Exceptions to Policy and Exam Grievances

NCCPA is here to assist you if you need an exception to policy (ETP), have an exam grievance, or have a disciplinary issue. We understand that things can happen and have policies in place to help in specific situations.


NCCPA reviews ETP requests that pertain to a PAs inability to comply with an NCCPA certification requirement within the specified timeframe due to severe, extenuating circumstances.

If you need to request an exception to policy (ETP) or extension of certification maintenance requirements, you can sign in to your online record to submit an ETP or complete the steps below:

  1. Read the short procedures document which provides instructions for submitting an ETP.
  2. Submit the Request for an Exception to Policy form.

Once received and verified, NCCPA’s Review and Appeals staff will conduct the review and notify you of the outcome within 45 business days.

Please review the Policies Governing the Consideration of Requests for Exceptions to Policy document to help you understand the basis for the decision. If you should receive an adverse decision, you can request that your case be considered by the NCCPA Review Committee by submitting the appropriate documentation and a $100 fee. (Please refer to the Review and Appeal Policy and Procedures for additional information.)

Some of the types of extenuating circumstances that are typically accepted include:

  • Personal medical issues
  • Family medical issues
  • Military deployment outside of the U.S.
  • Death in the family
  • Legal or personal issues
  • Inclement weather
  • Becoming a parent through birth or adoptive placement

Note: In all cases, the decision as to whether the circumstance qualifies for an exception to policy will be at the sole discretion of the NCCPA.


If you believe that some unusual event or condition occurred during your exam administration at the Pearson VUE testing center that caused a significant adverse effect on your performance or ability to take the exam, you may submit an exam grievance. Examples of an unusual event or condition include, but are not limited to; issues with the ID presented for exam entry, computer issues, the internal or external environment at the test center and issues with the exam delivery or interruption of the exam delivery. Please note: Medical issues or unforeseen acts of nature (such as weather) that keep you from arriving at the test center as scheduled, or a sudden onset of an illness during your exam that prevented you from completing your exam should not be filed as exam grievances. These types of issues must be submitted as an exception to policy (see above). Also, exam grievances may not be used to challenge the exam design, content or a failing score.

If you need to file an exam grievance regarding the administration of your exam, you must submit the Exam Grievance Submission Form and any appropriate and verifiable supporting documentation, if applicable, with the signed or e-signed request to the NCCPA within three (3) business days after the exam administration in question to [email protected] or via fax 678-417-8135.

Confirmation of receipt of your exam grievance will be sent to you via email. NCCPA staff will review your submitted documentation and investigate your concerns within 7 to 10 business days and you may be contacted to provide additional information regarding your grievance.  You will be notified of the decision regarding your exam grievance. If you should receive an adverse decision, you may request that your case be considered by the NCCPA Review Committee by submitting the appropriate documentation and a $100 fee. (Please refer to the Review and Appeal Policy and Procedures for additional information.)


NCCPA endeavors to assure the public that certified physician assistants meet professional standards of knowledge and skills. NCCPA also attempts to ensure that the physician assistants we certify are upholding appropriate standards of professionalism and ethics in practice.

If you think you might be in violation of NCCPA policies or standards, read our Code of Conduct for Certified and Certifying PAs and PAs with the PA Emeritus DesignationDisciplinary Policy and Policies Governing the Consideration of Requests for Exceptions to Policy. These documents are good resources to make sure that you are following correct protocol. If you have any questions, you can email our Review and Appeals department.