Georgia Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

How to Become a Physician Assistant in Georgia

Physician assistants working in Georgia play a key role in the state’s healthcare system. Providing a level of education and expertise above registered nurses while being more cost-effective than a team of doctors, physician assistants ensure residents of the Peach State receive a high level of care that is regulated by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. In 2012 the state’s 2,740 PAs earned an average salary of $92,150 putting them in a pay grade above the majority of other healthcare professionals. Students interested in the process of how to become a physician assistant in Georgia can use the following guide as a reference for the steps involved:

  1. Qualify for Accredited Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure in Georgia
  2. Take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
  3. Apply for licensure to the Georgia Composite Medical Board
  4. Maintain the PA License

Step 1. Qualify for Accredited Georgia Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

When selecting a program of study to obtain a PA degree, students should consider its accreditation and prerequisites. The Georgia Composite Medical Board will only approve an applicant’s license if he or she has graduated from a PA program that is two or more years and includes appropriate clinical experience. Furthermore, this academic program must also be accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

PA degree program admission requirements usually include moderately advanced courses in chemistry and biology as well as the completion of the Graduate Record Examination. Because PA degree programs are at the graduate level, applicants must also possess a bachelor’s degree in any field, the following of which will additionally contain PA prerequisites:

  • Biology
  • Medical Assistant
  • Chemistry
  • Nursing
  • Public Health

Step 2. Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)

The PANCE is offered through the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and is a five-hour, 300 multiple-choice question exam. There is a $475 registration fee and candidates can sign-up to take the test online starting 90 days before they graduate from their PA program. Upon passing the PANCE students will receive their score by mail and record this in the state license application. Topics covered on the exam include:

  • Musculoskeletal system
  • Clinical intervention
  • Pulmonary system
  • Formulating most-likely diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular system

Step 3. Apply for Licensure with the Georgia Composite Medical Board

PAs can apply to the Georgia Composite Medical Board at any time, however members meet once a month to consider new applicants, usually during the first week of the month in which there is a consecutive Thursday and Friday. Applying to the Georgia Composite Medical Board involves:

  • $300 application fee
  • Physician Assistant Application which includes a portion to be completed by the primary supervising physician
  • 2 references from licensed physicians
  • Current resume
  • Self-queried and sealed report from the National Practitioner Data Bank/Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank
  • A basic PA job description to be signed by the PA and supervising physician

Providing proof of:

  • Legal ability to work in the United States
  • Completion of an approved PA degree program to be sent by the educational institution directly to the board

Step 4. Maintain the PA Certification Up-to-date

There are a few things PAs need to do when renewing their license, which expires every two years on the last day of their birth month. First, they are required to maintain 40 hours of continuing medical education per renewal, except during the first renewal period. Once PAs have met this requirement they can submit a renewal application along with a renewal fee to the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

As physician assistants begin to establish their practice they can network and expand their reputation with professional organizations such as:

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