Missouri Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

How to Become a Physician Assistant in Missouri

There are two reasons why the offices of physicians are among the top-ten fastest growing industries in Missouri: the state’s growing number of aging citizens and the relative lack of automation that is available in the healthcare sector. Between 2008 and 2018 the staff in physician offices is projected to grow by 21.4 percent. Physician assistants make up a key component of these offices, and last year in Missouri the 980 PAs registered in the state earned an average salary of $83,420. Citizens who are interested in pursuing a career as a PA in the state’s healthcare system can consult the following guide on how to become a physician assistant in Missouri:

  1. Choose Missouri physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
  2. Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
  3. Apply for Licensure with Missouri’s Division of Professional Registration
  4. Keep the Missouri PA License Up-to-date

Step 1. Choose Missouri Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

When choosing a physician assistant program for licensure in Missouri, students must first ensure it is accredited by both of the following agencies:

  • American Medical Association’s Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation, or its successor agencies
  • Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), or its successor agencies

Next, prospective students must ensure they can meet the admission requirements for PA graduate degree programs in the Show Me State. These vary from program to program, but usually include having some direct clinical experience with patients and obtaining an acceptable score on the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination. Students should already have a bachelor degree in any subject, and majoring in any of the following undergraduate programs will have meant fulfillment of several PA degree program prerequisite courses:

  • Medical Assistant
  • Psychology
  • Chemistry
  • Nursing
  • Public Health

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

The PANCE is sponsored by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and evaluates a student’s knowledge in regards to the human body and its major organ systems including:

  • Pulmonary
  • Hematologic
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Reproductive
  • Dermatologic
  • Cardiovascular

Students can register for the PANCE starting 90 days before their PA degree program ends and will need to pay a $475 application fee to take the exam at a convenient testing center location. The exam lasts five hours, is computer-based and comprised of 300 multiple-choice questions. Upon successful completion, students will be earn the Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) credential.

Step 3. Apply with the Missouri Division of Professional Registration

Candidates who have passed the PANCE can begin the application for licensure process by arranging for their test scores to be sent by the NCCPA directly to the Missouri Division of Professional Registration. They should also do the same with their educational institution responsible for their PA degree credential and transcripts. While these are being processed through the mail, candidates can fill out an Application for Physician Assistant Licensure packet, making sure to include:

  • $195 licensure fee
  • Recent photograph
  • Verification of Supervision to be completed by the candidate’s supervising physician
  • Letter of reference by the director of PA education program

If the PA candidate would like to be able to prescribe certain drugs, he or she must complete an Application for the Certificate of Controlled Substance Prescriptive Authority and include an extra $50 fee.

Step 4. Keep the Missouri PA License Current

The Division of Professional Registration will provide renewal forms to PAs well in advance of their license expiration date: January 31st. The renewal fee is $50 and Missouri PAs need to maintain a number continuing medical education credits (CME) in order to be able to renew their license. At the discretion of the Division of Professional Registration, PAs may also be required to maintain their NCCPA certification. The Missouri Academy of Physician Assistants (MOAPA) is a professional organization that alerts PAs in the state to CME events, helps to network PA business, and provides a level of camaraderie for fellow PAs.

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