Regulatory Registration Process
Physician Assistants in Pennsylvania are required to be licensed by the State Board of Medicine (if the primary supervising physician is an MD) or certified by the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine (if the primary supervising physician is a DO).
State Board of Medicine
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
State Board of Osteopathic Medicine
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
A complete copy of the regulations governing PA practice under each Board can be viewed by clicking one of the following links:
State Board of Medicine Regulations
State Board of Osteopathic Medicine Regulations
NEW GRADUATE PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS
Complete instructions for a new graduate physician assistant to obtain a temporary permit under the State Board of Medicine can be found on our New Graduate Information page.
- The State Board of Medicine will permit a new graduate to practice between graduation and certification under a temporary permit.
- The new graduate must take the first available NCCPA exam after graduation and pass it to be able to continue practicing in Pennsylvania.
- If the new graduate does not pass the initial NCCPA exam, they must stop practicing until the next successful attempt at taking the exam. An uncertified PA in Pennsylvania is only permitted to work in a federal facility.
- While practicing under the temporary permit, the new graduate is not permitted to prescribe and the supervising physician must be on site at all times.
- The new graduate is responsible for having the NCCPA notify the State Board of Medicine of their successful completion of the exam in order to change the temporary permit to a permanent license. Only at that time may the PA request prescribing privileges.
- The State Board of Osteopathic Medicine does not permit PAs to work under a DO until they have successfully passed the NCCPA exam. They have no provision for a temporary permit.
GRADUATE PAs NOT PRESENTLY LICENSED
- Forms to register with the State Board of Medicine and State Board of Osteopathic Medicine are on the PALS website https://www.pals.pa.gov/#/page/default.
- The application includes verification of your credentials, including your graduation from an accredited PA program, national certification, and proof of good standing for any out of state licenses that were previously held. A detailed checklist of needed documentation is available on the PALS website.
- Completeness of the application and enclosure of the appropriate payment is required.
- Approval of your application must be received before you can submit a written agreement application and begin practicing as a PA.
PRESENTLY LICENSED AND PRESENTLY PRACTICING PAs
- Pennsylvania has a biennial renewal process for physician assistants. It is the PA’s responsibility to make sure your state credentials don’t expire. If they do expire, you will be subject to disciplinary action by the board.
- If you have a change in address, you have 15 days to notify the board.
- If you change employers, you must have your new primary supervisor’s application filed before you can begin practicing in Pennsylvania.
ALLOPATHIC PHYSICIAN (MD) AS A PRIMARY SUPERVISOR
- An application for supervision of a Physician Assistant can be obtained from the State Board of Medicine on the PALS website.
- The application has four parts. The initial part of the application is the proof of the supervisor’s credentials including professional background and specialty, medical education, internship, residency and hospital affiliation.
- The second part of the application is the location and method in which the PA will be supervised.
- The third part of the application is a written agreement outlining the duties the physician assistant will be performing in this place of employment. The regulations outline the scope of practice for a PA. Simply list your general tasks as a foundation and add those procedures or tasks that may be specific to your specialty or practice setting.
- The fourth part of the application is a listing of drug categories that the PA would not be prescribing in your practice setting. In this section there is also a question about the PA being permitted to prescribe scheduled III-IV medications. This question must be marked “yes”, if the PA is applying for a DEA number. A DEA number must be obtained before the PA can prescribe controlled medications.
OSTEOPATHIC PHYSICIAN (DO) AS A PRIMARY SUPERVISOR
- The application for supervision of a Physician Assistant can be found on the PALS website.
- The above description of the supervisor’s application is similar for the DO. The written agreement is considered approved upon submission.
MD AS PRIMARY SUPERVISOR AND DO AS AN ALTERNATE
- A DO may act as an alternate supervising physician for a MD.
- The Medical and Osteopathic Boards now require 3 hours of child abuse CME and 4 hours of opioid training CME for initial licensure. At the time of license renewal, the licensee must have 2 hours of child abuse CME and 2 hours of opioid training CME.
- A certificate of insurance showing proof of malpractice in the amount of $1 million dollars for claims made or occurrence only coverage must be submitted with the written agreement. The PA must be named on the certificate and it needs to an active policy.