Title

Career patterns of physician assistants: A retrospective longitudinal study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

12-1-2013

Journal

Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants

Volume

26

Issue

6

DOI

10.1097/01.JAA.0000430342.95024.13

Keywords

Career flexibility; Certification; Patterns; Physician assistant; Specialty

Abstract

Objectives: A distinguishing characteristic of the physician assistant (PA) profession is career fl exibility to move between specialties without further training or certification. The objectives of this study were to characterize the number and type of practice specialties and to explore attitudes towards career flexibility. Methods: Practice patterns were examined using a survey of AAPA member and non-member graduates from the classes of 1978, 1988, and 1998. Results: Overall, respondents (n=1,703; 31%) reported practicing in an average of 1.95 specialty practices per decade over the course of their career (range, 1-18; SD, 1.40). Adjusted for the number of decades elapsed postgraduation, the 1978, 1988, and 1998 cohorts practiced in an average of 1.08 (SD, 0.71), 1.51 (SD, 1.02), and 2.41 (SD, 1.49) specialties per decade, respectively (P<0.0001; all pair-wise comparisons signifi cant, P<0.001). Conclusions: Most PAs change specialties during their career, and this trait of the profession is highly valued. Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Share

COinS