How to Become a Physician Assistant in New York
Residents of the State of New York are at a lower risk of mortality from three of the top four leading causes of death – cancer, stroke, and respiratory diseases – compared with the rest of the country. Unfortunately however, they are at a higher risk for the number one killer in the state and nation- heart disease. No small part of this is related to the fact that nearly one in five New Yorkers is a smoker and the current overweight and obesity rate at 62 percent is only increasing. Physician assistants combat the symptoms of these health problems on a daily basis- diagnosing, prescribing, and evaluating the progress of treatment for their patients. Working with clients ranging from newborns to the geriatric, PAs:
- Suture wounds
- Coordinate with technical assistants
- Assist in surgery
- Order diagnostic studies
- Perform physical exams
Those interested in more details about how to become a physician assistant in New York can consult the following step-by-step guide:
- Research New York Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
- Obtain the NCCPA Credential
- Apply for New York Licensure
- Renew the PA License
Step 1. Research New York Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
Practicing as a licensed physician assistant in New York begins by graduating from an approved PA degree program. State law requires the program to include at least 32 semester hours of classroom work and 40 weeks (1,600 hours) of clinical training. The program must also be approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), and across the state there are currently over 20 such programs.
Students need to also make sure they can meet the admission requirements of their desired PA program. These often include having a certain amount of clinical experience, having taken the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and already possessing a bachelor degree. Undergraduate degrees in science fields will additionally take care of some PA prerequisite courses and include the following majors:
- Medical Assistant
- Public Health
Step 2. National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Certification
Becoming credentialed by the NCCPA is the next essential part on the way to becoming a licensed PA in New York. Gaining NCCPA certification in the form of a Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) credential is accomplished by passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). This is a computer-based multiple-choice exam offered four times a year at testing locations across the country. There is a $475 registration fee for the PANCE, which is a 300-question evaluation of a student’s knowledge regarding the human body and the problems associated with its organ systems. Practice exams are available through the NCCPA for a $35 fee.
Step 3. Apply for Licensure to the New York Office of Professions
To begin the process of applying for licensure, candidates should request the NCCPA to send official PANCE scores to the Office of Professions. Candidates should also do the same for their PA degree and transcripts, requesting their education program to complete Certification of Professional Education form. A complete and notarized Application for Licensure should be submitted directly to the Office of Professions, along with a $115 licensure fee.
Step 4. Renew the PA License
PA Licenses in New York expire every three years, and a PA’s initial license expires on December 31st of the first odd-numbered year after the license was issued. To renew their license, PAs need to return a renewal application which will be mailed to their address on file and a $45 renewal fee before December 31st of the expiring year. As the commissioner of health establishes them, PAs may also be required to complete a number of continuing medical education (CME) credits in order to renew their license, as will be detailed in the renewal form.