How to Become a Physician Assistant in Kansas
Physician assistants in Kansas serve a vital role in the state’s healthcare system, first as educated and qualified healthcare providers, but also by acting as a bridge between nurses and doctors. The role of PAs is projected to increase in the Sunflower State as they step in to fill the void created as doctors become more specialized and relatively fewer in number. Last year in Kansas the breakdown of the employment in the healthcare system and average yearly salary was as follows:
- 1,000 Physician Assistants earning $86,430
- 1,040 Nurse Practitioners earning $80,720
- 26,380 Registered Nurses earning $56,040
- 19,640 Nursing Assistants earning $23,030
Students who are planning ahead for how to become a physician assistant in Kansas can use the following step-by-step guide as a reference:
- Find Accredited Kansas Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
- Take the National Certification Exam
- Apply for Licensure with the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts
- Maintain the PA License
Step 1. Find the Right Kansas Physician Assistant Program for Licensure
Students searching for PA graduate degree programs in Kansas for licensure should start by being aware of two things: program admission requirements and accreditation requirements. Although every PA program will have its own unique admission standards there are some common obligations that include:
- Taking the Graduate Record Examinations (GREs)
- Having previous clinical experience
- Having prerequisite course credits, usually in:
- Anatomy and Physiology
Students should already have a bachelor degree in any subject when applying for PA programs, and an undergraduate major in the organic sciences or a related field can help to knock out some PA prereqs. Bachelor degrees that have PA program required courses include:
- Medical Assistant
- Public Health
Finally, when choosing a PA program for licensure in Kansas candidates should ensure it is endorsed by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) or a program determined by the Board to be generally equivalent, which can include military service.
Step 2. Complete the National Certification Exam
Students can register to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) beginning 90 days before their graduate PA program ends. Passing the PANCE means gaining the Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) credential which is bestowed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the sponsoring agency of the PANCE. The exam takes approximately five hours and includes 300 multiple-choice questions covering the human body’s major organ systems and their associated problems. The NCCPA offers $35 practice exams and charges a $475 registration fee for the PANCE itself.
Step 3. Complete an Application for a PA License in Kansas
Applying to the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts involves completing an application packet that includes the following, along with a $200 application for license fee:
- Certified copy of NCCPA certification (PA-C)
- Notarized and signed forms
- Professional recommendation
- Supervising physician and drug prescription protocol form
Candidates must also arrange for official transcripts from their graduate PA program to be sent to the Board by their master’s institution.
Step 4. Maintain the PA License
PAs can renew their licenses online or by filling out a paper renewal application. Either way the renewal fee is the same at $150. In addition to these two items, PAs must also include proof of 50 credits of continuing medical education (CME) in the preceding year. Because maintaining the PA-C credential requires essentially the same process, PAs practicing in Kansas can fulfill their CME credits by maintaining their NCCPA certification. This gives PAs more flexibility to change state locations if desired, although NCCPA certification does require the passage of the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE) – similar to the PANCE – once every tenth year. The Kansas PA License expires every year on December 31st.