Returning to Practice

Many PAs take time off from clinical practice. It is best to be prepared to return to practice with a clear reentry plan.

Here’s our guide to what you should consider when returning to clinical practice.

Be aware of costs.

Reentering the workforce costs time and money. You may need to travel or relocate to another state for clinical assessment or evaluation. Be sure your financial and familial resources can support these costs.

Stay informed.

Keep up-to-date about the most current happenings in the PA profession – at the federal, state and local levels. Maintain your AAPA membership and any membership you have in state or specialty organizations.

Update your professional file.

Make sure your NCCPA certification is current and make sure you have copies of all documentation.

Refresh your knowledge.

Take courses to keep your knowledge current, and be sure to attend CME, and read industry journals. Find an array of CME in AAPA’s Learning Central.

Test your skills.

You can undergo an objective clinical assessment to verify whether you are ready for clinical practice. Contact AAPA’s Advocacy staff for information about programs near you.

Review the law.

Be sure to read about the laws and regulations that govern PAs in your state. Changes in law can happen quickly; do not assume that regulations have remained the same since you left practice.

Read our summary of state laws and regulations for PAs returning to practice to learn more about your state’s requirements.

Update your experience.

Consider updating your clinical experience by shadowing a clinical colleague or taking on a medical assistant role at a local health fair or clinic. Just be sure you don’t cross the line into practicing medicine without a license. You can also refresh your experience by taking part in a PA residency program.

Know your limits.

Be conservative when reentering practice after time off. Assess how long you have been out of practice, the state of your skills, and your current competency level. Then, choose a role that reasonably fits with what you can offer.

Need additional support?

Be sure to reach out to Jennifer Hohman, PA career coach and advocate who can provide you with expert guidance on returning back to practice.