Compensation Disparity Between Female and Male PAs Persists

Despite modest improvements, women PAs are still paid 11% less than men on average


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (September 14, 2017) – Research conducted by the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), and published this month in Women’s Health Issues, found that female PAs are compensated 89 cents for every dollar men are compensated. Although this 11 percent disparity is less than the national average of 82 cents per dollar most recently reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it remains unacceptable—especially for one of the fastest growing health professions, which is nearly 70 percent female.

The research examined the disparity over time using data collected by AAPA from 1998 to 2014 from tens of thousands of PAs. More recent data from the 2017 AAPA Salary Report, which will be released at the end of the month, confirms that the gap between the salaries of male and female PAs persists.

“As a PA educator, I feel keenly the burden of student debt. One way to think about the impact of the gender pay gap is in the context of the $150,000 in student loans facing a typical PA upon graduation. A male PA earning $10,000 a year more than his female PA counterpart could use that extra money to pay off his student loan debt in 15 years. The disparate treatment of women in the PA profession is simply unacceptable,” said L Gail Curtis, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA, president and chair of the AAPA Board of Directors.

In the recently published article, the AAPA researchers discuss strategies being used in other industries to lessen the wage gap between males and females. These include not using an individual’s previous salary to determine compensation offers, but relying instead on the job duties, experience, and skills.  Other strategies include compensation transparency and implicit bias training for those who make hiring and compensation decisions.

“While we are encouraged by the positive trends the research uncovered, we still have work to do,” said Jenna Dorn, CEO of AAPA. “As an organization dedicated to the PA profession, AAPA will continue to advocate for pay equity.”

When examining 2014 compensation among male and female PAs, the researchers found that several workplace and practice variables predict PA salary and compensation. Among these, years of experience, hours worked weekly, specialty, postgraduate clinical training, number of patients seen weekly, and hours taking call were all found to significantly predict total compensation. These differences were controlled for in determining the 11 percent wage gap between women and men PAs.

This research was conducted as part of AAPA’s annual PA salary survey and Salary Report by AAPA’s research department analysts, Noel Smith, MA, Senior Director, PA and Industry Research and Analysis;  and Tim McCall, PhD, Research Analyst; and James F. Cawley, MPH, PA-C, DHL (hon) of The George Washington University.


About the American Academy of PAs
AAPA is the national organization that advocates for all PAs and provides tools to improve PA practice and patient care. Founded in 1968, AAPA represents a profession of more than 115,500 PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories and the uniformed services. Visit to learn more.