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Certification & Recertification

If you’ve graduated from a physician assistant program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) or other accredited programs you can take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) for certification. PANCE is a 360-question multiple choice exam that evaluates your basic medical and surgical knowledge, and is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

All states, the District of Columbia, and Guam require that a PA pass the PANCE exam for full authorization to practice as a physician assistant.And, all states have laws and regulations pertaining to PAs. A summary of each state laws and regulations may be found on the AAPA Website.  

Many hospitals also require emergency medicine PAs to be certified in Advance Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). Check your hospital’s bylaws or rules to find out the requirements PAs must meet to be privileged.

Once you’ve passed the PANCE exam, you can use the PA-C designation. Your certification is a ten-year period that requires recertification every two years. To qualify for recertification, you must have completed a minimum of 100 hours of CME during throughout the two-year period. Certified PAs are also required to pass a recertification exam, Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE), by the end of the 10th year.

Visit NCCPA for more information on the PANCE and PANRE exams.