Demonstrating commitment to compassionate patient care, the health care team, & continued certification.

Maintain Certification

The 10-year certification maintenance process includes five two-year cycles during which all Certified PAs must log 100 Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits online and submit a certification maintenance fee by 11:59 p.m. PT, December 31 of their certification expiration year. You will need to pass a recertification exam by the end of your 10th year.

Visit the pages below to learn more about recertification options, CME, how to regain certification, and more.

The recertification exam measures the core medical knowledge that is relevant for all clinically practicing PAs, regardless of their specialty or practice setting. Passing the exam helps PAs demonstrate they are staying up-to-date on core medical topics.

PAs now have two options for meeting their recertification exam requirement, and PAs should choose the option that best suits their individual preferences. Both exam options are based on the same content blueprint. With either option, PAs must also meet the Continuing Medical Education requirements. The fee is the same ($350) regardless of the option selected.

PANRE

About PANRE

PANRE is the traditional recertification exam that is administered in one setting at Pearson VUE test centers. You’re eligible to take PANRE in the 9th or 10th year of the certification maintenance cycle. Here are some highlights of the PANRE process.

  • You may take PANRE up to two times in the 9th year and up to three times in the 10th year, with a maximum of four total attempts.
  • You will be able to schedule your exam anytime (based on test center availability) within the 180-day timeframe established for you based on the submittal of a completed application.
  • PANRE consists of four blocks of 60 questions with 60 minutes to complete each block. There is a total of 45 minutes allotted for breaks between blocks and 15 minutes to view a tutorial. The testing time is four hours, and the total exam schedule is five hours.
  • It is administered throughout the year at over 200 Pearson VUE test centers in the U.S., as well as at select international centers, except for the last few weeks of the year. For 2022, no testing occurs between Dec. 18-31, 2022.
  • You’ll need to take two forms of valid ID to the Pearson VUE test center and follow other security check-in procedures, as noted on NCCPA and Pearson VUE’s websites.
  • You will receive your results typically within two weeks of taking the exam.
  • You may only take PANRE once in any 90-day period. The 90-day limit on PANRE attempts is waived when (1) there are fewer than 90 days left in the 10th year and (2) you have not already exhausted all PANRE attempts for the year. In such cases, one final exam attempt is permitted.
  • You must also meet your CME requirements in addition to passing PANRE to maintain certification.

How do I apply for PANRE?

  • If you are in your 9th or 10th year of your certification maintenance cycle, just log in to your NCCPA record to register for PANRE. The registration fee is $350.
  • There is no testing between Dec. 18-31, 2022.
  • You will receive an acknowledgment email that provides the 180-day testing window and instructions on how to schedule your exam with Pearson VUE.
  • If you apply late in the year to take the exam in the current year or late in your 10th year, your testing window will be shorter than 180 days.

What are the benefits of taking PANRE?

  • You will complete the exam in one 5-hour session.
  • You will receive your results typically within two weeks of taking the exam.
  • If you do not receive a passing score, you can retake the exam after waiting 90 days.

PANRE-LA

About PANRE-LA

PANRE-LA is the new official alternative to the traditional PANRE that was adopted following the two-year Pilot Alternative to PANRE. It incorporates elements of a longitudinal assessment and is designed to help PAs identify and address knowledge gaps in core medical content. Feedback from PAs who participated in the Pilot helped to inform the design of PANRE-LA. Here are some highlights of the new process.

  • PAs apply for the PANRE-LA in the 6th year of their cycle. The exam is administered over 12 quarters in years 7-9, but you may finish as early as 8 quarters.
  • Your final score will be based on your best 8 quarters. You may work straight through or skip up to 4 quarters during the process, as long as you complete at least 1 quarter in year 7 and 1 in year 8. Completing more quarters gives you more opportunities to pass.
  • Each quarter, you’ll receive 25 questions and will have five minutes to answer each question. You can use printed or online references to help with the answer, if needed.
  • You will receive questions on topics missed in previous quarters to demonstrate you’ve closed knowledge gaps and to improve your performance.
  • Each quarter, you’ll receive feedback so you know how you are performing.
  • If you don’t pass by the end of the 12 quarters, you will have three attempts to take and pass PANRE in year 10 before your certification expires.
  • You must continue to meet your CME requirements while participating in the PANRE-LA.

How do I apply for PANRE-LA?

