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VOLUME 51 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2016


Racial and Gender Disparities in the Physician Assistant Profession

Objective: To examine whether racial, gender, and ethnic salary disparities exist in the physician assistant (PA) profession and what factors, if any, are associated with the differentials.

Data Sources/Study Setting: We use a nationally representative survey of 15,105 PAs from the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

Study Design: We use bivariate and multivariate statistics to analyze pay differentials from the 2009 AAPA survey.

Principle Findings: Women represent nearly two-thirds of the profession but receive approximately $18,000 less in primary compensation. The differential reduces to just over $9,500 when the analysis includes a variety of other variables. According to AAPA survey, minority PAs tend to make slightly higher salaries than White PAs nationally, although the differences are not statistically significant once the control variables are included in the analysis.

Conclusions: Despite the rough parity in primary salary, PAs of color are vastly underrepresented in the profession. The salaries of women lag in comparison to their male counterparts.

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