How to Become a Physician Assistant in North Dakota
The physician assistant career field has been identified as one of the fastest growing professions in North Dakota that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher. In the preceding decade there was about a 30 percent increase in PA positions in the state, and in the next decade the prospects continue to look good as the state’s 14.4 percent of residents over 65 continues to grow. Last year the average PA salary in the Roughrider State was $86,480. Those interested in learning how to become a physician assistant in North Dakota can follow these steps:
- Obtain the Necessary Qualifications for PA Program Admission
- Qualify with the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)
- Apply for Licensure in North Dakota
- Maintain Licensure
Step 1. Obtain the Right Qualifications for PA Program Admission
When assessing North Dakota physician assistant programs for licensure, candidates will find there are some common admission requirements they need to meet. First, most PA programs mandate having already passed the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and a prescribed amount of hours working in a clinical setting. Second, PA program requirements usually stipulate that applicants need to have a bachelor’s degree. Any subject will qualify for this, although the following undergraduate majors will also fulfill PA prerequisites courses:
- Public Health
- Medical Assistant
Another important qualification North Dakota physician assistant programs should have is the proper accreditation. Programs must be approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) for their graduates to be considered for licensure in North Dakota.
Step 2. Qualify with the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)
Qualifying with the NCCPA is required for those wishing to gain licensure in North Dakota. This is accomplished by passing the agency’s main test, the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). The PANCE is offered four times a year to students who are not more than 90 days away from graduating from their PA degree program. It is a comprehensive evaluation of a student’s knowledge of the human body and its major organ systems, for which $35 practice exams are available. The PANCE lasts five hours and is a 300-question multiple-choice exam. Students can register online and the associated fee is $475. Students will earn the NCCPA credential, Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C), upon successful completion of the PANCE.
Step 3. Apply for a PA License to Practice in North Dakota
Most of the application process in North Dakota can be completed online with the North Dakota Board of Medical Examiners. Materials for the application that can either be mailed or uploaded online include:
- Physician Assistant Application
- Application fee of $55 for an application submitted online and $75 for a paper application
- A recent passport-sized photograph
- A photocopy of the candidate’s NCCPA certificate
- A photocopy of the candidate’s PA program diploma
- Criminal Record Inquiry (CRI) form
- $44.50 CRI fee
- Supervision Contract to be completed by the supervising physician
- Prescriptive Authority form
Applicants will need to mail fingerprint cards for their background check to the Board at their address in Bismarck. They may additionally be requested to appear for an interview.
Step 4. Maintain Licensure in North Dakota
PAs must renew their licenses before the expiration date every year in North Dakota. There is a $55 fee for online renewals and a $75 fee for paper renewals. In addition to the renewal application, PAs need to keep their NCCPA certification up to date. This requires completing 100 continuing medical education (CME) credits every two years and passing the Physician Assistant National Re-certifying Exam (PANRE) every tenth year.