Question & Answer
Q. What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?
A. PAs are trained in intensive education programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) .
Because of the close working relationship the PAs have with physicians, PAs are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training. Upon graduation, physician assistants take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of PAs in conjunction with the National Board of Medical Examiners. To maintain their national certification, PAs must log 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and sit for a recertification every six years. Graduation from an accredited physician assistant program and passage of the national certifying exam are required for state licensure.
Q. What does "PA-C" stand for? What does the "C" mean?
A. Physician assistant-certified. It means that the person who holds the title has met the defined course of study and has undergone testing by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). The NCCPA is an independent organization, and the commissioners represent a number of different medical professions. It is not a part of the PA professional organization, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).To maintain that "C" after "PA", a physician assistant must log 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and take the recertification exam every six years.
Information provided by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (www.aapa.org)