there was a thread about this a few months ago but I will give you a quick summary:
NP's start as nurses with a bs degree and attend 2 more years of school to get an ms degree. most of the time is classroom with 400-700 hrs on average of clinical time. np's have an independent license and can open up their own practice. most work in primary care.
pa's are former paramedics, resp. therapists, or nurses, most with a bs degree who attend school for 2 years and get an ms or bs degree, depending on the program. PA school is often compared to the 1st and 3rd years of med school. the first year is actually composed of some 1st year and some 2nd year med school classes. the 2nd year of pa school is the 3rd year of med school with 2200 hrs or so of clinical time and all the same required rotations and responsibilities. pa's work in all medical fields including surgery, inpatient services and emergency medicine. many also work in primary care. pa's must work in conjunction with an md/do but supervisory requirements vary widely. in most settings an md never sees pts seen by the pa. chart reveiew is the standard requirement for supervision and this varies from 10-100% of charts depending on setting. pa's in a recent national survey make about $5k/yr more than np's. this is likely due to the fact that more pa's work in specialties. a pa and an np in the same setting make the same salary.the range is probably $50-120k /yr or so based on setting. both pa's and np's can do h+p's, order xray and labs, write prescriptions, suture, reduce fractures, treat emergency patients, etc. the difference is basically one of focus. pa's practice from the medical model while np's practice from a nursing based model .hope that helps.-e