses can also apply to study any of the courses. This category of candidates stands to enjoy some exceptions.
Candidates who are holders of a Diploma in RN (registered nursing) will get exceptions from certain courses. Nurses with SRN (State Registered Nurses) qualifications may also apply. However, these qualifications must have been obtained from recognized health institutions and the holders must have a minimum of three years of working experience.
Is it Possible For a Physician Assistant to Become a Licensed Medical Doctor?
Anybody who has been practicing as a physician assistant can become a licensed medical doctor. They only need to attend an approved medical school for a four-year course after which they will graduate and become fully-fledged medical doctors.
What Qualifications are Required For the Position of a Physician Assistant in Ghana?
Becoming a PA in Ghana isn’t an all-comers affair, there are certain qualification levels that must be attained before anybody is deemed qualified to work in health facilities as a physician assistant.
- He or she must have completed studies in physician assistantship
- The person must have graduated from any of the approved institutions of higher learning in the country or elsewhere
- After the completion of their studies, they must join the Medical and Dental Council as registered members
The MDC is a body charged with the responsibility of setting the standards of all medical practitioners in Ghana.
Medical Assistant Vs Physician Assistant, What is the Difference?
People often confuse medical assistants with physician assistants, but there is a whole lot of difference between the two.
The major role of a medical assistant is assisting medical doctors in office work, taking charge of those responsibilities that clerks undertake in corporate office settings. Their work is more of administrative work as they never get involved in medicine-related practices.
On the flip side, the physician assistant is much more than an administrative assistant as he or she functions as a medical practitioner.
Again, the program to complete before becoming a PA is quite different from what a medical assistant is expected to study. Talking about their earnings, the PA and the medical assistant do not earn the same salary.
Roles a Physician Assistant Play in Health Facilities
Men and women who come under the umbrella of physician assistants have a plethora of roles attached to their offices. Generally, they are trained and educated to fit into the medical field and their work is viewed as important in the hierarchy of health care service providers.
- Under the strict supervision of a qualified and licensed surgeon or physician, a PA provides patients with health care assistant services
- In their practice as physician assistants, they are charged with the responsibility of diagnosis and medication prescription, and at the same time, the PA can also provide patients with therapeutic assistance
- When a PA is posted to hospitals and other health facilities, the person is expected to get involved in educating people on health and health-related issues
- Apart from getting involved in the administration of their health facilities, physician assistants are also expected to participate in research in their areas of practice
- Part of their work is the improvement of the health sector and this can be achieved through research that arms the country with health data
- After they are done with research processes, the physician assistant furnishes the public with the information gathered during the procedure and also make the info available to their fellow health practitioners
- When it comes to accountability of the revenues generated in health facilities and institutions across the country, the onus is on the physician assistant to ensure that such proceeds are duly accounted for
Therefore, the role of a PA in various health centers includes overseeing activities at such institutions.