Becoming a Physician Assistant in West Virginia
Step #1: Physician Assistant State License in West Virginia
The licensing agency that issues licenses and renewals for physician assistants in West Virginia is the West Virginia Board of Medicine. There are specific requirements that they expect in order for graduates to obtain their state license and become a physician assistant in West Virginia
The fee to apply for a license in West Virginia is $200. Because the license is only valid for two years, there will also be a fee of $100 due every two years to keep the license current and established.
Keep in mind that West Virginia does not allow a newly practicing physician assistant to write or give prescription medications. They must first have practiced in a physician assistant program under a currently licensed physician for two years. After that, the student must take 4 semester hours of clinical pharmacology before he or she can prescribe medicine.
The West Virginia Board of Medicine’s first requirement in order for applicants to be eligible to pursue physician assistant jobs in West Virginia, is that applicants have graduated from an accredited school. In this state, the accrediting agency of a school can be the ARC-PA, or the Accreditation Review Committee for the Physician Assistant or the CAAHEP, standing for the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. These accreditation standards are extremely important to those who wish to become a physician assistant in West Virginia because they convey to the state that the education received is appropriate and thorough.
In combination with this, a student is also required to pass an examination given by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, also recognized as the NCCPA. It will cost a student roughly $125 to take this test and a fee of $225 must also be paid to keep the certificate valid for two years.
Step #2: How to Obtain Certification
The next thing to do for those interested in learning how to become a physician assistant in West Virginia is to learn how you can go about getting certified so as to be eligible for a state license. The only group that administers and maintains such certifications is known as the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, also collectively known as the NCCPA. They administer a test called the PANCE, or the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination.
This is a cumulative test designed to grade and rate the overall competency and retention of all students looking to be employed as physician assistants. Without having first taken this test and successfully passed it, West Virginia will not issue a license to you. So, you can see the importance of not only understanding your educational course of study, but also the importance of studying for this particular examination.
Once you have finished the test and have achieved and acceptable score, you will be allowed to add the “PA-C” designation after your name. What that means is that you have taken this test and have been certified for employment by the NCCPA. All hospitals, physicians and clinics recognize and require this title before they will consider hiring.
Keep in mind that once you are certified, you are expected to recertify every two years. When you attempt to recertify, you will be required to take the PANRE test, or the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Examination. However, before you are eligible to take this test, the NCCPA requires that you have completed and maintained 100 hours of continuing education credits.
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