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"Statistical Profile of Certified Physician Assistants by State"

National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

Contact: Andrzej Kozikowski, PhD, Director of Research,

Poster Authors
Andrzej Kozikowski, PhD; Colette Jeffery, MA; Sheila Mauldin, MNM, MEd; Greg Thomas, MPH, PA-C Emeritus; and Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C. 

Purpose: The National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants recently published its 2018 Statistical Profile of Certification Physician Assistants by State. This report was developed to provide comparative data on the physician assistant (PA) workforce by state and the U.S. This report delivers comprehensive state-level information about the rate of certified PAs by state, demographics, and practice data.

Methods: NCCPA launched the PA Professional Profile in May 2012. This data-gathering instrument is presented to certified PAs through a secure portal within NCCPA’s website. The profile has three modules: About Me, My Practice, and Recently Certified.

Data reflected in this report include responses from PAs who were certified as of December 31, 2018 and answered at least a portion of the survey. In addition, some data were obtained from other NCCPA data collection strategies, and the number of licensed PAs is derived from the 2018 Federation of State Medical Boards licensure data. This report includes responses from 117,280 certified PAs, yielding an overall response rate of 89.4%.

The data provided have been aggregated from the individual responses provided by PAs. Responses were examined for consistency and potential errors. Responses that contained obvious errors or inconclusive data were not included in this analysis.

Key Findings:
  • Overall PA workforce increased by 6.6% over the previous year. Rhode Island, Arkansas, and Nevada saw the largest increases in their certified PA workforce.
  • Alaska leads the nation in the number of certified PAs practicing in primary care (50.4%).
  • California ranked the highest in the nation among states with the largest percentage of minority certified PAs (33.7%), followed by Hawaii (28.3%) and Maryland (24.0%).
  • California also ranked highest in the country among states with the largest percentages of certified PAs who can communicate with their patients in another language.

: Certified PAs are represented in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Understanding the differences within the PA workforce in regard to demographics, practice characteristics, and distribution can provide a valuable tool to PAs, physicians, policy-makers, health regulators, and others.

Additional Information
  • Physician Assistants Certified by NCCPA: all U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories rely on NCCPA certification as one of the criteria for initial licensure or regulation of physician assistants. As of Dec. 31, 2019, there were more than 139,000 certified PAs.
  • NCCPA Website
  • NCCPA Fact Sheet

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