Starting the PA educational journey is an exciting time, but the “unknown” about what lies in store can be overwhelming. Naturally, dedication to studies and academic success are universal priorities for Duke PA students. However, the program does a great deal to facilitate effective studying, provide a diverse and engaging learning environment, and foster essential collaborative relationships with peers. This helps each class tackle the PA curriculum as effectively as possible with the hope that each student can participate in activities that provide life balance. It takes hard work to strike that balance, but PA school does not mean forgoing relationships with family and loved ones or neglecting self-care and outside interests.
Currently, each incoming class is made up of 90 students with distinct backgrounds, experiences, and personalities. This diversity makes the learning experience extraordinary, but it also means each new class will have a personality as distinctive as the individual members who comprise it.
The Eugene A. Stead Society is Duke's PA student organization. The society keeps Duke PA students informed about developments in the profession and coordinates activities on the state and national level. Other society activities include fundraising, community service and events to promote public awareness of PAs. All Duke PA students are members of the Stead Society. Election of officers is held during the first semester.
PA Class of 2019 Stead Society Officers
Front Row: Green Chair: Rachael Mudd; NCAPA Student Rep.: Suzanne Hallquist; SAAAPA Alt. Rep.: Mongtu Krissy Ngo; Outreach Chair: Laura Barton; Vice President: Chad Hess
Second Row: Diversity Chair: Alvaro Sanchez; Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jacqueline Barnett; Historian: Margaret Longley; Secretary: Jose Carlo Esteban
Third Row: President: Maurice Paquette; Outreach Co-Chair: Annie Nosek; Honor Council: Rebecca Howell
Back Row: Treasurer: Patrick Whitman; Health & Wellness Chair: Hannah Hayes; SAAAPA Rep.: Mowita Neimyski-Rondeau; Grad & Prof Student Rep.: Erin Shiue
Due to the rigors of the curriculum, the majority of students find it difficult or impossible to work. In efforts to promote satisfactory academic progression, the program strongly discourages students from working. Student employment may jeopardize one’s ability to remain in satisfactory academic standing and to successfully complete the program. Part-time employment over breaks and holidays is at the discretion of the student, however students may not perform any medical tasks or procedures under the auspices of their role as Duke Physician Assistant students. Any student working while attending the program should notify his/her advisor.
All students enrolled in the program (irrespective of employment) must meet all course, attendance, and rotation requirements, and remain in satisfactory academic standing or risk being placed on academic probation, suspension or possible dismissal from the program. PA students are prohibited from working for the PA Program as instructional faculty or staff. While PA students often support each other throughout their PA education, this support dose not substitute for instructional faculty or administrative staff. The program and the university have adequate faculty and staff to support students throughout their training. Although students may assist preceptors and administrative staff with various duties to promote ongoing clinic work flow (organizing files, requesting labs, calling patients, etc.), students do not substitute for clinical or administrative staff during supervised clinical rotations.
Employment opportunities for physician assistants exist in all specialties and settings. Because of the reputation and history of the Duke program, our graduates are in demand.
In 2015, the average starting salary for Duke PA graduates was $85,400. The PA program provides employment placement counseling and assistance for new graduates.
Members of the Duke PA Class of 2015 are employed as physician assistants in the following distribution:
- Primary Care (family medicine, pediatrics, general internal medicine): 35%
- Surgery: 25%
- Emergency Medicine: 10%
- Internal Medicine subspecialties: 28%
- Other: 2%
Certification and Licensure
Graduates of the PA program sit for the PA National Certifying Examination (PANCE) shortly after graduation. This examination is required for initial licensing/registration in all states.