Editor’s note: This article has been updated in order to correctly reflect the pilot program terminology.

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is launching a pilot program in January 2019 that will provide physician assistants (PAs) an alternative to the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE). As is the case with PANRE, the goal of the pilot program is to assess core medical knowledge regardless of specialty. However, the assessment process is quite different.

The NCCPA pilot program is an online recertification assessment that will allow participants to answer 25 questions each quarter through December 2020. Questions can be answered in one sitting or throughout the quarter.

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The program is designed to make recertification more convenient and flexible for PAs. Rather than visit a testing location for a 4-hour exam, participants can answer questions where and when they choose. PAs can receive instant feedback on whether they answered a question correctly and why the correct answer is the best choice.

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To help PAs prepare for the new online recertification assessment, resources such as the Rutgers PA recertification review course are available.

The NCCPA’s pilot program could change the way PAs go about recertification. The Clinical Advisor will provide updates on this new alternative to PANRE.