Physician assistant grads boast high board pass rates

Published 02.22.2024

Physician Assistant
Nursing & Health Sciences
Alumni News
Faculty & Staff
A mock emergency department is among the true-to-life labs where Pennsylvania College of Technology students receive hands-on education. For the second consecutive year, the college’s graduates exceeded the national first-attempt pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam.

For the second consecutive year, Pennsylvania College of Technology physician assistant graduates have bested the national first-attempt pass rate for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam.

Ninety-four percent of Penn College’s Class of 2023 graduates – who completed their degrees in August – passed the exam on their first attempt, while 100% of the 2022 graduating class passed on their first try.

The nationwide first-attempt pass rate for both years is 92%.

The Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam is required to practice as a physician assistant. The exam is conducted by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and assesses medical and surgical knowledge, clinical reasoning, and professional behaviors required for entry into practice.

“The Penn College PA Program has always been top-notch; however, over the past few years, the faculty and staff have worked extremely hard to raise the bar and take the program to the next level,” said Joshua A. Bower, director of the college’s physician assistant program. “We’ve recently revised our curriculum to ensure we are keeping pace with the latest trends in clinical practice and PA education, completely renovated our program facilities to create simulation labs and other learning spaces that replicate real-world clinical settings, purchased additional medical equipment and other learning resources to better facilitate student learning, and hired faculty who are content experts in their respective medical specialties.”

“As the director and an alumnus of the program, I'm extremely proud of the investment Penn College administration has made into our program, of the efforts put forth by program faculty and staff, and most importantly, of the quality and performance of our students and graduates, who represent the future of medicine,” he added. “The high first-time pass rates are just one of several metrics that represent the quality of the Penn College PA program.”

After passing the certifying exam, PAs are issued NCCPA certification and can use the PA-C designation.

PAs practice in every medical and surgical specialty and setting. They practice medicine with physicians and other health care professionals, conducting physicals, assisting in surgery, diagnosing and treating illnesses, and ordering and interpreting tests. By providing patient-centered, team-based care, certified PAs make health care more affordable and accessible.

Penn College offers a Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies. The Class of 2023 marked the Penn College physician assistant program’s 26th graduating class.

The program maintains “accreditation-continued” status with the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, with the approximate date for the next validation review in September 2027. The program has been accredited since 1996.

To learn more about the physician assistant program at Penn College, call 570-327-4519.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.