Physician assistant specialty choice: A factor analysis

Karen A. Wright, Venetia L. Orcutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify factors related to physician assistant (PA) graduates' specialty choice. Methods: A web-based cross-sectional study of PAs graduating between 2007 and 2009 was conducted (N = 12,128). Factor analysis was performed on 897 useable survey responses. The cohort profile resembles that of recent AAPA census data regarding demographic and specialty choice distribution. Results: Principal component factor analysis of perception items identified five factors that explained 52.6% of the response variance. Factors included personal satisfaction, intellectual challenge, patient care commitment, image of primary care, and professional satisfaction. The influence items analysis yielded five factors, explained 45.2% of the variance, and included practice environment, nature of patient care, lifestyle, employment opportunities, and risk aversion. These factors parallel previous findings of Hauer, et al. Conclusions: Identification of factors affecting specialty choice should provide an enhanced understanding to organizations as they explore strategies to increase recruitment and expansion of the primary care workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-24
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physician Assistant Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Medical Assisting and Transcription


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