Physician Assistants/Associates (PAs) are highly qualified, licensed members of health care teams that diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medications, assist in surgery and more! PAs are educated in the medical model and undergo periodic assessments of medical knowledge and continuing medical education throughout their careers. Explore this website to learn more about PAs and how they help to provide over 10.4 million patients like you with high quality, accessible care each week.
PAs are educated at the master’s degree level. Before entering PA school, PAs complete a bachelor’s degree program, and most are required to have prior health care experience with hands-on patient care. PA programs are typically 27 months, and PA students must complete at least 2,000 hours of structured clinical education before they graduate.
In order to obtain a license to practice medicine, PAs must graduate from an accredited PA program and pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). After passing PANCE, PAs are issued NCCPA certification and can use the PA-C designation.
State licensure laws authorize PAs to practice medicine either pursuant to a supervision agreement with a physician or in collaboration with a physician.
To maintain their certification, PAs must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every two years and must pass a recertification assessment (the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Examination (PANRE)) every ten years.
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Now that you know how Board Certified PAs care for and support patients like you every day, watch this video to learn a little about the organization that certifies those PAs.
The National Commission on Certification of PAs (NCCPA) is the only certifying body for PAs in the U.S. Established as a not-for-profit organization in 1974, NCCPA provides certification programs that reflect standards for clinical knowledge, clinical reasoning and other medical skills and professional behaviors required upon entry into practice and throughout the careers of PAs.