Physician Assistant Certification Exams: PANCE and PANRE

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) has established the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) and Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE) to assess the skills and capabilities of physician assistants, leading to excellence in patient care.

Upon graduating from an accredited Physician Assistant program, PAs must take the PANCE to become certified. Once you are certified, you will enter a 10-year certification maintenance cycle that is divided into five 2-year periods, during which you must maintain certification by earning CME credits online. Within each 2-year cycle, PAs are required to log at least 100 CME credits including at least 50 Category 1 CME credits. The balance of credits can be Category 1, Category 2, or a combination.

Two types of Category 1 CME include Performance Improvement (PI-CME) activities and Self-Assessment (SA) activities. While neither of these CME types are required, the NCCPA recognizes their value and weights these types of CME more heavily.

At the end of this 10-year cycle, PAs must pass the PANRE, a multiple-choice exam which evaluates general medical and surgical knowledge.

Physician Assistant Certification: Recent Changes

In 2014, NCCPA revamped their certification program for PAs, making several changes based on

  • New potential requirements for state licensing of Physician Assistants
  • Certification methods of other medical boards
  • AAPA and PAEA feedback
  • Changes in the health care field and patient needs

Making these changes will allow PAs to maintain relevant knowledge, improve patient care, and be prepared for any changes in the field and in state licensure expectations. It is the goal of NCCPA to promote lifelong learning and excellence in 6 core competencies:

How NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine Board Review Can Help

Developed with busy clinicians in mind, NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine Board Review’s adaptive learning program helps PAs meet certification maintenance requirements by providing the ability to earn self-assessment CME credits, AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, prepare for board exams, and refresh and retain the broad body of general medical knowledge you learned in your training.

Learn more about our features and benefits.

Accreditation Statement

The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The American Medical Association has an agreement of mutual recognition of Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits with the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS), the accreditation body for European countries. Physicians interested in converting AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ to UEMS-European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education CME credits (ECMECs) should contact the UEMS at

AMA Credit Designation Statement

The Massachusetts Medical Society designates each enduring material for the number of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ listed below. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine Board Review: 349 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

AAFP Prescribed Credit

The AAFP has reviewed NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine Board Review and deemed it acceptable for up to 349.00 Enduring Materials, Self-Study AAFP Prescribed credits. Term of Approval is from 02/01/2023 to 12/31/2023. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

AAPA Category 1 Self-Assessment CMEAAPA CME Credit (NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine Board Review)

This activity has been reviewed by the AAPA Review Panel and is compliant with AAPA CME Criteria. This activity is designated for 20 AAPA Category 1 Self-Assessment CME credits. PAs should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation. Approval is valid from 5/1/2023 to 4/30/2024. AAPA reference number: CME-209251.

For NCCPA certification maintenance ONLY: NCCPA will now apply an additional 50 percent weighting when these self-assessment credits are logged for NCCPA certification maintenance purposes. PAs should log up to a maximum of 20 AAPA Category 1 Self-Assessment CME credits, as the additional weighting will be automatically applied by NCCPA.