Research

A Glimpse into the Student Experience

By Dominique "Nikki" FriasJuly 22, 2020

PAEA’s latest research report looks at the characteristics and concerns of PA students.

For many programs, this time of year means celebrating the graduation of a cohort of exceptional students. For other programs, it means gearing up to begin a new school year, with thousands of future PAs anxiously awaiting their first day of classes. As programs prepare to welcome new students, the newly released PAEA Student Report 4 is the perfect read to better understand the PA student experience. 

PAEA’s fourth installment in the By the Numbers: Student Report series delivers a sweeping look through the eyes of your students at the beginning and end of their PA educational experience. Using data from the 2019 Matriculating Student Survey and the End of Program Survey, the report presents information regarding student demographics, financial information, specialty desirability, well-being, and more.

However, please note that data presented in Student Report 4 were collected in 2019 — it is unknown to what extent results are still reflective of PA students’ experiences as the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced PA programs to rapidly adapt on a situational basis. 

Some highlights and new features of the report include: 

  • Spotlight on the pertinent topics of student health and well-being 
  • More inclusive coverage of student gender and sexual orientation
  • Continuing focus on the experiences of underrepresented minority students 


On average, students in the didactic phase found PA education to be more challenging than expected – nearly twice the number of students in the clinical phase.

Raw data from the two surveys or focused custom reports are available by request for faculty seeking to conduct their own independent research. More information may be found by visiting our newly updated data sharing policies

If you have feedback or questions about this report, please contact the Research Team at research@PAEAonline.org or 703-667-4328. 

Dominique "Nikki" Frias

As PAEA’s research coordinator, Nikki manages survey recruitment, data collection, and evaluation efforts. She is also currently pursuing a master's degree in psychology.