Certified PAs are highly qualified, licensed members of health care teams that diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medications, assist in surgery and more! Certified PAs are educated in the medical model and undergo periodic assessments of medical knowledge and continuing medical education throughout their careers.
Learn more about PAs and how they help to provide over 9.9 million patients like you with high-quality, accessible care each week.
How do PAs prepare to enter practice?
Certified 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 structured clinical education before they graduate.
In order to obtain their license to practice medicine, Certified PAs must graduate from an accredited PA program and pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). Once they have completed these requirements they can apply for a license with their state’s medical board.
State licensure laws authorize PAs to practice medicine either pursuant to a supervision agreement with a physician or in collaboration with a physician.
Certified PAs are required to complete 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every two years.
Think you know PAs? Put your knowledge to the test in this interactive quiz!
Now that you know how 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.