Introduction: A growing number of formal postgraduate training programs have been established to provide emergency medicine physician assistants (EMPA) with the unique skills and knowledge to work in the emergency department (ED). The objective of this study was to provide an overview of the current state of EMPA postgraduate training and to describe program characteristics and curriculum components.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of EMPA postgraduate training programs using data from websites and contacting individual programs to provide program characteristics and curriculum components. Variables collected included length of program, curriculum (e.g., clinical rotations, didactic experience, and research opportunities), size of program/number of trainees, affiliation with emergency medicine (EM) residency, geographic location, and salary.
Results: We identified 29 EMPA postgraduate training programs in 17 states, with at least one additional program in development. The mean length of EMPA training programs is 15 months (range 12-24 months). The most common non-ED/elective rotations are orthopedics, ultrasound, anesthesiology, and trauma. The mean number of trainees per class is 3.46 (median 3, range 1-16 trainees); 27 of 29 (93%) programs were in institutions that also had an EM residency program. The mean annual salary is $58,566 (range $43,000-90,000).
Conclusion: EMPA postgraduate training programs have common characteristics and curriculum components despite a lack of a specialty-specific accrediting organization or certifying examination. The overall growth and current number of these programs merits further research focusing on whether standardized curricula, formal recognition, and accreditation should be developed.