- Education program: Location and year of degree
- National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA): Status, year granted and last reported date
- State licensure: License number, expiration date and last reported date
See the links at right to view a sample profile, learn more about the AAPA data, and download an important file about TJC's acceptance of the AAPA Physician Assistant Masterfile.
AAPA Data as used in a profile
The American Academy of PAs (AAPA) maintains a comprehensive database of physician assistants (PAs) known as the AAPA Physician Assistant Masterfile. AMA works with data supplied by the AAPA Physician Assistant Masterfile to generate and make available PA profiles for individuals eligible to practice as PAs in the United States. The following describes the data contained within such a profile.
The first six data elements in AMA's Physician Assistant Profile can be supplied by the PA.
At the time that a record is created, the legal name of the PA or student is listed in the AAPA Physician Assistant Masterfile. Name changes are based on data received from data providers and/or directly from the PA.
The individual’s preferred mailing address appears on the Physician Assistant Profile. This is the address the individual designates. Sources of address changes also include the following:
United States Post Office
- PA correspondence and correspondence from hospitals
- Government agencies
- Licensing and certification agencies
A primary office address appears when it has been reported to AAPA.
The PA provides his/her date of birth.
Major professional activity
Major professional activity (MPA) is reported by PAs on the AAPA Census of Physician Assistants. The vast majority of records show "PA" as the MPA; however, some show non-clinical MPAs such as:
- PA Student
- Nurse or Nurse Practitioner
- Other health care provider
- Healthcare-related vendor
Clinical work setting
Clinical work setting is reported by PAs on the AAPA Census of Physician Assistants. Options for clinical work setting include the following:
- Outpatient clinic or physician office
- Urgent care center
- Convenient Care Clinic (including retail)
- School/college/university health clinic
- Ambulatory surgical center
- Rehabilitation facility
- Extended care facility/nursing home
- Occupational Medicine/work site
- Correctional facility
- Not currently working
Self-reported practice specialty
PAs report a self-designated practice specialty on the AAPA Census of Physician Assistants. The fact that a PA chooses to designate a given specialty does not necessarily mean that the PA has been trained or has special competence to practice within that specialty.
Primary-source verified data
The last four data elements in a Physician Assistant Profile cannot be supplied by the PA. They are verified with the primary source.
The AAPA Physician Assistant Masterfile indicates whether the PA is a current AAPA member.
Program attended and year of graduation
Since 1968—one year after the first PAs graduated—the AAPA has collected information on all enrollees and graduates from all operational programs.
Each PA program supplies education information to the AAPA. Data updates from the programs are expected at the beginning of the month in which enrollment is to take place and at the beginning of the month that graduation is to take place. Nearly 100% of education programs respond within one month of the request.
PA training program information includes the name of the program and the date of graduation, provided that the individual did graduate. A small number of PAs who did not graduate from a PA program are eligible to practice. The majority of these were certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and trained informally or trained as nurse practitioners. For these PAs, the program name field indicates “Informally Trained” or “Nurse Practitioner Certified as a PA.”
For individuals not yet eligible to practice as PAs (that is, current and former students), the graduation date is blank.
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants certification
The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is an independent agency formed as a not-for-profit organization in 1975. NCCPA is responsible for the administration of the only nationally recognized PA examination. Only graduates of accredited PA programs are eligible to sit for national examinations. All US states, the District of Columbia and US territories rely on NCCPA certification criteria for licensure or regulation of PAs.
NCCPA transmits data electronically to the AAPA every three months. The AAPA processes and incorporates NCCPA data into the AAPA Physician Assistant Masterfile within one week.
NCCPA information includes NCCPA number and certification status (active or inactive), year the certification was initially received or regained if certification lapsed, and the date these data were last reported to the AAPA.
Once a PA is NCCPA certified, he/she is required by NCCPA to sit for recertification every six years in order to maintain certification.
Most states provide licensure data on a quarterly basis or, at minimum, every 180 days. Current and historical licensure data are included on the PA profile and expiration dates are listed for each license. The majority of the boards require PAs licensed in the state to register annually or every two years. A few states have longer registration intervals. All active licenses (100%) on the AAPA Physician Assistant Masterfile have expiration dates.
The “Last Reported” date reflects the last time that data pertaining to that record were provided to the AAPA from the individual licensing board. The corresponding license number for each licensure segment is also provided.