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Certificate & CME Licensing Information

How Do I Become Certified?

When you graduate from a PA program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) you can take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) for certification. The multiple-choice exam assesses basic medical and surgical knowledge. You will need to submit an application and payment in advance and can choose from over 200 testing sites. After passing PANCE, PAs are issued National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) certification and can use the PA-C designation until the certification expiration date (approximately two years). For full details on eligibility and registration, visit the NCCPA site.

How Do I Maintain My Certification?

In 2014 PAs began transitioning from a 6-year to a 10-year cycle certification maintenance cycle. To see when you transition into the 10-year cycle, sign into you NCCPA record to review your dashboard, here.

The certification maintenance cycle is divided into two-year periods. During every two-year period, PA-C designees must earn and log a minimum of 100 credits of CME and submit a certification maintenance fee to NCCPA by 11:59pm PT, December 31 of their certification expiration year.

By the end of the sixth year (or tenth year) of the certification maintenance cycle, PA-C designees must have also passed a re-certification exam. Offered at testing centers throughout the US, the multiple choice Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE) is designed to assess general medical and surgical knowledge. PAs who fail to maintain their certification must meet CME requirements and take and pass PANRE to regain it.

Two types on Category 1 CME are self-assessment CME and PI-CME. While these types are no longer required as part of the 50 credits, NCCPA recognizes the value of these very interactive types of CME and will weight these types of CME more heavily. NCCPA will award 50% additional credit for all activities designated for self-assessment Category 1 CME credit (i.e. a self-assessment activity worth 10 credits will be converted to 15 credits by NCCPA). Also, the first 20 PI-CME credits logged during every two-year cycle will be doubled when logged with NCCPE. Your CME earning and logging window begins May 1 of the year your current certification was issued and continues through December 31 of the certification expiration year.

For complete information on becoming certified , maintaining certification, CME logging instructions and more, visit the NCCPA site.


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