South Dakota Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

How to Become a Physician Assistant in South Dakota

The demand for South Dakota physician assistants is projected to increase at least through the coming decade as the state’s baby boomers age and the need for rural healthcare continues to rise. The physician assistant field was the third-fastest growing profession in the Mount Rushmore State in the decade leading up to 2012, and the median annual wage additionally continues to increase. In 2004 this was $68,500 which has risen to the present 2012 level of $87,680. Citizens interested in making a positive difference in their community and learning more about how to become a physician assistant in South Dakota may consult the following steps:

  1. Research Requirements for Qualified South Dakota Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
  2. Pass the NCCPA Nationally Qualifying Exam
  3. Apply to be Licensed with the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners
  4. Renew the South Dakota PA License



Step 1. Research Requirements for South Dakota Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

Before students are admitted to qualified South Dakota PA degree programs they will have to meet certain requirements. These vary from institution however some general preconditions are:

  • Having a bachelor degree in any subject
  • Fulfilling the PA degree program’s prerequisite courses such as:
    • Biology with lab
    • Chemistry with lab
    • Psychology
  • Having hundreds of hours of direct clinical experience with patients

Candidates with a bachelor degree in any of the following majors may save themselves some time on PA prerequisites:

  • Nursing
  • Public Health
  • Medical Assistant
  • Anatomy
  • Organic Chemistry

When researching PA degree programs, candidates should make sure they have the proper accreditation to allow for a PA License to be obtained in South Dakota. This means programs must be certified by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).



Step 2. Pass the NCCPA Nationally Qualifying Exam

Students will probably hear about the NCCPA’s (National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants) national exam before the first week of their PA degree program has ended. Known as the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam), this will test a student’s knowledge on the body’s major organ systems and their associated problems. The PANCE takes five hours to complete and is computer-based in a multiple-choice format. Students can register for the 300-question exam beginning 90 days before they are scheduled to graduate from their PA program for a fee of $475. Upon completing the PANCE the NCCPA will accredit the student as Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C).



Step 3. Apply to the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners (BMOE)

The South Dakota BMOE is responsible for overseeing and licensing PAs in the state in association with the Physician Assistant Advisory Committee (PAAC). Applications can be made online for a fee of not more than $75, and the candidate must prove the following to the BMOE:

  • The candidate is of good moral character
    • Character references
    • Good work history
    • Criminal background check
  • The candidate has completed an accredited PA degree program
    • Transcripts to be sent from an ARC-PA-accredited degree program directly to the BMOE
  • The candidate has passed the PANCE
    • Candidate should request NCCPA to send PANCE scores directly to the BMOE
  • The candidate is not under investigation or disciplinary measures for medical (mal)practice anywhere else



Step 4. Renew the South Dakota PA License

A physician assistant’s license must be renewed annually and the BMOE will give appropriate notice when this date is. Renewal is accomplished by returning a renewal form furnished by the BMOE, paying a renewal fee of not more than $100, and providing proof of either:

  • 30 hours of post graduate study approved by the BMOE
  • A maintained NCCPA certification which requires

Physician assistants in South Dakota may wish to join a professional association of colleagues to expand their business, learn from others, get information about continuing medical education, or to just have fun. The South Dakota Academy of Physician Assistants (SDAPA) is one such association.


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