How to Become a Physician Assistant in Minnesota
Physician assistant positions in Minnesota are listed among the fastest growing jobs in the state. Ranking fourth among all occupations, these positions are projected to grow by 43.5 percent during the period between 2009 and 2019. By a count last year there were 1,620 PAs working in the state, earning an average salary of $94,820. If helping people lead healthy lives is a primary career goal then citizens and students alike may wish to consider learning more about the process of how to become a physician assistant in Minnesota:
- Choose Minnesota Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
- Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
- Apply for a Minnesota PA License
- Maintain the License
Step 1. Choose Among the Minnesota Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
There are several graduate PA programs located throughout the North Star State and choosing the right one first of all depends on the student. Admission requirements usually include having an acceptable GRE (Graduate Records Examination) score and hundreds of hours of clinical experience. Having a bachelor’s degree in any subject is also essential, and the following majors will help students avoid having to take further PA prerequisite courses:
- Public Health
- Medical Assistant
It is also essential to ensure the PA graduate program is certified by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). It is not possible to practice legally in Minnesota without graduating from a program with this accreditation.
Step 2. Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
The PANCE is sponsored by its parent agency, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), which will accredit students with the Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) credential once they pass the PANCE. This is a computer-based test comprised of 300 multiple-choice questions spread out over the course of five hours. Students can register for the PANCE beginning three months from when their PA degree program ends, and there is a fee of $475. The exam itself covers organ systems and their disorders, including:
- Performing physical exams
- Clinical intervention
- Making most-likely diagnosis
- Prescribing medicine
- Lab and diagnostic studies
Step 3. Apply for Licensure in Minnesota
To apply for a Physician Assistant License and be able to legally practice in the state, PAs will need to submit an application packet to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice in Minneapolis. This packet must include:
- $280.50 application fee
- Verification of PA program education, to be sent directly to the Board from the institution
- NCCPA certification, to be sent directly to the Board from the NCCPA
- Two recommendations from healthcare professionals, one being a physician
A Notice of Intent to Practice must be submitted before a PA begins his or her actual practice in the state.
Step 4. Maintain the Minnesota PA License
All Minnesota PA Licenses expire June 30th every year. The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice will mail out a Notice of Intent to Practice and a Delegation Agreement to the PA in time for these to be completed along with an annual registration fee of $148.50 by the end of June. PAs must also maintain 50 credits of continuing medical education Category 1 courses every two years or maintain their NCCPA license (PA-C) to be considered for recertification by the state. Renewals can also be made online.
As PAs expand their practice they may find it helpful to join professional organizations such as the Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA) and university medical boards.