Certification and Licensure

How are Physician Assistants certified?

PAs attend an educational program that has been awarded national accreditation status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Students must attend a nationally accredited program to be eligible to sit for the national board certification examination for physician assistants. The National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the organization that designs, implements and evaluates the national certification exam.

Brittany Barnes2

“With health care moving the direction that it is, PAs will be able to provide affordable care that will make a difference. We are an extension of the physician.”

Brittany Barnes, Russellville, AR

Upon graduation from a nationally accredited PA program, physician assistant students take the certification exam for the first time which is called the PANCE or the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination.

Practicing PAs must also complete 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every 2 years to maintain their national certification status. They must also complete a national re-certification examination called the PANRE or Physician Assistant National Re-Certifying Examination every 10 years with other additional requirements to maintain their national certification.


How are Physician Assistants licensed?

Physician Assistants are licensed individually by the state medical boards of each state. PAs must obtain licensure in the state in which they wish to practice in order to practice medicine. Every state will have different requirements and regulations for practicing PAs. It is important for the PAs and supervising physicians to review and understand the practice regulations and guidelines in the state in which they are practicing. Physician assistants in the state of Arkansas are licensed by the Arkansas Medical Board with their supervising physician. Please refer to the section on “For Providers” for additional information on supervising PAs.

More information on the Arkansas Medical Board can be found at: www.armedicalboard.org

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