297 Physician Assistant Scope of Practice 2015
A. Determinant 1: PA Education, Experience, and Preference
Scope of practice should be limited to those tasks which PAs are adequately prepared for based on their education, training, and clinical experi-
ence.102 PA programs are structured to produce a graduate with a background as a medical generalist.103 As such, academic institutions that
include medical schools, universities, and colleges sponsor PA programs.104
Applicant prerequisites include three to four years of basic science college course work.105 The majority of PA programs require an applicant to
have a bachelor’s degree.106 Typically, programs are two years in length and
award the student a master’s degree.107 A number of innovative approaches
in preparing medical providers for primary care careers have emerged in PA
programs, in part due to federal Title VII funding incentives for PA educa-
In 2011, approximately 6,545 PA graduates entered the workforce.109
The same year, the applicant pool for entry into PA programs exceeded
102. See HOOKER ET AL., supra note 89, at 418.
103. Anita Duhl Glicken & Anthony A. Miller, Physician Assistants: From Pipeline to
Practice, 88 ACAD. MED. 1883, 1887 (2013); see also James F. Cawley & P. Eugene Jones,
Institutional Sponsorship, Student Debt, and Specialty Choice in Physician Assistant Education, 24 J. OF PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT EDUC. 4, 6 (2012) (stating that one of the policy goals of
PAs is to contribute to generalist/primary care practice).
104. Cawley & Jones, supra note 103, at 4-5; see also P. Eugene Jones, Physician Assistant Education in the United States, 82 ACAD. MED. 882, 882-84 (2007) (implying that
this based upon the PA schools listed); see also PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT EDUC. ASS’N,
TWENTY-NINTH ANNUAL REPORT, 2012-2013: PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT EDUCATIONAL
PROGRAMS IN THE UNITED S TATES 6 (2014).
2010-2011: PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS IN THE UNITED STATES 25
(2013), available at http://www.paeaonline.org/index.php?ht=a/GetDocumentAction
/i/149930 (inferring such a requirement due to the many PA programs that selected prerequisite courses in the common sciences).
106. See id. at 25 (inferring from Table 18, that a majority of Programs require a Bachelor’s degree).
107. See PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT EDUC. ASS’N, TWENTY-NINTH ANNUAL REPORT, 2012-
2013: PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS IN THE UNITED STATES 7-9 (2014),
available at http://www.paeaonline.org/index.php?ht=a/GetDocumentAction/i/156969
(showing that programs typically average 24 months in length (80% of all programs). The
shortest program length was 19 months and the longest program length was 36 months. The
majority of PA programs offer a master’s degree.
108. See James F. Cawley, Physician assistants and Title VII support, 83 ACAD. MED.
1049, 1049-1056 (2008) “Some of these incentives are intended to improve the number of
graduates going into generalist medicine, improving a balance of underrepresented minori-ties, and promote deployment into underserved communities.”; See also Justine Strand and
Reginald Carter, Primary Care Training Grants Through Title VII, Section 747: The Duke
Experience, 14 PERSP. ON PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT EDUC. 25, 25-30 (2003).
109. Glicken & Miller, supra note 103, at 1884; see also Roderick S. Hooker & Ashley
N. Muchow, Supply of Physician Assistants: 2013-2026, 27 J. AM. ACAD. PHYSICIAN
ASSISTANTS, no. 3, 39, 39-45 (2014).