May 2006
PAEA Networker

An Educator in the PA Profession:
A Good Place to Be

Anita Duhl Glicken, MSW
President Elect

Are your new graduates aware that, according to Money magazine and Salary.com, they will be joining the fifth-best profession in the country, based on salary, job prospects, and quality of life? The magazine’s research team began with a list of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree that the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts to grow at an above-average rate over the next 10 years. Positions were rated according to several indicators including level of stress, flexibility of schedule, work environment, creativity, and ease of entering and moving up in the field. Double weight was given to compensation and percentage of growth, and professions were eliminated from the top 10 if they fell into the bottom third of any category. The PA profession emerged at number five overall — partly on the strength of its status as the fastest-growing profession in the country. This is clearly good news for the profession. And the news gets better: college professors ranked second on the same list! It appears that we’ve achieved the most favorable position in one of the best possible professions.

May is typically a time of transformation in our programs with their graduations and commencement exercises. Our roles as faculty and our significance in the lives of our graduates change as we welcome them as colleagues and peers. We take pride in having nurtured their professional growth and development to this pivotal point. They are about to embark on an exciting journey with a new set of expectations and challenges. Their energy and enthusiasm is infectious, matched only by the class of ’09 waiting nervously in the wings for its orientation to begin.

This May, I am struck by the fact that PAEA has gone through a developmental process that in some ways mirrors this transformative time in the lives of our graduates. For the past 30 years, AAPA has provided a management structure for the Association as it supported the rapidly evolving profession of the PA educator. Our educational Association — now PAEA — has matured, emerging this May with the resources and infrastructure for independent management.

PAEA members have heard quite a bit over the last several months about PAEA moving into a “new space.” What we may not have appreciated is what this new space will really mean to us metaphorically as an Association and as faculty of PA programs. This issue of the Networker is the first to be published by our independently managed Association, now relocated to new office space that houses our seven employees, including four with more than five years of service to the Association and an executive director with nearly 15 years! Figuratively, this new space represents the beginning of a great leap forward for PAEA. As is the case for our graduates, the future is rich with opportunities and points to the new and improved services PAEA will bring to our members.

As these changes transpire, PAEA continues to enjoy a strong relationship with the Academy, and the Association’s board members look forward to increasing collaboration with all four organizations representing the various interests of the PA profession. We take particular pride in working on behalf of the unique interests of PA applicants, students, and faculty as we expand our representation and voice in the broader medical education community.

Fastest-growing profession, a high ranking for PAs, an even higher one for college professors, and a new space under independent management — it sounds like the beginning of a great spring.