Become
a Certified PA

Make a Difference in Health Care as a Certified PA

If you’re considering a career in health care, becoming a PA could be a rewarding career choice. Certified PAs work in every specialty and setting, report high job satisfaction, and the profession was ranked as the #2 health care job by U.S. News and World Report in 2022.

Explore this page to learn more about Certified PAs, how they practice and why you should join the more than 159,000 Certified PAs across the United States!

What Do Certified PAs Do?

Certified PAs treat millions of patients every week. They perform routine medical services and intricate procedures, including:

  • Diagnose and manage diseases, including chronic illnesses
  • Prescribe medications
  • Assist in major surgeries
  • Perform minor surgeries
  • Monitor and manage hospital inpatients
  • Order and interpret lab tests
  • Perform physical exams
  • Obtain medical histories
  • Educate patients on treatment and health maintenance

What Do Certified PAs Do?

Certified PAs treat millions of patients every week. They perform routine medical services and intricate procedures, including:

  • Diagnose and manage diseases, including chronic illnesses
  • Prescribe medications
  • Assist in major surgeries
  • Perform minor surgeries
  • Monitor and manage hospital inpatients
  • Order and interpret lab tests
  • Perform physical exams
  • Obtain medical histories
  • Educate patients on treatment and health maintenance

Number of patients seen per year by Certified PAs

1 +
Million

Where Do Certified PAs Work?

Certified PAs work in every state and in every medical and surgical specialty, from family medicine to neurosurgery, and in every setting, from a rural health clinic to a hospital in the busiest of cities. The PA-C credential gives PAs the flexibility to change specialties throughout their careers. So, whether your interests change, or you decide to move into a specialty where there is a need for more providers, the generalist foundation of PA certification will allow you to do that.

Some of the specialties and settings in which Certified PAs practice are shown below. Check out NCCPA’s latest report on Certified PA practice for a more comprehensive list.

Resources for Future PAs of all Ages

 You’re never too young to learn about the PA profession. Click on the resources below to get started!

Why Should I Become a Certified PA?

Flexibility: PAs are educated as generalists, so they have the ability to change specialties throughout their careers.

Reputation: PAs have a strong reputation for high-quality patient care. Created to meet the increased demand for patient care in the 1960s and continue serving on the front lines today, most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, the PA profession constantly demonstrates its commitment to patient care.

Job Satisfaction: PA consistently ranks as one of the top jobs in health care and the top job in the United States with reports of a work/life balance, comfortable salaries, and flexibility contributing to a high degree of job satisfaction. According to a report by NCCPA, 71% of all Certified PAs are completely or mostly satisfied with their present job.

Employment Outlook: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of PAs is projected to grow 31% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As demand for health care services grows, PAs will be needed to provide care to patients.

Salary: According to research conducted by NCCPA, Certified PAs earn an average annual income of $115,000.

How Do I Become a Certified PA?

1. Research PA Programs
Even before entering undergrad, it's a good idea to research PA programs to get a sense of the prerequisite courses that you'll need to take prior to applying to PA school.
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2. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
Before applying to PA school, you'll need to complete a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. You should strongly consider a science-related major and take any prerequisite courses necessary for PA school.
3. Get HCE/PCE Experience
After graduation, you'll need to obtain at least 1,000 hours of health care experience (HCE) or patient care experience (PCE). If you'd like to satisfy this requirement sooner, you may seek out opportunities to complete HCE/PCE hours during your undergraduate studies.
5. Complete PA School
PA school typically ranges between 23-27 months. During this time you'll want to remain focused and study hard and often. Prior to graduating, you'll need to complete at least 2,000 hours of structured clinical education.
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Are you an educator that would like to have a Certified PA speak to your students?

Certified PAs are ready, and would love to speak to your students about this amazing profession. To schedule a presentation please contact us. 

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