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Job Hunting Strategies and Trends Among Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies Graduates For the Years 1999-2002

1 August 2004


Objectives: to fill the knowledge void by: gathering objective data from a substantial number of Pacific University PA graduates about why graduates made their job decisions, how they worked out, how differently (if at all) they made later decisions, and whether revised strategies were more successful; and to make the data available to future students. To provide a data base on which Pacific University can build in the future, increasing the amount of information, thereby improving the reliability of the conclusions and ultimately improving the quality of decisions made by future graduates in their job searches.

Methods: Graduates of the classes of 1999-2002 were contacted via e-mail and were asked to complete a survey consisting of 18 multiple choice questions. The survey was posted on-line on the World Wide Web at A post card was also sent out in order to contact people whose e-mail addresses did not appear to be valid. In total, 48 surveys were collected. The data was then collected and analyzed.

Results: Study participants who began searching for jobs at least four months prior to graduation were 16% more likely than those who started later to have ajob or job offer by graduation. Those who relocated were 15% more likely than those who didn't to have their first jobs for >2 years. While those who made the location of their job the top priority in general were 27% more likely to have that job for more than two years. Graduates were most likely to find their jobs either through a clinical rotation or a personal connection. Of those who have had more than one job, 18% left their first job to work in a different city. One-third of participants decided to work in a particular field based on experience prior to P A school, with the next highest percentage being based on a good rotational experience. The third largest group said they wanted to work in family practice in order to get a good medical background before specializing. Thirty eight percent of participants took jobs in primary care. The next highest groups were surgery or surgical sub-specialties and emergency medicine and urgent care.


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