The Long Space between leaving PA school and practicing as a PA-C
If I could get a dollar for every time I’ve been asked “do you have a job?” or “have you started working yet?”, I’m positive it’d help pay off some of the interest accruing on my loans. While these questions are asked out of interest, it is frustrating to explain the long process it takes. This post is the first of two part that will include how to prepare if you’re finishing up PA School and what to expect after you become a PA-C.
Within 60 days of your last day of PA School:
- Register for your PANCE as soon as you can. You can take your PANCE 7 days after your official last day of school, but you can register for it from when your program gives you the okay (my school was at least 60days before we finished). https://www.nccpa.net/pance-registration
- Create a resume and cover letter.
- Start applying for jobs.
- Make a schedule for how you want to tackle your PANCE.
- Take your BLS/ACLS/PALS course training if you don’t have them or will be needing them in the specialty of your choice.
Officially a PA.
- Study hard and PASS your PANCE as soon as you possibly can. Check out How to PASS the PANCE
- Continue to apply for jobs.
Officially a PA-C.
- Apply for jobs if you are still searching.
- Send in your state registration application. There are usually multiple steps for state registration, read the instructions carefully and pay the required fees. You can start this process while studying for your PANCE. In New York, it cost $115 and you can begin the application prior taking your exam and release your scores after you’ve passed. http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/med/rpaforms.htm
- Sign up for your NPI. The easiest of all things you’d have to do. https://nppes.cms.hhs.gov/#/
- Apply for your DEA – (optional). If your job requires (as most do), your practice may pay for this or waived if working for a state institution. It cost $731 and most people reluctantly pay for this out of pocket. It can take up to 6weeks (Although it has taken less from what I hear) https://apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/webforms/
- If you’ve secured a job prior to finishing school or while studying for your PANCE, then you continue to start the credential process with your job. Private practices take less time to complete as opposed to hospital settings where average time is 3-4 months.
The delay is mainly due to credentialing. I’m speaking specifically for NYC here, make sure to keep in contact with the credentialing specialist assigned to you. There is a medical board that must review your credentials and to my knowledge, they meet once or twice a month and if your documents are not in order, you will not be presented and must wait for the next round. After accepting a job offer, you’ll have to complete a series of request. You must be proactive to email, ask for updates and complete all required tasks on time, otherwise, it will delay how soon you can start working.
Each company requirement for credential varies but you can expect the following plus more:
- Complete job application
- Medical clearance
- Recommendation from program director and clinical supervisors
- Background check
- HIPPA training and other training related to your job
- BLS/ACLS/ATLS/PALS etc as needed.
If you have not secured a job, continue to search, apply and interview.
Completing these steps are dependent on the individual, position and company. This is my experience and will be sharing the part two, which will include details on finding a job, deciding and more.