Congratulations! You’ve just completed a Physician Assistant (PA) program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), and your program meets the Connecticut licensing requirements. But you’re not done yet. There are a few steps you need to complete to get a Connecticut physician assistant license.
The first step to getting a PA license in Connecticut is to pass the certification examination from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). The Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) is a five-hour exam consisting of 300 multiple-choice questions to assess basic medical and surgical knowledge. Applicants can take the exam once in a 90-day period or three times in a year, whichever is fewer. Applicants are eligible to take PANCE for up to six years after completing the requirements for graduation from an ARC-PA accredited program.
At the time you apply for licensure, you’ll need to have a current certification from the NCCPA.You’ll also have to complete no less than 60 hours of didactic instruction in pharmacology for PA practice. These hours must be completed in an accredited PA education program or a post-graduate program for PA practice.
In Connecticut, licensed PAs must meet the NCCPA’s continuing medical education requirements and pass any exams the commission may require to maintain certification. PAs must also complete no less than one contact hour of training in prescribing controlled substances and pain management in the two-year period following certification.
Once you’ve completed the above steps, you’re ready to start the application process. All supporting documentation must be sent directly to the Connecticut Department of Public Health from the source. You’ll need to submit:
- An official transcript of your undergraduate or graduate degree
- An official transcript from the PA program
- Official verification of the successful completion of the PANCE and current certification status
- Official verification of completion of the didactic instruction
If you have a license or certification in another state, you’ll also need to have that state’s licensing authority send official verification to the DPH. You’ll also need to attach a photograph to your application and pay a fee. At the time of this writing, the application fee is $190.
To get a Connecticut physician assistant license, you have to be in good standing in the state. You cannot have had a license or certification revoked in the past, or have had disciplinary action imposed by any jurisdiction in the United States. You’ll have to satisfy a background check or character and fitness check. Connecticut General Statute gives the Department of Public Health authorization to deny eligibility for a permit or license if the applicant has committed or been found guilty of committing acts that endanger public health and safety.
Once you’ve completed all of the requirements, paid the licensing fee, and the Department of Public Health has approved your application, you will receive your license.
Working with a supervising physician
Once you have your Connecticut physician assistant license, physician assistants work with a supervising physician to provide patient care. The supervising physician must establish the terms of the working relationship in a written delegation agreement. The agreement describes the services the PA can perform and outlines how the PA’s prescribing of controlled substances will be documented in a patient’s medical record. The agreement also includes details about how the supervising physician will evaluate the PA’s performance.
Exceptions for recent graduates
Recent graduates of an accredited PA program are eligible for a temporary permit. The permit authorizes the holder to practice as a PA in settings where the supervising physician is physically present on the premises and is immediately available to the PA. The supervising physician must be clearly identified and maintain the final responsibility for the PA’s performance, as well as the care of patients.
Physician assistants play an important role in healthcare. They can practice in every medical setting and specialty, making them one of the most versatile healthcare providers. It’s also a highly rewarding job, and PAs regularly report high job satisfaction.
If you’re a current or future healthcare provider and want to share in the PACT vision of delivering patient-centered and innovative healthcare, apply to one of our open jobs today. Apply Today