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NCCPA Certifies 200,000th PA

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Alicia Quella, Director of Communications
email: [email protected]
phone: 470-682-5111

NCCPA Certifies 200,000th PA

Jamie Alexander, MPA, PA-C, takes pride in accomplishment

 JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – September 6, 2023 – The National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) has announced the certification of the 200,000th physician assistant/associate (PA) in the nation since the organization’s inception nearly 50 years ago.

“This marks a landmark for the PA profession,” said NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D., PA-C, ICE-CCP, FACHE.

“We take pride in commemorating this significant moment for the PA profession,” said Morton-Rias. “Our commitment to fostering the growth and advancement of PAs remains steadfast and we eagerly anticipate the ongoing contributions of PAs to the health care system.”

Jamie Alexander, MPA, PA-C, NCCPA’s 200,000th Board Certified PA, graduated from Wichita State University Physician Associate program this year. Alexander is currently employed as a PA practicing plastic surgery in Wichita, Kan.

“I admire each and every PA who has worked for this achievement and I’m honored to be part of it,” Alexander said, after being informed of the milestone. “Becoming a PA has been the most challenging, and equally rewarding, experience of my life thus far.”

The PA profession was originally developed in the mid-1960s to address a shortage of primary care physicians. By 1980, there were 9,431 initially certified PAs, according to the Physician Assistant History Society.

To become certified, a PA must graduate from an accredited program and pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE), a multiple-choice exam administered by NCCPA that tests general medical and surgical knowledge. Upon successful completion of the rigorous exam, PAs become certified and can use the credential “PA-C.”

The PA profession has experienced rapid growth in recent years.

There are currently about 170,000 Board Certified PAs who fulfil various roles across every setting, such as hospitals, rural health clinics, physician offices, public health agencies, and the U.S. Armed Forces, both domestically and abroad, according to the NCCPA 2022 Statistical Profile of Board Certified PAs.

In the last decade, the PA profession has experienced a 76% growth rate, according to the NCCPA report.

As integral members of the health care team, PAs interact with about 10.4 million patients every week, playing a vital role in ensuring quality patient care. Their clinical scope includes diagnosing and treating illnesses, prescribing medications, and assisting in surgeries.

Accredited PA educational programs have increased from 54 in 1991 to 304 in 2023, according to the Accreditation Review Commission on Physician Assistant Education (ARC-PA).

About 12,700 new job openings will be available yearly for PAs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts a 28% increase in the employment of PAs by 2031, a rate much higher than the general average for all occupations.

“I see PAs becoming even more crucial to health care as demand continues to rise,” Alexander said. “Our ability to create access to underprivileged populations will continue to benefit those who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to receive medical care.”

For more about the PA profession, visit