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The Numbers Are In:  PAEA Announces the Release of Program Report 36 

After taking a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PAEA is happy to announce the release of Program Report 36: By The Numbers | Data From the 2021 Program Survey. The 2021 Annual Program Survey was sent to all 284 member programs in November 2021, collecting data on program attributes, finances, personnel, and student enrollment. For the first time, Program Report 36 includes data on programs’ Minority Serving Institution status, the utilization of Veterans Affairs and Community Health Centers as specialized supervised clinical practice experience settings, and the use of waiver training for medication assisted treatments for substance use disorders.    

The PA profession continues to grow….   

Over the last decade, the PA profession has grown rapidly, and this is highlighted by the increasing number of PA member programs within the US. In 2011, 159 PA programs held membership with PAEA. At the time of the 2019 Program Survey administration, PAEA represented 242 member programs. By November 2021, PAEA had grown by over 17%, gaining over 40 members, for a total of 284. The graph below illustrates the continued growth that has happened over the years. 

Cumulative Total Number of Programs since 1965 

Source:  Program Report 36: By The Numbers | Data From the 2021 Program Survey.   

More PA Educators are needed…. 

With so much change in PA education, it is no surprise that programs are struggling to keep up in terms of staffing. Nearly 40% of responding programs reported vacant FTEs for faculty, with this figure being over 20% for staff. Major barriers to hiring new faculty include salary and lack of qualified candidates. The following table provides additional data about hiring barriers.   

PAEA is here to help. The PAEA Jobs Board is available to assist with advertising program vacancies. Check it out at https://paeaonline.org/jobs-board 

TABLE 37. BARRIERS TO HIRING NEW FACULTY (%) 

  n Not at All a Barrier Slight Barrier Moderate Barrier Serious Barrier 
Salary  201 15.4 21.9 32.8 29.9 
Lack of qualified candidates 201 20.9 22.9 28.4 27.9 
Location  201 45.3 27.4 18.4 9.0 
Candidates’ lack of teaching experience 199 21.1 29.6 40.7 8.5 
Area cost of living 200 64.0 16.0 12.0 8.0 
Degree requirements 201 71.6 20.4 6.0 2.0 
Lifestyle  201 64.7 22.9 10.4 2.0 

Note: Table rows are sorted from most serious barrier to least. 

Source:  Program Report 36: By The Numbers | Data From the 2021 Program Survey.   

Advancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within PA Education 

PAEA is committed to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion for all faculty, staff, and students at its member programs. As has been done in the past, the Program Report includes detailed breakdowns of the matriculating and graduating cohorts by gender, race, ethnicity, and age. In relation to 2019, a greater percentage of first-year students were reported as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish in origin (9.5% in 2021 vs 7.6% in 2019), Asian (10.5% vs 9.9%), Black or African American (4.9% vs 3.9%), or Multiracial (3.1% vs 2.2%). Additional demographic data can be found within Program Report 36. 

New Information on Supervised Clinical Practice Experience Facilities 

For the first time, the Program Report highlights data about the usage of Veterans Affairs and Community Health Centers as sites for supervised clinical practice experience. More than half of responding programs reported utilizing either Veterans Affairs (59.8%) or Community Health Centers (59.3%) for clinical rotations. Still, programs noted several barriers to placing students at these sites, including the COVID-19 pandemic. PAEA plans to continue collecting this information in future curriculum surveys to better aid programs in understanding the landscape of available clinical practice facilities.   

USAGE OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (VA) AND COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS (CHCS) FOR CLINICAL ROTATIONS 

 Type of Facility  n  % # of Students  Mn  SD  Mdn 
Veteran Affairs (VA) facilities 122 59.8 14.7 16.8 9.5 
Community Health Centers (CHCs) 121 59.3 17.6 20.0 12.5 
Note: “n” denotes number of programs.      

Source:  Program Report 36: By The Numbers | Data From the 2021 Program Survey.   

These data and much more can be found in Program Report 36: By The Numbers | Data From the 2021 Program Survey. For all questions, comments, or concerns, please contact research@PAEAonline.org.