About the PANCE: Summary of Exam Facts

medical students in lecture

Congratulations! You’ve made it through PA school and are just about ready to graduate. Next comes another major life milestone: certification! Are you excited? Well, you should be because you have a bright and fulfilling future ahead of you. Soon you’ll pass the PANCE and become a certified superhero (PA for short), after which the world is yours save. But first, the exam that unlocks your superpowers is upon you, which is why we’ve put together a summary of facts about the PANCE to help prepare you for what to expect.

1. Certification

Since you’ll be graduating from a U.S. PA program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), you may now take the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE). After you pass the PANCE, the NCCPA will issue your certification (PA-C), which is valid for approximately two years.

2. Eligibility

As a PA school graduate, you will have six years and six attempts to take the PANCE and become certified. You may take the exam up to a maximum of six times within the six years following your graduation. If you fail the exam after six attempts, or if you don’t take and pass the exam before your six-year window has lapsed, you will no longer be eligible to take it. 

After that, the only way to become eligible to retake the PANCE is to re-enroll and complete another full PA program at an accredited PA school. Let’s be honest: no one who’s already completed PA school wants to go through the journey once more. To avoid that fate, we highly recommend trying out our new PANCE | PANRE online learning tool to prepare for the exam so you can pass the certification exam with flying colors on your first try.

3. Registration

The following are the requirements to register for the PANCE:

  • Submit an application and make a $500 payment in advance to the NCCPA
  • Apply to take the PANCE only within 90 days of the date you have completed all requirements for graduation
  • Schedule your exam anytime within the timeframe established for you based on your expected graduation date and after you have submitted all required materials

4. Resources

The following additional resources will give you an even deeper understanding of the PANCE and the NCCPA’s requirements for you as you prepare to transition from PA student to certified practicing PA, so feel free to explore them at your convenience.  

If you are a PA student prepping for an upcoming PANCE exam and want to optimize your chances of success, click here for your FREE trial of our PANCE QBank. We’ll have you ready to ace the PANCE on exam day.