Q&A with Kathy Roche

Q&A with Kathleen Roche, RN, FNP, RPA-C, MPA
Program Director
Pace University-Lenox Hill Hospital Physician Assistant Program

Q: How does the Physician Assistant career path rank in terms of job satisfaction and stability?
A: Forbes has ranked the Physician Assistant Studies Master’s Degree as the best one for jobs.    This is not surprising because it's easy to find a job, and compensation is very attractive.  Pace University graduates of the Physician Assistant program typically have 2-3 job offers before they even finish the program. 


Q: Is this a recession-proof profession?
A: Currently, this profession is recession-proof because there is a significant shortage of PAs nationally, so a tough economy does not translate to fewer PA jobs. 


Q: Is there variety for PAs?
A: Yes, Pace PA graduates find jobs in everything from primary care and ER to cardiac critical care and orthopedics.


Q: What starting salary can PAs expect to earn?
A: The average starting salary for our PA grads ranges from $60,000-$90,000 per year.  According to Forbes, the mid-career median pay for PAs is $97,000.

Q: If someone is choosing between becoming a PA or a doctor, what would you advise?
A: All of the health professions offer the intrinsic reward of helping people.  Becoming a PA requires two years of training, much less time than medical school.  Furthermore, over the course of a Physician Assistant’s professional lifetime, she or he has the flexibility to work in any of a number of different medical fields without having to go back to school for more formal training or to complete a residency. 
Overall, the career choice to become a physician assistant gives one flexibility, professional satisfaction, and economic security.  Not quite as appealing as becoming a professional athlete, but much more achievable.


Q: Where can I find more information about Pace’s program?
A: The PA program for Pace is online at www.pace.edu/physician-assistant/ where you’ll find an overview of the program, along with FAQs and a page entitled “What Can I Do With This Profession?”