The six-year certification maintenance cycle (PAs began transitioning to a new ten-year certification maintenance cycle in 2014) is divided into three two-year periods (five two-year periods for those now on the ten-year cycle). 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 11:59 p.m. PT, December 31 of their certification expiration year.
You can begin earning and logging CME credits on May 1 of your certification cycle year and must finish earning and logging them by 11:59 p.m. PT, December 31 of the year your certification expires. The only exception to this policy is for first-time loggers.
By the end of the sixth year (or tenth year) of the certification maintenance cycle, PA-C designees must have also passed a recertification exam. Offered at testing centers throughout the U.S., 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.
Following the completion of the six year (ten year) requirements, the certification maintenance process begins again.
Click here to view some of the key changes to your online personal certification record before you sign in!
10-year Certification Maintenance Process that Began in 2014
2014 marked the beginning of the PA profession's transition to a 10-year certification maintenance process. PAs who passed PANCE, regained certification, or wrap up a six-year certification maintenance cycle will begin the new 10-year process. To see when you move to the 10-year cycle, sign in to your record to review your dashboard.
The new process requires new types of CME activities, described below and also explained in the video below and in our certification maintenance flyer.
The 10-year certification maintenance process includes five two-year cycles during which all certified PAs must log 100 CME credits online and submit a *certification maintenance fee by 11:59 p.m. PT, December 31 of your certification expiration year.
During each of those two-year cycles, you must earn and log at least 100 CME credits, including at least 50 Category 1 CME credits. Also -- new in the 10-year certification maintenance cycle -- 20 of the 50 Category 1 CME credits must be earned through self-assessment CME and/or performance improvement CME (PI-CME) during the first four cycles. In the fifth, and final cycle, no self-assessment CME and/or performance improvement CME (PI-CME) is required. You just need to earn at least 50 Category 1 CME credits, but you choose which activities. And, by the end of the first four two-year CME cycles, you must have earned a total of at least 40 Category 1 CME credits through PI activities and 40 Category 1 CME credits through SA activities.
The remaining 50 credits can be Category 1, Category 2 or a combination of both.
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 example, PA-C designees whose certification expires in 2016 must have earned their CME between May 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016.) The only exception to this policy is for first-time loggers.
By the end of the sixth year (or tenth year) of the certification maintenance cycle, PA-C designees must have passed a recertification exam. Offered at testing centers throughout the U.S., the multiple choice Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE) is designed to assess general medical and surgical knowledge.
You are eligible to take the PANRE for recertification if you:
are in the fifth or sixth year of the PA-C certification maintenance cycle, or
are in the ninth or tenth year of the PA-C certification maintenance cycle, depending on your recertification cycle.
**PAs may take PANRE up to two times in the fifth or ninth year and up to three times in the sixth or tenth year, with a maximum of four total attempts.
About the Administrative Certification Extension
If you do not earn or log all required CME credits and/or pay required fees by 11:59 p.m. PT, December 31 of your certification expiration year, you will be granted a one-month extension of certification to allow additional time for the completion of those requirements. Your certification will expire unless you (1) complete all outstanding requirements and (2) remit a $150 non-refundable certification continuation fee by January 31. If you do not meet all requirements by January 31 and desire to regain certification (go to our regaining certification page for information on regaining certification), you must do so in accordance with current policies and may not appeal for an additional extension absent satisfactory documentation of extraordinary extenuating circumstances.
You can complete your requirements online at your personal record.