How to Become a Physician Assistant in Delaware
Working to serve and improve the well-being of their patients, physician assistants in Delaware strive to offer the best healthcare service in the country. The Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline is responsible for monitoring and regulating the physician assistant profession to ensure those working in the field are fully qualified and licensed. In Delaware’s coming future, job opportunities in the medical field are projected to increase, particularly for PA positions which are expected to become more prevalent as doctors become increasingly specialized. Last year there were 330 PAs practicing in Delaware, earning an average annual salary of $95,330. Those interested in having a positive influence on their community and the process of how to become a physician assistant in Delaware can follow these steps:
- Gain Admission to Accredited Delaware Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
- Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
- Apply for a Physician Assistant License in Delaware
- Maintain the Delaware PA License
Step 1. Gain Admission to Accredited Delaware Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
Students will find when shopping around for a good physician assistant graduate program in Delaware that there are some general admission requirements common to all institutions. First, most PA programs require enrollees to have already taken undergraduate courses in subjects such as biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry and psychology. Most programs also require applicants to have taken the Graduate Record Examinations (GREs) and to have some experience working with patients in a clinical setting. And most importantly, the majority of PA programs are offered at the graduate level and therefore require applicants to already have a bachelor degree in any field. Having a major in the following fields will help students avoid having to take extra prerequisites:
- Medical Assistant
Besides qualifying for a PA education, students also need to make sure the program they choose meets the accreditation standards set by the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure. The board requires PA programs to be accredited by the American Medical Association (AMA), and also requires applicants for a PA License to have passed the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). To be eligible to take the PANCE, students need to have completed a PA degree program that is additionally accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). So to sum it all up, students need to find a program that is accredited by both the ARC-PA and the AMA.
Step 2. Take and Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
After graduating from their PA degree program students can begin preparing for the PANCE. This is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) which offers a $35 practice exam to help students prepare for the real thing. After passing the PANCE students will receive a certification and the title Physician Assistant-Certified, which will enable them to complete an application to the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure. The PANCE is formatted as a multiple-choice test with 300 questions to be administered over the course of five hours. There is a $475 application fee and students can register to take the exam online.
Step 3. Apply to the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure
PAs applying to the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure will need to complete the Application Packet for Physician Assistant License. This includes the following:
- Criminal history check
- Copy of PA Diploma
- $164 processing fee
- Sending a self-query report from the National Practitioner and Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Banks to the board
- Arranging for the board to receive:
- Verification of certification (PA-C) from the NCCPA
- Verification of graduation from an accredited PA degree program
Step 4. Renew the Delaware Physician Assistant License
Renewal forms will be mailed out in time for PAs to return them before the deadline when all licenses expire: March 31 of odd-numbered years. PAs at that time will be notified of the renewal fee which changes from year to year. In addition to the renewal form, PAs will need to maintain 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) credits and submit proof of this. Although not required, PAs who maintain their PA-C credential through the NCCPA may submit this to satisfy the CME requirement.