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By most indicators, the American economy is in a period of prosperity after the brutal recession of 2008.

That prosperity is evident in the health care industry. NPs and PAs enjoy above-average salaries, a low unemployment rate and great job growth. But, of course, this career path comes with a cost. A financial cost because becoming a PA or NP is expensive. An emotional cost because becoming a PA or NP is hard on personal and family life.

Both professions are filled with rewards that come from helping and treating patients.

A 2015 American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) study found that more than 96 percent would recommend their physician assistant career to others.

Physician assistants are expected to continue to be an important part of providing health care services, as they can be trained more quickly than physicians but can provide some of the same services. According to U.S. News and World Report, this field will grow at a rate of 37 percent, meaning 39,700 new jobs for PAs.

So once you arrived to your first assignment, know that there are ways to increase your salary. Here are some tips.

1. Take on extra shifts. Many hospitals and clinics offer moonlighting and open shifts that pay between $43 to $100 an hour.

2. Earn your certifications. Acute Care Nurse Practitioners typically work longer hours than their non-certified counterparts, particularly on weekends, evenings, and nights. Hospitals pay an average of $2,000-$10,000 more as a result.

3. Renegotiate. Ask about the process and criteria for annual increases when you accept a job. Know your worth by checking out the annual AAPA Salary Report available online.

4. Become a leader. If you advance your career by taking a formal leadership role, you’ll get new challenges and up to a 40% salary increase.

“With PAs in such demand today,” says Jeffrey Katz, president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), “it’s also important that they find an employer who will let them practice to the full extent of their education and training, and recognize the vital role PAs play in team-based health care.”