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2019 Cohort of Newly Certified Physician Assistants is the Largest Cohort Yet, Breaking 2018 Record

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
Erica Banks, Senior Director of Communications
email: [email protected]
phone: 678.417.8685

2019 Cohort of Newly Certified Physician Assistants is the Largest Cohort Yet, Breaking 2018 Record

Johns Creek, Ga., October 12, 2020 – The number of newly Certified Physician Assistants (PAs) reached new heights in 2019, with more than 70% receiving multiple job offers before entering the workforce. These key findings are included in the 2019 Statistical Profile of Recently Certified Physician Assistants, published by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

NCCPA certified 9,554 new physician assistants in 2019, a 2.9% increase from 2018. Additionally, the 2019 cohort of newly Certified PAs is the youngest yet, with a median age of 27. For recently Certified PAs who have accepted a job, in addition to competitive salary offers, 64.4% report that they received employment incentives such as reimbursements for continuing medical education (CME) and certification maintenance, an income guarantee, or signing bonus.

With the number of PA programs expected to increase 18% by 2023, the report indicates that the profession will continue to grow.

“In only seven years, we’ve seen a 30.2% increase in the number of PAs completing their education and obtaining initial certification,” said NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias. “Certified PAs are well-educated, clinically trained medical professionals who improve the lives of millions of patients every week, and many of these newly Certified PAs are currently on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. This report is a positive indication that there continues to be a strong demand to educate, recruit and hire these valuable health care professionals across the nation.”

The report, which is published annually, also offers new insight into what recently Certified PAs desire in a practice environment. 75.7% of respondents indicated they prioritize practicing in a collaborative environment that emphasizes interprofessional engagement, while 44.9% stated this is the most important attribute of their practice environment.

Additional key findings include:

10.6% of newly Certified PAs indicated they will seek additional education and clinical training.

  • 50.8% of the 2019 cohort accepted a clinical position, and 60.5% of those PAs accepted a position within two months of receiving NCCPA certification.
  • 20.0% of newly Certified PAs indicated they can communicate with patients in a language other than English.
  • 38.3% of respondents indicated that they have searched for but not accepted a position, with 26.5% stating that they’ve turned down at least one offer.

“Certified PAs complete a rigorous educational program and testing process, and they are critical members of the health care team,” said Morton-Rias. “The positive momentum we see each year confirms that Certified PAs continue to enjoy an in-demand, fulfilling and challenging career path.”

About the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only certifying organization for the 139,000 physician assistants (PAs) in the United States. The PA-C credential is awarded by NCCPA to PAs who fulfill certification, certification maintenance and recertification requirements. NCCPA also administers the Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) program for experienced, Certified PAs practicing in seven specialties. For more information, visit