AAPA frequently hears the myth that its data cannot be valid as it is self-reported. However, we benchmark our data against other available salary data including self-reported and employer-reported data and have found we are consistently within a reasonable range of other salary sources, given the differences in what is considered “salary” or “compensation.”
For example, the base salary data in the AAPA Salary Report are very close to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is employer-reported based on annualized hourly wage. PAs reference the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) as a source of salary benchmarking. However, MGMA data are based on salary data reported to MGMA by a small group of their member organizations, and the breakouts needed to accurately determine a PA’s base compensation are limited due to the small sample sizes. We have heard that MGMA’s salary data for PAs are sometimes higher than AAPA’s and sometimes lower. We do not share MGMA’s data with PAs as it is proprietary to MGMA.
We recommend that whatever the source of salary data, you request to see the data and what is included within their salary report. We also recommend considering non-paid compensation such as bonuses and other additional compensation, benefits, and other factors important to you personally, to evaluate a full compensation and benefits package. AAPA members can learn more about contract negotiations through our career resource, Negotiating Your Contract. Alternatively, we have Becoming the Self-Aware Advocate available for purchase in AAPA Learning Central.