For my experience, the primary difference is the approach to patient care. NPs tend to be more holistic in approach, based on the nursing model. PAs are based more in the curative , medical model. Both have the same goal, just differing ways to reach those goals. Both are similar in pre-req requirements and program length as well as income potential (in my state anyway!).
This professional recommends the following next steps:
- Consider which approach suits you
- speak to members of both professions directly and discover there benefits and challenges of their role
- consider cost of school for both profession
- follow your gut!