How to Become a Physician Assistant in Kentucky
In Kentucky projections for 2018, among the 20 fastest growing medical professions requiring a bachelor degree physician assistants rank first, with a growth rate four times that of the average for all other jobs. In the period between 2008-2018 the number of PAs working in the Bluegrass State is expected to increase by 37 percent and in 2012 their average wage was $98,550. Candidates wanting to learn more about how to become a physician assistant in Kentucky can proceed along the following steps:
- Find Qualified Kentucky Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
- Take the National Certifying Examination
- Apply to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure
- Keep the Kentucky PA License Current
Step 1. Find an Accredited Kentucky Physician Assistant Program for Licensure
Because Kentucky physician assistant degree programs are at the graduate level, applicants need to already have their bachelor degrees. If these are in the sciences – especially biology, chemistry and psychology – it will save students from having to take additional PA prerequisite courses, although any bachelor degree will be considered for admission. Undergraduate students planning to go into a PA program often major in:
- Medical Assistant
- Public Heath
Other PA degree program admission requirements in Kentucky include clinical experience and taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). For example one state institution requires at least 1000 hours of direct clinical experience with patients, plus an old GRE verbal and quantitative score of at least 900, or a new GRE score of 150 on the verbal portion and 141 in the quantitative portion.
In addition to meeting the admission requirements, students should also confirm their PA degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), as required by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.
Step 2. Take the National Certifying Examination
The Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) is offered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) for students to become accredited as Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C). Students may register for the exam starting 90 days before their graduate PA program is scheduled to end for a fee of $475. The PANCE is offered at locations throughout the country and comprised of 300 multiple-choice questions administered over the course of five hours. The primary focus of the exam is the human body and its major organ systems. Students should request their PANCE score to be sent directly to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.
Step 3. Apply to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure
Applications for a PA License can be made online to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure and cost $100. Applicants will need to arrange for their PA graduate program transcripts to be sent to the Board, along with a Supervising Physician form and another $100 fee for this. Candidates must have passed their PANCE within three attempts and additionally demonstrate that they are of good moral character. After submitting a complete application with the required fee and attachments, successful applicants will usually receive their PA License within 4-8 weeks.
Step 4. Maintain the Kentucky PA License
PA Licenses must be renewed with the state every two years for a cost of $150. PAs must additionally maintain their NCCPA PA-C certification. Both the NCCPA and the State of Kentucky require PAs to obtain 100 continuing medical education (CME) credits by the time of license renewal. As part of maintaining the PA-C credential, PAs need to take the Physician Assistant National Re-certifying Exam (PANRE) every tenth year. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure also requires PAs to have had an HIV/AIDS course in the past 10 years when applying for a license renewal.