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Being new to this forum, I'm not sure if this issue has been raised. I was recently admitted to a PA program in the midwest, and I currently live an area that doesn't have many practicing PA's to get a good representative sample. As a pre-PA male, I have noticed a significant shift over the years in the career becoming predominately female. My incoming student PA class is around 10-15 percent male, and so is my local universities. I know someone is always bound to take gender discussion too serious, so I'll keep my question as benign as possible. What are your takes on why more and more graduating classes, and practicing PA's, are becoming more female concentrated? And if your are a male student or clinician, has this had any affect on you?

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85% more women than males are not getting undergraduate careers. This is obviously not the answer to this issue

 

According to a 2010 CASPA report, >70% of the applicants and matriculants were female. This has been consistent for a few years now. If women are not getting undergraduate careers, that is another issue that may be contributing. Good point. There is evidence to suggest that a greater number of woman earn undergraduate degrees than males. They are definitely earning undergraduate degrees which can lead to a PA career.

LesH

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many "traditional applicants" ( medics, rt's, etc with a cert or a.s. at most) to pa schools were male. with the trend of BS gpa>hce in most ms programs today a large portion of the original applicant pool now think of pa as out of reach and opt for other careers like nursing instead.

when I started at my current job 10 yrs ago we had 2 women in a group of 15 pa's. now we have 7.

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many "traditional applicants" ( medics, rt's, etc with a cert or a.s. at most) to pa schools were male. with the trend of BS gpa>hce in most ms programs today a large portion of the original applicant pool now think of pa as out of reach and opt for other careers like nursing instead.

when I started at my current job 10 yrs ago we had 2 women in a group of 15 pa's. now we have 7.

 

Also, there are many more women in these traditional fields, who end up going on to PA school. When I started EMS about 12-13 years ago now, there were only 6 women in the entire company, now about half of the company I worked for are women. I see the same trend in EMS here in AZ, lots of female EMTs and medics.

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many "traditional applicants" ( medics, rt's, etc with a cert or a.s. at most) to pa schools were male. with the trend of BS gpa>hce in most ms programs today a large portion of the original applicant pool now think of pa as out of reach and opt for other careers like nursing instead.

 

From Value Added: Graduate-Level Education in Physician Assistant Programs

Reasons for Moving to Master’s. There were a number of factors that led PA educational programs to move to award the master’s degree, beginning in the early 1980s. These include:

1. The growing number of individuals applying to PA programs who already possessed bachelor’s degrees. For these students a master’s degree was preferable to a second bachelor’s degree. As the population of ex-Vietnam military medical corpsmen began to shrink, many PA programs began to see an applicant pool with less health care experience but better academic preparation than in the 1970s. These newer applicants tended for the most part to have bachelor’s degrees and sought out programs that awarded the master’s...

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I am a male in a PA program in New England that seems to be about 40% male.

 

When I was working as a (basic) EMT before PA school, the ambulance teams appeared to be about 1/3 female - I don't have the actual numbers. Doing pre-med/pre-PA classes at night at Northeastern University, the classroom was overwhelmingly female - maybe 80-90%. Many of those students were aiming at medical school but some at vet or dental school and some at PA school. A few were looking at nursing or NP school.

 

I don't know the reasons.

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in my paramedic program of 25 there was 1 woman. at my first medic job we had maybe 50 medics and 2 women, interestingly enough I had both of them as partners as a new medic, one was excellent and 1...not so much....

at my current hospital I interact with the medics quite a bit. maybe 40% are women today, including a few dual woman crews which was unheard of 20 yrs ago.

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The statistics at the University of Florida from 2007-2010. http://pap.med.ufl.edu/files/2010/11/class_profile_2007-2010.pdf

 

In 2007 there were 11 males and 49 females enrolled.

In 2008 there were 11 males and 49 females enrolled.

In 2009 there were 10 males and 50 females enrolled.

In 2010 there were 9 males and 51 females enrolled.

 

Males in UF are in a shrinking minority it seems. Speaks welll to the propagation of females in high-paying jobs. :)

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In posing the question, I was curious for something in depth. It is obvious that career gender balance has become more representative of the population within the traditionally male, salary oriented fields, which it should. Just look at a lot of medical schools, law schools, and Ph.D programs. They demonstrate close to 50/50. Instead, why do you think most P.A. schools are seeing a sharp decline in male representation. Is it something intrinsic to the career? Assistant title? Friends influencing their friends to take the route? I think EMEDPA's comment closes in on the issue with the majority of applicants to schools now appearing to be pre-med rather than the practical experience fields. Maybe the quicker track to practice medicine and start a family is the best answer. With all due respect to the educator, the video posted was not along the answers that I was inciting toward, but realize it was in good fun;).

