Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistants
Physician Assistant education is based on the medical model. PA training is completed through an accredited program by the “Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistants.” The curriculum includes medical school type courses such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, hematology, clinical medicine, and physical diagnosis to name a few. It also includes a year of clinical rotations that include areas of internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, geriatric medicine, and electives. There are several postgraduate training experiences in some specialties that included emergency medicine, orthopedic surgery, as well as others. Most PAs do not participate in such residency programs nor are such programs required to practice in those areas.
Upon completion of their program, the PA will take an NCCPA national certifying exam (PANCE) exam. PAs must maintain their education through continuing medical education. For national certification, PAs must complete 100 hours of CME every 2 years. State law requirements vary to practice in that individual state. In Oklahoma, we require 20 hours of CME per year including one hour of substance abuse lecture. This is reported annually to maintain their license. They also must pass the initial PANCE certification by the NCCPA. Many states, as well as facilities within Oklahoma, require the PA maintain their NCCPA certification which includes different amounts and types of continuing education as well as recertification of the national board exam every 10 years.