The are four primary organizations that are associated with the physician assistant profession:
Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) is the only national organization representing physician assistant educational programs in the United States. Currently, all of the accredited programs in the country are members of PAEA. PAEA provides services for faculty at its member programs, as well as to applicants, students, and other stakeholders.
The Association was founded in 1972 as the Association of Physician Assistant Programs. Member programs voted to adopt the current name in 2005.
The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of more than 131,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties, in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the US territories, and within the military.
AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. AAPA works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants. It also works to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) is the recognized accrediting agency that protects the interests of the public, including current and prospective PA students, and the PA profession by defining the standards for PA education and evaluating PA educational programs within the territorial United States to ensure their compliance with those standards.
For a list of accredited programs, applicant programs, or information about accreditation statuses and what they mean, visit the ARC-PA website
The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only certifying organization for physician assistants in the United States. NCCPA is dedicated to assuring the public that certified physician assistants meet established standards of clinical knowledge and cognitive skills upon entry into practice and throughout their careers. All US states, the District of Columbia and the US territories have decided to rely on NCCPA certification as one of the criteria for licensure or regulation of physician assistants.