Utah Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

How to Become a Physician Assistant in Utah

The preceding decade between 2000 and 2010 predicted growth in the Utah physician assistant sector to be at 61 percent, and in the current decade leading up to 2020 this field is projected to experience much faster than average employment growth. The majority of expansion in PA jobs will be in new positions created as opposed to the replacement of retiring PAs. In 2012 there were 860 PAs employed in the state who earned an average salary of $85,760. Those who are strategically planning to join the distinguished ranks of the Beehive State’s PAs can study this step-by-step guide on how to become a physician assistant in Utah:

  1. Choose Among Utah Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
  2. Pass the NCCPA’s National Exam
  3. Apply to the Utah Physician Assistant Licensing Board
  4. Maintain the Utah PA License

Step 1. Choose Utah Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

Choosing the right Utah physician assistant program for licensure can seem like an overwhelming task but when broken down into two steps becomes much easier. The first order of business is to make sure candidates meet some general PA program admission requirements. Most programs require:

  • Any bachelor’s degree
  • Prerequisite courses:
    • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Lab courses
  • At least one year of clinical experience

Bachelor degree programs that have included PA prerequisites can save students some time, including:

  • Public Health
  • Nursing
  • Medical Assistant
  • Health

The second important aspect of choosing a PA degree program is to ensure it is certified by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). This is required for anyone who wishes to become licensed in Utah.

Step 2. Pass the NCCPA National Exam

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) sponsors its main test, the PANCE, or Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam. Students can register for the PANCE beginning 90 days before their PA program ends for a cost of $475. Details about the PANCE include:

  • Subject area covers human body’s organ systems and their afflictions
  • Proctored at testing locations throughout Utah
  • Multiple-choice format taken on a computer
  • Five-hour time limit
  • 300 questions
  • Upon successful completion NCCPA awards the Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) credential
  • Practice exams are available on the NCCPA’s website for $35

Step 3. Apply to the Utah Physician Assistant Licensing Board

Most forms for a complete application are provided by the Utah Physician Assistant Licensing Board in an application packet, which should include:

  • Application fee $180
  • Prescription capability fee $100
  • Controlled Substance Examination based on Utah laws 58-37 and R156-37
  • Physician Assistant Law and Rules Exam based on Utah laws 58-70a and R156-70a
  • Qualifying Questionnaire
  • Delegation of Services Agreement
  • An official transcript from the candidate’s PA degree program

Step 4. Maintain the Utah PA License

PAs can renew their license online or through a paper renewal application. The fee is currently $123 and Utah PA Licenses expire May 1st of even-numbered years. As part of their license renewal, PAs must attest they have fulfilled their continuing medical education (CME) requirement, which stipulates 40 hours of category I CME to be completed every renewal cycle. PAs are not required to submit proof of their CME credits unless they are audited, and these must be approved by the American
Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) or other nationally approved programs. For support, information about CME credits, networking opportunities, and professional development, PAs may find it beneficial to join a professional organization such as the Utah Academy of Physician Assistants (UAPA).

Back to Top