NCCPA Shares Q1 PANRE Pilot Results During AAPA 2019

Participants Knocking Out the Test During Business Hours

June 5, 2019

By Jenni Roberson

This May marked two years since National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) announced the launch of a pilot alternative to the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE), making AAPA 2019 the perfect time for an update.

During conference, NCCPA President/CEO Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C, and NCCPA Director of PA Relations Greg Thomas PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA, hosted a session to provide an overview of the pilot as well as some key take-aways from participation thus far.

Morton-Rias and Thomas both emphasized that much thought, deliberation, and stakeholder input shaped the program, noting that NCCPA listened to a top concern from PAs – that any new credentialing process must protect their ability to change specialties. Cost and the time required to prepare for and take PANRE were two other key pieces of feedback that NCCPA says it weighed carefully when developing the pilot.

As a long-time advocate for an evidence-based recertification process for PAs that is less burdensome and has more relevance to daily practice, AAPA has expressed support for the pilot program.

Officially kicking off this past January, the pilot requires participating PAs to answer 25 questions on a quarterly basis over a two-year period – January 2019 through December 2020. The pilot offers PAs flexibility by allowing them to complete all the questions at once or to periodically answer them throughout the quarter.

Convenience is also an added element to the pilot, as PAs can access the test through any device at any location or time of day.

All PAs required to take PANRE in 2018 or 2019 were invited to participate, and nearly 60 percent of those eligible – more than 18,500 PAs – signed up before the deadline in June 2018.

NCCPA reported that at the close of the first quarter, March 2019, over 99% of participating PAs completed all 25 questions and that many test-takers answered the questions during business hours. Seventy-three percent finished the questions within one day answering the first question.

Are you participating in the pilot? AAPA would love to hear about your experience so far. Send us an email at

Only 34 of the 18,500 PAs opted to withdraw.

In addition to the pilot alternative to PANRE, NCCPA also highlighted how PANRE content has shifted from “General Medical Knowledge” to “Core Medical Knowledge” in 2019. For more information, see the new content blueprint for the pilot and PANRE released by NCCPA in early 2018.

Jenni Roberson is director of media relations for AAPA. Contact her at [email protected].

More Resources:
PANCE/PANRE Review Resources

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