Physician Assistant Important Links and Resources

Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA)

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) is the recognized accrediting agency that protects the interests of the public and PA profession by defining the standards for PA education and evaluating PA educational programs within the territorial United States to ensure their compliance with those standards.

The ARC-PA encourages excellence in PA education through its accreditation process, by establishing and maintaining minimum standards of quality for educational programs. It awards accreditation to programs through a peer review process that includes documentation and periodic site visit evaluation to substantiate compliance with the Accreditation Standards for Physician Assistant Education. The accreditation process is designed to encourage sound educational experimentation and innovation and to stimulate continuous self-study and improvement.

American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)

The AAPA is the national professional organization of physician assistants.  Its membership includes graduate and student physician assistants as well as affiliate membership for physicians and physician assistant educators.  The Academy provides a wide range of services for its members from representation before federal and state governments and health related organizations, public education, pamphlets and brochures, insurance and financial programs, and employment assistance.

As an AAPA member, you also receive multiple publications, free record keeping and reporting of CME requirements, and are entitled to a membership discount for the annual spring conference.  Student Physician Assistant Societies are an integral part of the AAPA and make up a body referred to as the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (SAAAPA).  The Student Academy meets yearly at the national spring conference to elect officers and representatives.  The USciences Graduate Professional Physician Assistant Program encourages each of you to take an active interest in this process.  

The national organization represents you and as such deserves your support during your student years and as a graduate. Therefore, the Graduate Professional Physician Assistant Program requires your active student membership during your course of study.

Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants

The Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA) was established in 1976. As a growing nonprofit organization, the PSPA strives to be representative of all physician assistants within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The goals and objectives of the Society are to enhance quality medical care to the people of Pennsylvania through a process of continuing medical education, both to the membership and to the public; to provide loyal and honest service to the public and to the medical profession; to promote professionalism among its membership; and to promote understanding of the PA profession. 

The PSPA is a constituent chapter of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). The Society sends delegates to the AAPA House of Delegates which meets annually to perform policy making activities under the Academy's bylaws.  The elected Board of Directors of the Society include the president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer, and six Board members. Two of the six Board members are student members. 

There are standing committees in the Society that perform its many functions. Each committee has a Board approved chairperson and is comprised of interested members from the various regions in the state. The Society encourages members to become involved by volunteering some time and energy to one of these important committees.  Our vision is to be the leading force for all physician assistants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by advocating for the physician assistant profession, for excellence in healthcare, and for access to quality care for our patients.

The state organization represents you and as such deserves your support during your student years and as a graduate. Therefore, the Graduate Professional Physician Assistant Program requires your active student membership during your course of study.

National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)

All graduates of Physician Assistant Programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) are eligible to sit for the national certifying exam (PANCE) offered by the NCCPA.

Registration applications are completed during the senior year of the Physician Assistant Program.  Most states require graduates to take and successfully pass the national boards to continue employment.  Please refer to the link below for exam scheduling requirements.  

Once certified through the NCCPA, each graduate must obtain and report 100 hours of CME every two years.  Recertification exams are also required every six years in addition to the CME requirement.

State Registration

The majority of states have regulations governing Physician Assistants.  Each student who is considering employment in a specific state should review the regulations so they are familiar with them.  

Many states require registration through the State Board of Medical Licensure prior to the start of employment.  Students are encouraged to check with the specific State Board of Medicine for current requirements and an application.  

Pennsylvania, Board of Medicine, PO Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649, (717) 783-1400

Professional Publications

Accreditation Provisional Statement

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Graduate Professional Physician Assistant Program sponsored by University of the Sciences.  

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.