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 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 2023, no testing occurs between Dec. 17-31, 2023.
  • 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. For information on PANRE scoring, click here.
  • 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. 17-31, 2023.
  • 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.

What are the 2023 Exam dates for PANRE?

2023 PANRE (Secure) Exam

  • January 3, 2023 – December 16, 2023 – Administration window for the 2023 PANRE exam.

Physician Assistant National Recertifying Examination Longitudinal Assessment (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 through their NCCPA portal.
  • 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 participate in 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 (5) minutes to answer each question.
  • You can use printed or online references to help with the answer, if needed.
  • You will receive immediate feedback on each question you answer, including the correct response, explanation and references.
  • Each quarter starting with the second, 5 topics are repeated to reinforce existing knowledge and facilitate learning. In these cases, the better of the two responses is counted and the other response is removed from the score.
  • 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 and when do I apply for PANRE-LA?

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 using any of the supported browsers.
  • 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).

Key Dates for PANRE-LA 

Below are the quarterly date ranges when PAs who are registered for PANRE-LA can log in to answer questions in 2023. NCCPA will send email notifications when questions are available and when deadlines are approaching. However, we recommend adding these dates to your calendar to ensure that you don’t miss a deadline.


Quarter Starts  Quarter Ends 
Tuesday, January 3  Friday, March 10 
Monday, April 3  Monday, June 12 
Monday, July 3*  Monday, September 11 
Monday, October 2  Monday, December 11 

*NCCPA office will be closed in observance of Independence Day and will reopen Wednesday, July 5. 

The application window for PAs due to recertify in 2027 is July 5 – November 30, 2023. 

Want more information about PANRE-LA?

Click the links below to download the PANRE-LA Resources. These resources include:  Fact Sheet, PANRE-LA blueprint, PANRE sample questions, Podcast, Tutorial, and a message from the NCCPA President and CEO on PANRE-LA.

Watch this PANRE-LA tutorial to give you an idea of what you can expect when you log in to answer questions.

Watch this video to learn how “repeat topics” in PANRE-LA can help you improve your overall performance and how the longitudinal assessment serves as a learning opportunity for those who participate in it.

PANRE-LA: How is it scored?

This video addresses some of the most common questions we hear. Questions like “How is PANRE-LA scored? How will I know how I’m performing?”

PA-C Emeritus Designation

To honor those who have demonstrated longstanding commitment to lifelong learning, patient care and the certification process, NCCPA will confer the PA-C Emeritus® designation on eligible PAs who apply for the PA-C Emeritus designation, after the expiration of their NCCPA board certification. 

Eligibility Requirements for the PA-C Emeritus Designation

Board certified PAs who apply for the PA-C Emeritus designation will be so designated following the expiration of their PA-C board certification provided they meet the following requirements:

  1. Document their retirement from clinical practice to the satisfaction of NCCPA;
  2. Have been certified by NCCPA at least 20 cumulative years during their PA career or document that they have retired from clinical practice due to permanent disability and have qualified for federal Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and/or disability retirement or long-term disability benefits (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 which issues or provides disability benefits or a state vocational rehabilitation agency);
  3. Have no reportable actions in their NCCPA disciplinary history and no NCCPA disciplinary matter in any stage of review;
  4. Pay any fees associated with the PA-C Emeritus application process; and
  5. Fulfill other administrative requirements as shall be determined from time to time by NCCPA.

Maintenance Requirements for the PA-C Emeritus Designation

Like NCCPA board certification, the PA-C Emeritus designation shall be maintained on two-year, calendar year cycles.

Maintenance requires the completion of a reapplication process prior to the PA-C Emeritus designation expiration date, 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 board certification and may be restored upon expiration of the regained certification if the PA meets the requirements for PA-C Emeritus status at that time.

PAs with the PA-C Emeritus designation must comply with all applicable provisions of the NCCPA Code of Conduct.

Limitations on Use of the PA-C Emeritus Designation

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

Further, 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.
Doing so – or committing any violation of the Code of Conduct or other act that would trigger NCCPA disciplinary review for board 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