Oklahoma Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

How to Become a Physician Assistant in Oklahoma

In the decade leading up to 2014 physician assistant positions in Oklahoma were projected to grow by 40 percent. However this growth rate was already surpassed by 2012, when PAs in the Sooner State earned an average $89,150 annual salary and numbered 1,570. The occupational prospects for PAs in the state continue to be optimistic through the coming decade as they become more diversified in their skills and Oklahoma’s 500,000-plus population over 65 continues to grow. Citizens who are interested in how to become a physician assistant in Oklahoma can consult the following steps:

  1. Meet the Admission Requirements for Oklahoma Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
  2. Become Certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)
  3. Apply for a Physician Assistant License in Oklahoma
  4. Maintain State Certification

Step 1. Admission Requirements for Oklahoma Physician Assistant Programs

Prospective students who are preparing to evaluate the various Oklahoma physician assistant programs for licensure can begin by being aware of their admission requirements and which agencies have accredited the PA programs. Students are encouraged to check with each individual graduate program for its own admission requirements, but in general these include:

  • Hundreds of hours of clinical experience involving direct patient interaction
  • Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with an acceptable score
  • Having a bachelor degree in any subject with the following helping to additionally fulfill PA prerequisites:
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Nursing
    • Medical Assistant
    • Public Health

To become licensed in Oklahoma, students must graduate from PA education programs that are certified by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). To qualify as a valid PA program that meets state approval, education must include:

  • At least one year of classroom instruction
  • At least one year of clinical experience with one month of each of the following:
    • Family medicine
    • Emergency medicine
    • Surgery

Step 2. National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)

Becoming certified by the NCCPA means passing the Commission’s nationally qualifying exam, the PANCE, or Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam. This is accomplished by demonstrating a sufficient knowledge of the body’s major organ systems and their associated dysfunctions. The PANCE is in a multiple-choice format and taken over the course of five hours, being comprised of 300 questions. Registration can begin 90 days before the end of the PA’s education program and costs $475. Once students pass the PANCE they will receive NCCPA certification in the form of the credential, Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C).

Step 3. Apply for a Physician Assistant License with the Oklahoma Medical Board

The Oklahoma Medical Board is responsible for evaluating and approving all applications for PAs wanting to be licensed and to practice in the state. The Board provides instructions for their online application that will need to include the following:

Candidates will need to sign and return their application instructions to the Oklahoma Medical Board in Oklahoma City, where they can also send required forms and documents as specified in the application.

Step 4. Maintain the Oklahoma PA License

Renewing an Oklahoma PA License involves paying a $125 renewal fee and completing an online renewal application. PA Licenses expire every year and must be renewed by March 31st. As a condition for license renewal PAs must maintain an annual 20 hours of continuing education approved by the Board and documented by the Oklahoma Academy of Physician Assistants (OAPA). Besides documenting required courses, the OKPA works with physician assistants to provide social opportunities, networking resources, and support in this demanding yet rewarding career.

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