For Your Health
For Your Health

News from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences

UND Department of Physician Assistant Studies celebrates National PA Week Oct. 6-12

National PA Week is Oct. 6-12 and the UND Department of Physician Assistant Studies is celebrating! As you might know, PAs (physician associates/physician assistants) are licensed clinicians who practice medicine in every specialty and setting. Trusted, rigorously educated, and trained healthcare professionals, PAs are dedicated to expanding access to care and transforming health and wellness through patient-centered, team-based medical practice, especially in rural and underserved areas.

In a largely rural state like North Dakota, PAs are especially valuable, which is why North Dakota led the nation in establishing policies giving PAs greater independence in their practice of healthcare provision.

Recent PA growth statistics nationally:

  • The PA profession saw 28.7% growth from 2017-2021. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is projected to grow another 28% by 2031.
  • There are more than 168,000 certified PAs in the U.S.
  • Exactly 303 accredited PA programs exist nationwide, compared to 226 programs in 2017. The ARC-PA projects 326 accredited PA programs nationwide by 2024.
  • The North Dakota Medical Association lists 529 licensed PAs in North Dakota, 44% of whom work in primary care (the national average of PAs in primary care is 24%).

UND’s PA program:

  • Our most recent graduating class (2022) saw 31 graduates (with two more scheduled to graduate in Dec. 2022). This group posted a 97% board exam pass rate.
  • Likewise, 97% of our PA Class of 2022 are employed in the profession. Of these grads, 68% work in primary care, 18% work in surgical specialties, and 14% work in other clinical areas, including emergency medicine, pulmonology, and oncology.
  • More than 50% of the Class of 2022 practices in a rural area.
  • The starting salary range for DPAS new graduates is $90,000 – $154,000 with an average of $110,000/year.

Learn more about the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences Department of Physician Assistant Studies here.