Assessing demand for doctoral-prepared PA faculty: a five-year longitudinal study.
JournalBMC Medical Education
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AbstractPurpose: Many health profession programs have transitioned to doctoral credentials. While a master's degree is the terminal degree for the physician assistant (PA) profession, there is increasing discussion regarding the doctoral degree as the PA terminal credential in US higher education.This study examines trends, demand and economic opportunities for doctoral prepared PA faculty; specifically, assessing to what extent PA faculty employers prefer doctoral credentials. Methodology: This longitudinal retrospective observational study assessed commonly required/preferred academic credentials in PA faculty job postings. Data from 2014 to 2020 was obtained from the labor analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies (BGT) and other academic job search engines. Data on current PA faculty and program directors were obtained from Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) survey reports. Wage gap analysis was performed to gain additional insight for the supply and demand of PA educators with a doctoral degree. Results: Of the 612 unique job ads posted from 232 PA programs between 2014 and 2020, approximately 38.9% (238) stated a preference or requirement for a doctoral degree. Nearly half of the postings for program directors and leadership positions preferred candidates with doctorates. There was a correlation between tenure eligibility positions (20.1%) and preference/requirement for doctoral credentials. PAEA survey data (2014-2019) revealed approximately 24% PA faculty and 45-48% of program directors held a doctoral degree with Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) as the most frequently held doctorate. No significant difference existed in wages for faculty with or without doctoral degree. Conclusions: Based on a national sample of PA program job ads, there is a preference for doctoral-prepared PA educators and the demand for these candidates is greater than market supply. Our analysis has implications for individual faculty career planning, employers and the PA profession as it debates transition to a terminal doctoral credential. Further studies should assess the impact of doctoral credentials on PA education by examining measurable outcomes.
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Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/18711
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