Maintaining Certification

To maintain certification, every two years PA-C designees earn and log at least 100 credits of CME and pay a certification maintenance fee by December 31 of their certification expiration year.

By the end of the final year of the certification maintenance cycle (for decades a six-year cycle with PAs now transitioning to a 10-year cycle), PA-C designees must also pass a recertification assessment.

PAs who must recertify in 2018 or 2019 have two recertification options - the traditional exam (PANRE) or a pilot of an alternative to PANRE.

PAs who lose certification must meet CME requirements and take and pass PANRE to regain it.



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 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. The remaining 50 credits can be Category 1, Category 2 or a combination of both.

Two types of Category 1 CME are self-assessment CME and PI-CME. While these types are no longer required as part of the 50 credits, we recognize the value of these very interactive types of CME, and will weight these types of CME more heavily. We 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 NCCPA.

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.

About PANRE

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.