How to Become a Physician Assistant in Idaho
There is no such thing as a dull day for Idaho physician assistants. In the coming years their numbers are projected to increase from the current statewide total of 720 as the profession expands and Idahoans’ demand for medical treatment grows. Making an average salary of just over $88,000 in 2012, PAs work to counter the top four leading causes of death in the Gem State: heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and stroke. Those who are interested in the procedure for how to become a physician assistant in Idaho can take note of the following process:
- Select Idaho Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
- Gain the Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) Credential
- Apply for a PA License to the Idaho State Board of Medicine
- License and PA-C Maintenance
Step 1. Select Qualifying Idaho Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
Students researching which Idaho physician assistant program to choose can begin by being aware of what Idaho law requires for PA licensure. PA graduate programs must be accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistants (ARC-PA), and may additionally be accredited by equivalent national agencies such as the Commission on Accreditation of
Allied Health Education Programs or the Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation.
Required by the State Board of Medicine as well as most PA degree programs, those applying for a PA License must also have a bachelor’s degree in any subject. PA program prereqs can be fulfilled by an undergrad major in any of the following subjects:
- Medical Assistant
Most PA degree programs also require completion of the GREs (Graduate Record Examinations) and prior experience in clinical work.
Step 2. Get the Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) Credential
To earn the PA-C credential students must successfully pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) which is sponsored by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Students can register for the PANCE starting 90 days before they graduate from their PA program, and the exam evaluates knowledge of major organ systems and the afflictions from which they suffer. The PANCE is divided into five parts each lasting one hour, with a total of 300 multiple-choice questions. There is a registration fee of $475 and the NCCPA offers practice exams for $35.
Step 3. Apply to the Idaho State Board of Medicine for Licensure
Once PAs have earned their degree and passed the PANCE, the next step is to apply for licensure with the Idaho State Board of Medicine. To do this PAs will need to fill out an application packet that includes:
- $200 application fee
- License Application
- Supervising Physician form
- Training Program form, to be sent to the institution of the PA degree program
- Certificate of Recommendation: the PA needs to have two of these completed on his or her behalf
- Delegation of Services Agreement
- Application for Prescription Privileges
- PA-C verification, to be obtained from the NCCPA
Once the State Board of Medicine has issued a PA License applicants may begin to legally practice medicine in the State of Idaho.
4. Maintain Licensure and PA-C Certification
Licenses need to be renewed every two years in June, and before this can happen PAs will need to have completed 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME). PAs will also need to present proof that they are maintaining their PA-C certification which conveniently also requires 100 hours of CME every two years. As long as they choose compatible courses PAs can fulfill both these requirements with the same 100 hours of CME courses. Maintaining the PA-C credential additionally requires the completion of the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANCE), offered through the NCCPA, every tenth year for a $350 fee. Currently the Idaho State Medical Board requires a $120 license renewal and administrative fee.