Perceptions of U.S. PAs regarding the entry-level doctoral degree
Although many health care professions have implemented the entry-level clinical doctorate, the physician assistant (PA) profession has not done so to date. Furthermore, no research has been done on the PA profession to determine the appropriateness of entry-level doctoral education. Methodology: This cross-sectional study was designed to determine the perceptions of practicing PAs regarding an entrylevel Doctorate of Physician Assistant (DPA) degree. A randomized sample of 1,500 United States PAs was surveyed and the results were analyzed using descriptive and Chi- Square statistics. Results: The response rate for this survey was 23% (n=352). The majority of the respondents (82.8%) did not perceive the DPA degree to be necessary for entry into the PA profession. Likewise, 55.8% were not interested in returning to school to obtain the DPA. Additionally, the majority of the respondents believed that the master degree was sufficient for PA education, did not believe the DPA was necessary to deliver high standards of care, would not leave the field of PA if the DPA were required and believed the DPA would not be needed to compete with nurse practitioners. Conclusion: The study results reveal a group of PAs in the United States who do not favor the profession moving toward offering a DPA degree. These results are similar for other professions who have already moved toward doctoral education.
A project presented to the Department of Physician Assistant of Wichita State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Physician Assistant.