How to Become a Physician Assistant in Nevada
Physician assistants employed in Nevada last year earned one of the highest average annual salaries in the country at $102,670- more than twice that of their counterparts in other states. Nevada PAs are highly trained professionals responsible for diagnosing, treating and preventing medical conditions in the young to old throughout the Silver State. The occupational outlook of PAs in Nevada for the coming future only projects more opportunities as Nevadans age and PAs fill the void in the rising demand for medical services. Individuals considering studying in a PA program should find the following steps on how to become a physician assistant in Nevada informative:
- Select Nevada Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
- Register and Prepare for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
- Apply for Licensure in Nevada
- Renew the Nevada PA License
Step 1. Select Nevada Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
When considering which Nevada physician assistant degree program to choose, students should remember most of these are only offered at the graduate level, and therefore require an acceptable GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score as well as a bachelor degree in any subject. Because PA programs require several series of science courses as prerequisites, students coming from an undergraduate background in any of the following majors will have already completed many of these:
- Organic Chemistry
- Medical Assistant
Finally when choosing the right PA degree program, students must confirm it is certified by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). This first accreditation is required, and the following two are also accepted:
- Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
Step 2. The Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
Once students successfully pass the PANCE they will become credentialed as Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C). This is awarded by the PANCE’s sponsor, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). PAs can register online for the $475 exam which covers the body’s major organ systems as well as treating and diagnosing their associated dysfunctions. It is a 300-question multiple-choice exam spanning five hours, available at a variety of testing locations throughout Nevada.
Step 3. Apply for Licensure with the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners
Candidates apply to become licensed PAs to the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners in Reno. The first thing applicants should do is request official diplomas and PANCE scores to be forwarded to the Board from their PA degree program and the NCCPA, receptively. PAs need to also arrange for two letters of recommendation from practicing physicians to be sent to the Board. Next candidates will complete an application packet that includes the following:
- Application Packet
- $300 application fee
- $400 registration fee if applying in the first year of the license cycle
- $200 registration fee if applying in the second year of the license cycle
- $75 background investigation fee
- Self-Query from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB)
- Proof of identity and right to work in the U.S.
- Copy of high school diploma
- Notification of Supervision completed by the candidate’s supervising physician
- Proof of four hours of American Medical Association (AMA) Category 1 bioterrorism training
Once an application has been judged to be complete candidates will be mailed a Jurisprudence Exam which they must return with a 75-percent-or-better score. The exam covers Nevada Revised Statutes chapters 629 and 630, and Nevada Administrative Code chapter 630.
Step 4. Renew the Nevada PA License
PA Licenses in Nevada are valid for 24 months, issued on July 1st of odd-numbered years and expire two years later on June 30th. PAs will need to complete a renewal form that will be mailed to them and make sure they have enough continuing medical education (CME) credits. The amount of CME credits required are prorated depending on how long a PA has been licensed. If the PA has been licensed for most of a full two-year cycle, he or she will need to complete 40 hours of CME before the license will be renewed.