  • Certified PAs due for recertification in 2024, 2025 and 2026 are eligible for the 2023 initial launch of the PANRE-LA and must apply between July 2022 – November 30, 2022. The PANRE-LA launches in January 2023.
  • PAs due to recertify in 2027 and beyond will apply between July – November 30 of their sixth year of their certification maintenance cycle and start the exam in January of their seventh year.
  • Just log in to your NCCPA record during the application window to register for PANRE-LA. The registration fee is $350.

What are the benefits of taking PANRE-LA?

PANRE-LA may help remove some of the stress and anxiety of taking the recertification assessment, as it can be completed:

    • On your own device, whether it’s a phone, laptop, iPad, etc. – whatever you’re comfortable with!
    • On your own time. You can answer as few or as many questions as you want each time you log in during the quarter, as long as each set of 25 questions is completed by the quarter’s deadline.
    • From anywhere! As long as you have stable internet access, you can log in to answer questions.

For every quarter that you answer all 25 questions, you will receive two Category 1 Self-Assessment CME credits (three credits with NCCPA’s 50% bonus for Self-Assessment).

PA-C Emeritus Designation

The PA-C Emeritus® designation was established in 2016 to honor PAs who have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the professionalism and standards required of Certified PAs but who are no longer clinically practicing and do not have the need to be certified any longer.

Eligibility Requirements for the PA-C Emeritus Designation

Applicants will be awarded the PA-C Emeritus designation if they meet the following requirements:

  • Are retired from clinical practice.
  • Have been certified by NCCPA at least 20 cumulative years during their PA career or have retired from practice due to permanent disability and have qualified for federal Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and/or disability retirement or long-term disability benefits*; and
  • Have no reportable actions in their NCCPA disciplinary history and no NCCPA disciplinary matter in any stage of review.

*Acceptable documentation is a statement, record, or letter on official letterhead from one of the following: a treating physician/medical professional, a federal government agency that issues or provides disability benefits, or a state vocational rehabilitation agency.

There is a one-time $50 application fee. Proceeds from the PA-C Emeritus program will benefit the PA Foundation scholarship program, expanding the NCCPA Endowed Scholarship that awards multiple scholarships each year with the ultimate aim of reducing health disparities.

Applications are accepted only from PAs who are currently certified, and the Emeritus designation will be awarded in conjunction with certification expiration.

Maintenance Requirements for the PA-C Emeritus Designation

Like NCCPA certification, the PA-C Emeritus designation shall be maintained on two-year, calendar year cycles. There is no renewal fee.

Maintenance requires completion of a reapplication process, which will include attestation that the PA continues to meet the requirements established for initial eligibility. The PA-C Emeritus designation shall be suspended if the PA regains certification, and may be restored upon expiration of the regained certification if the PA establishes that he or she continues to meet the requirements established for initial eligibility.

The PA-C Emeritus designation may be verified by any third party by going to “Verify PA Certification” under “Resources” in the toolbar at the top of this page

Limitations on Use of the PA-C Emeritus Designation

The PA-C Emeritus designation is not the equivalent of PA-C credential. Those designated as PA-C Emeritus are not considered certified by NCCPA and may not hold themselves out as such.

The PA-C Emeritus designation may not be used in any clinical setting or in the context of any clinically-related interaction, including clinical volunteer service. This does not mean the PA-C Emeritus designees may not engage in clinical volunteer service. They simply may not identify themselves as a PA-C Emeritus in that setting. Doing so – or committing any other act that would trigger NCCPA disciplinary review for certified PAs — will result in review in accordance with NCCPA’s Policies and Procedures for PA Disciplinary Matters.

Sign in and go to “My Account” to apply.

Regaining Certification

PAs who have lost certification may regain it by fulfilling CME requirements and passing PANRE.

  • First sign in to your record and log, or verify that you have logged, at least 100 Category 1 CME credits earned within the two-year period ending on the date your PANRE application is submitted to NCCPA. For example, if you plan on applying for PANRE on June 1, 2022, your CME earning window will be June 1, 2020-June 1, 2022. You can apply any CME credits that you have previously earned within the timeframe mentioned above.
  • Then apply for PANRE and, after receiving your exam acknowledgement email, schedule your exam as soon as you desire to take it following certification expiration. (After that first attempt to regain certification, if unsuccessful on the exam you may take PANRE only one time in any single 90-day period.)

Exception: PAs who have lost eligibility for certification due to NCCPA disciplinary proceedings must first apply to reestablish eligibility.

Next steps?

You can log your CME credits, apply and pay for the exam online at your personal record.

Certification Maintenance Resources

Access tools to help you maintain your certification