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LOL Sorry sometimes I just can't help myself. I like Areatha. :wink:

The issues you describe have been discussed before on the forum. I am usually good at finding threads, but this one seems to escape me. Still, I don't think anyone could have seen this happening when Joyce Nichols, PA-C was accepted to Duke.

 

I do agree with EMED concerning the applicant pool and credentials, but I can't qoute any indepth analysis or provide emperical data that supports this. I don't think there is any. From talking with some of my counterparts in California I get the sense that enrollment in PA programs along gender, race, and SES demographics may follow credential awarded by the program. Which would make sense, but there is only data to support that being true for race.

 

Good post. Will be interested in what you find out.

LesH

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  • 4 years later...

This has been discussed before.

Healthcare has always been a female dominated industry.

Exception was physicians, senior admin and the maintenance dept.

Likely the only holdout now is the maintenance dept. 

The good Dr. Stead was actually quoted in a PA text as welcoming and supporting females into the profession back in the early 70s, something that was not a majority attitude for medical schools or society in general. 

As for the effect on a male PA student, I got a golden nugget of advice from the the OB surgeon I did a rotation with. His advice was not stemming from his specialty but an insight into medicine in general.

His advice: Healthcare is overwhelming female. From patients to nursing to support staff, the likelihood is that you will be working with a woman. If you cant work with women, you are in the wrong business.

That dude in the pic above needs to turn his frown upside down. 

G Brothers PA-C

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That dude in the pic above needs to turn his frown upside down. 

G Brothers PA-C

he's probably the only one in the class who won't get to do peds and ob rotations...that's why he is frowning...that actually happens at some newer pa programs because all the female peds and ob docs only want female students...

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That dude in the pic above needs to turn his frown upside down. 

G Brothers PA-C

 

pretty sure the photo was just taken in jest. anyhow, i was a male minority in my class, but wouldn't have changed it for the world. had a blast and made great friends. just thought the photo was funny :)

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At my university (located in the Midwest), the application ratio of M to F was like 1:4 and the matriculation represents that. Seems to me PA is an optimal choice over medical school for females because the opportunity to finish school faster and go ahead and have babies while working and making a hefty paycheck instead of during residency and working 70+ hours a week and making piss poor money. This is a perfectly logical and reasonable perspective for a woman and it doesn't bother me. It is interesting that applicant pool for men isn't increasing in some places, at least in the Midwest. I was the only guy I knew of in undergrad that was  pre-PA. Every other guy was med school, dental, or pharm.  I think a part of it, for men, is that there is the perception that PAs are more medical "assistants" than medical practitioners. That is obvious even among some of the men in my class. One guy asked me the other day "You wouldn't see a PA intubate someone ever..would you?". I wanted to take him to task for EMEDPA but I let him off the hook. So I guess its debunking the myths that may lead to more males going into the field but, whatever. I'm fine either way, personally. 

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At my university (located in the Midwest), the application ratio of M to F was like 1:4 and the matriculation represents that. Seems to me PA is an optimal choice over medical school for females because the opportunity to finish school faster and go ahead and have babies while working and making a hefty paycheck instead of during residency and working 70+ hours a week and making piss poor money. This is a perfectly logical and reasonable perspective for a woman and it doesn't bother me. It is interesting that applicant pool for men isn't increasing in some places, at least in the Midwest. I was the only guy I knew of in undergrad that was  pre-PA. Every other guy was med school, dental, or pharm.  I think a part of it, for men, is that there is the perception that PAs are more medical "assistants" than medical practitioners. That is obvious even among some of the men in my class. One guy asked me the other day "You wouldn't see a PA intubate someone ever..would you?". I wanted to take him to task for EMEDPA but I let him off the hook. So I guess its debunking the myths that may lead to more males going into the field but, whatever. I'm fine either way, personally. 

 

I've often wondered if the male ego plays somewhat into the present application disparity between male and female PA students. It probably still has more to do with more females becoming interested in the profession in the past two decades and also that it has become a graduate pathway.

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It is interesting that applicant pool for men isn't increasing in some places, at least in the Midwest. I was the only guy I knew of in undergrad that was  pre-PA. Every other guy was med school, dental, or pharm.

 

At my University, I've met at least 15 young men within my major that are Pre-PA student. I've also met quite a handful of other male students at a Health Careers Fair on campus and they were interested in pursuing PA School over Medical School.

 

I attend undergrad on the Northeast coast so that may have some influence...maybe not.

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  • 9 months later...

No one has mentioned the fact that healthcare generally tends to be more meritocratic than a lot of other high paying fields. No question discrimination is still a very big factor in fields like law, entertainment, finance and upper management, where (except in law) promotion tends to be hugely important and entry level jobs can be crap. I think this is a big driver of the LT secular trend; as women gain more prominence in the profession it leverages the trend. Our class is 14-10 male while 2 years ago had a 22-2 f, so the trend may be plateauing, but I doubt it will reverse much.

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