Oregon Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

How to Become a Physician Assistant in Oregon

Estimates for the 2004-2014 period projected there would be 184 physician assistant positions added to the occupational field in Oregon, however by 2012 that number had already been more than doubled to 376, illustrating the projected growth rate of 35 percent was actually too low. And the outlook for PAs in the Beaver State’s future is expected to continue to be robust as more Oregonian baby boomers cross the threshold into old age. Those interested in PA careers can examine the following steps on how to become a physician assistant in Oregon:

  1. Research Qualified Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
  2. Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
  3. Apply to be Licensed with the Oregon Medical Board
  4. Maintain the Oregon Physician Assistant License

Step 1. Research Qualified Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

Candidates searching for PA degree programs in Oregon should keep in mind that these are usually offered at the graduate level and therefore require an acceptable GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score and a bachelor degree in any subject. Because PA prerequisite courses are heavy in science, undergraduate degrees in the following can help to reduce future prereqs:

  • Medical Assistant
  • Nursing
  • Pre-Med
  • Public Health

Having some experience in a clinical setting interacting directly with patients is also advisable.

Besides the admission requirements, prospective PA students need to confirm the program they apply to is approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), a mandatory requirement for future licensees. A PA degree program may additionally be approved by:

  • American Medical Association Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation (CAHEA)
  • Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)

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

The PANCE is a 300-question exam that covers material such as:

  • Health maintenance
  • Clinical intervention
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Infectious diseases
  • Neurological system
  • Cardiovascular system

The PANCE is offered in a multiple-choice format and takes approximately five hours to complete. The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the PANCE’s sponsoring agency, which credentials students as Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) when they pass the exam. Registration can be completed online not more than 90 days before a student graduates from their PA degree program, and there are practice exams available on the NCCPA’s website for $35.

Step 3. Apply to Be Licensed by the Oregon Medical Board

Applicants can make an online or paper application to the Oregon Medical Board, which should include:

  • Copy of candidate’s birth certificate
  • PA program diploma photocopy
  • Recent photograph
  • Medical Practice Act: an open-book exam based on the act for which candidates can miss not more than five questions
  • National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) self-query report
  • Fingerprint cards for a background check
  • $245 application fee plus a $52 fee if the application is approved

Applicants also need to arrange for the appropriate agencies to send the Board the following:

Once they have been approved to be licensed, before they can begin working PAs will have to enter into a practice agreement with a supervising physician.

Step 4. Maintain the Oregon PA License

PA Licenses in Oregon can be renewed online, and must be so done by December 31st of every odd-numbered year. A pro-rated renewal fee may be granted depending on the year of initial licensure, and can range from $175-$405 depending on associated privileges. As part of the renewal process, PAs must have completed at least 60 hours of continuing medical education (CME). PAs may also fulfill most of their CME requirements by maintaining their NCCPA certification.

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