I have been using a lot of the resources at AAPA (American Academy of Physician Assistants) the last couple of weeks and I wanted to write a quick post on how important and beneficial it is to join AAPA and your local state chapter. I know I was confused about this at first and so were most of my classmates. We all wondered why would we spend $75 to join an organization when we were already paying so much to be in school. How could AAPA help us while we were in school?
Well let me tell you:
1. PA Advocates. AAPA works to advance the profession at federal and state levels. They work to improve the legislative and regulatory landscape for PAs, including working on policies that improve the healthcare environment for PAs and their patients or policies that allow PAs to practice medicine. This is so important! If nothing else, this is a reason to join.
2. Discounts. For me the best discount was being able to get UpToDate (a really good medical app) for $99 a year as a student. There are a lot of other discounts offered to members too…so check those out.
3. Career help. They have lots of helpful information on interviewing and contracts, which I am currently taking advantage of using.
4. AAPA Salary Report. As a student member you get access to the annual salary report. This is huge! It has been so helpful as I begin to look for jobs. The salary report gives you national salary data, including data per state, new graduates, average CME money, average bonuses, etc. This is important information for helping me to negotiate a better contract and feel more comfortable about any job offers I receive.
5. JAAPA. The Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. I cannot tell you how much I love this journal. I wish I had started using their website sooner! There are tons of amazing articles on a variety of diseases and topics. Each article is to the point and well written. I find it a useful way to study or brush up on a topic.
To join it is a one time fee of $75 for students, and membership lasts until 4 months after graduation. They send you some study/clinic aides after you join too. I highly recommend joining. Please join your state chapter too!
These are my personal opinions and thoughts.