Who is a physician assistant?
A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who practices under the direction of a licensed physician. The PA role was created to support primary care medicine, Internal Medicine, and Family Medicine.
How do I become a PA?
After graduating from an accredited physician assistant program (2-3 years), a PA must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and obtain a license in the state you wish to practice. The certifying exams were conceived by the NCCPA (National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants) for uniformity in training and to establish a standard level of competency among graduates.
How do I complete my recertification?
Recertification is essential for PAs to maintain their state licensing. They hold certification through a combination of continuing medical education and periodic repeats of the PANRE (Physician Assistant National Recertifying Examination). With the certificate comes the prided PA-C in the title. While initially, PAs were required to take PANRE every six years, there was a significant change to PA certification in 2014, and the NCCPA extended the requirement of recertification to 10-year intervals.
PANRE-LA is the new official alternative to the traditional PANRE. Dawn Morton-Rias, the NCCPA President, has said, “The PANRE-LA process helps PAs identify and close knowledge gaps. It reduces the stress and anxiety that comes with taking a test. PAs don’t have to schedule time away from work to travel to test centers and can take the exam at their convenience. They can use references to help find the answers and grow their knowledge. Plus, they will be able to earn CME for participating in the process. Our goal was to develop a meaningful and less stress-inducing process for PAs to demonstrate their ongoing core medical knowledge, and we are excited about the new PANRE-LA.”
How do I choose between PANRE and PANRE-LA?
PAs now have two options for meeting their recertification exam requirement, and they can choose the option that best suits them. The content on which the questions are based for both exams remains the same. PAs must also meet the Continuing Medical Education requirements irrespective of the option. The fee is also the same ($350) regardless of the option selected. With PANRE-LA, each PA can choose the type of test they would like to take. The tests would be more specialized, and PAs could choose from 12 options.
Features of PANRE
- The traditional PANRE is a sit-down test that is completed in one 5-hour session.
- There are a total of 240 multiple-choice questions to be answered. You have to complete four blocks of 60 questions with 60 minutes to complete each block.
- They are administered throughout the year at Pearson VUE test centers.
- Scores are available typically within two weeks.
- They are available for PAs who are in their 9th and 10th year of the certification cycle.
Features of PANRE-LA
- Over three years, PAs are asked to answer 25 multiple-choice test questions every quarter. For PANRE-LA, PAs can log in and out of their devices at their convenience to complete questions during each quarter.
- For each question, they are allowed five minutes. PAs may also use references to aid them with answer selection.
- Before opening an exam question, information on the content category will be provided. You will then choose to answer the question or defer it to a future quarter. This way, the PA knows in advance what content area will be coming up if they want to prepare or reference any educational material before opening the question.
- The final score will be based on the eight best quarters of the total 12. You may finish eight quarters at a stretch, or you could skip four quarters during the process.
- PAs should apply for the PANRE-LA in the 6th year of their recertification cycle.
- Immediate feedback will be provided to PAs to let them know if the answer they submitted was correct. They will also be provided rationale and references that can be accessed for additional information.
How do I prepare for PANRE and PANRE-LA?
You can cover the complete NCCPA content blueprint for PANRE exams by joining up for PANRE review courses. With the help of lectures, presentations, tests, and more, the course keeps you prepared for the big day. Besides this, new PAs can join up for PANCE review courses that will guide them and provide them with instructions and the best PANCE review course materials in the market.
The PANRE recertification exam explores if clinically practicing PAs are up-to-date on the core medical knowledge that is expected from them, regardless of their specialty or practice setting. It benefits the PAs as employers seek nationally certified physician assistants because this certification confirms they possess mastery over their subject and the skill needed to perform their job duties. While traditional PANRE helps PAs complete the exam in a single day, the PANRE-LA process allows PAs to take the exam at home at their convenience over 3 years.
CME4LIFE’s PANRE review course is designed to help PAs succeed with tools that make learning and recollection easy. The innovative teaching techniques of the PANCE prep course will help you use critical thinking to navigate the exam’s most challenging questions. Assimilate and retain information in a considerably shorter time than traditional courses with CME4LIFE learning tools.