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, including a total of at least 40 Category 1 CME credits through Performance Improvement (PI) activities and 40 Category 1 CME credits through Self-Assessment (SA) activities.

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:

  • Medical knowledge
  • Interpersonal and communications skills
  • Patient care
  • Professionalism
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • Systems-based practice

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 Physician Assistants meet certification maintenance requirements by earning 20 self-assessment CME credits, over 200 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.

AMA Credit Designation Statement

NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine Board Review
The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this enduring material for a maximum of 270 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

AAFP Prescribed Credit

This enduring material activity, NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 270 Prescribed credits by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Term of credit begins February 1, 2017. Term of approval is for one year from this date. 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 Self-Assessment CME program has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 20.00 AAPA Category 1 Self-Assessment CME credits by the Physician Assistant Review Panel. Approval is valid for one year from the release date of 02/01/2017. Physician Assistants should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. This program was planned in accordance with AAPA’s CME Standards.

For NCCPA certification maintenance ONLY, NCCPA will now apply an additional 50% weighting when these self-assessment credits are logged for NCCPA certification maintenance purposes. PAs should log up to a maximum of 20.00 AAPA Category 1 Self-Assessment CME credits, as the additional weighting will be automatically applied by the NCCPA.