The Variations Between FNP AND PA
Health & Wellness

The Variations Between FNP AND PA

Many professional workers out there want to excel in their career at any cost. They want to invest in a profession that will reap fruitful results, with growth to occur in the near future. If we talk about the medical industry, we will come across many individuals who might be confused about their career. Some medical practitioners are torn between being a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and a Physician Assistant. Most of them cannot decide which profession to choose as it can be a difficult choice to make at times.

The differences between a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Physician Assistant is among the many frequently asked questions. People are always curious to differentiate between the two terms. They do so because they want to find out which one is better for their career. Moreover, they want to identify which one suits their personality and professional portfolio the best.

Well, there are multiple variations between an FNP and a PA, which need to be discussed. This will help everyone understand more about the two professions. This way, they will be confident enough to make the right decision instead of committing to the wrong job. But before finding out the differences between them, let us first find out what these terms mean.

Family Nurse Practitioner:

An FNP is known as a registered medical nurse who has specialized in clinical and educational medicine. They are trained as a family nurse, someone who can look after children as well as adults. An FNP can work independently with clients or get registered from a hospital for their family practice.

Physician Assistant:

A PA is a professional member of the medical staff, comprised of surgeons, doctors, nurses, and other medical experts. This is probably the main difference between a Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant. A Physician Assistant’s primary duties include providing medical services. These medical services include taking tests, practicing examinations, prescribing medicines, diagnosing illnesses, monitoring improvement, and directing treatment.

Now coming back to the point, it is time to look at some of the most common variations between FNP and PA.

1. Both professions are learned differently

If you think both FNP and PA require the same qualification, then you have been mistaken. The degrees and examination procedures differ in both of these fields. For instance, a nurse gets certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner after getting their doctoral degree by clearing the final exams. These nurses can get their masters done as well to practice medicine. On the other hand, a Physician Assistant must finish their master’s degree and pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE).

2. Diverse set of duties

The main difference between a licensed family nurse and a physician assistant is the diverse set of goals. Family Nurse Practitioners are more focused on treating patients. Whereas, a Physician Assistant is more focused on addressing the disease.

An FNP undertakes the long-term approach of treating the patients. They treat chronic diseases and need to take care of the patients 24/7, with adequate counseling and health education.

Since a Physician Assistant is centered on the diseases, they tend to work with patients for various reasons. They focus on finding cures of the illnesses, suggesting treatments, and identifying what is wrong with the patient. Their job involves working with other physicians who want to treat the diseases as soon as possible.

3. Variations in Pay

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Family Nurse Practitioners have a mean annual pay of $107,480 (May 2017). This makes up about $51.68 per hour of their service. Similarly, a Physician Assistant earns around $104,760 per year (May 2017), which equates to $50.37 per hour. This shows very little difference between the pay rates, but it is still apparent who earns more. However, both professions are expected to grow in the future.

4. Work Autonomy

After completing education, both FNPs and PAs have the freedom to excel in their careers. They can operate with a higher level of autonomy, but there are some minor variations to it. Put simply, a PA will need to pair up with a registered physician, someone who looks after their work. However, the same does not apply to an FNP who can work independently in every aspect.


Despite the differences, both FNP and PA fields are incredibly beneficial to grow further in the medical industry. Experts in both areas are passionate about serving humanity. Whether you want to be a Family Nurse Practitioner or a Physician Assistant, try to analyze everything first. From education to salary and work autonomy, consider every point before proceeding ahead. By doing so, you will be able to excel in the perfect career of your choice. Choosing the right career is a significant decision to take, so do what you have to do. Try not to overlook this decision and consider both of these fields whenever possible. After all, there is nothing wrong with thinking ahead and knowing what is right for your professional life.

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