State Scope of Practice Laws: An Analysis of Physician Assistant Programs and Graduates

Virginia L. Valentin, Shahpar Najmabadi, Jeffery Jones, Christine M. Everett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to understand the association between physician assistant (PA) state scope of practice (SOP) laws and (1) PA program growth and (2) PA graduate demographics. METHODS: Scope of practice laws were categorized as ideal, average, and restrictive. Descriptive statistics by year and SOP categories were determined for the number of states, population density, PA programs, and PA graduate number, gender, race, and mean age. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to analyze demographic data by SOP categories. Adjusted risk ratios were generated for the number of PA programs and SOP categories. RESULTS: The number of PA programs is not associated with ideal SOP states. As of 2017, only 10 states have restrictive SOP laws. A minority of PA students now graduate from states with restrictive SOP laws. CONCLUSION: There is heterogeneity in PA SOP laws throughout the United States but only a minority of PA graduates now come from restrictive SOP states. This study provides foundational information prior to the implementation of optimal team practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-184
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physician Assistant Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Medical Assisting and Transcription


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