Certification Exam Eligibility

POLICY AND PROCEDURE

TO CHALLENGE THE PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT CERTIFICATION COUNCIL OF CANADA (PACCC)

PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT ENTRY TO PRACTICE CERTIFICATION EXAMINATION (PA CERT EXAM)

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
All candidates must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Properly complete and sign the PACCC PA Cert Exam online registration form by the established deadline;
  • Be a member of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA); and
  • Meet the competency and/or experience as laid out in the eligibility criteria listed below.

ELIGIBILITY

To establish eligibility to challenge the PACCC PA Cert Exam all applicants must meet either of the following:

Be a graduate of a Canadian PA program previously accredited by the CMA

  • Requires validation of successful completion of a Canadian PA programs previously accredited by the CMA from the PA program.
  • New graduate’s first exam attempt must be made within the first three (3) years after graduation
  • Previously CMA accredited PA program graduates are eligible to take the PACCC PA Cert Exam up to five years after successful completion of a CMA accredited program; during that five (5) year period the exam may be taken a maximum of four (4) times, when either the fifth (5th) year or the fourth (4th) attempt is exhausted, whichever occurs sooner, the individual loses eligibility to take the PACCC PA Cert Exam.

OR

Be a graduate of an Accreditation Review Commission (ARC) program and certified by the National Commission of Certification for Physician Assistant (NCCPA)

  • Requires validation of successful completion of an ARC accredited US PA program and proof of current NCCPA membership.
  • NCCPA member number must be included on the registration form.
  • Must also declare if your name appears on the National Physicians Data Bank (NPDB) Report)

Even if you have earned a medical degree, you must still graduate from a CMA or ARC-PA accredited program to take the PACCC PA Cert Exam.

Trainees of a CMA accredited program may be eligible to sit the PACCC PA Cert Exam in the last two months of their training program pending confirmation of completion of core competencies by the program. Canadian PA programs previously accredited by CMA with candidates registering to write the PACCC PA Cert Exam in the last two months of their training must provide PACCC with a list confirming the names of each enrolled student that has completed core competencies and are eligible to challenge the PACCC PA Cert Exam. Candidates whose names do not appear on the provided list will be redirected to their PA Program and their registration form will be refused. Should a candidate not be successful in graduating from their PA program, their PACCC PA Cert Exam results become null and void. Under no circumstances will these candidates be advised of their PACCC PA Cert Exam results prior to PACCC receiving confirmation of successful program completion.

PACCC will not waive any eligibility requirements

The PACCC Manager, Certification approves all applications for eligibility to sit the PACCC PA Cert Exam. If there is insufficient documentation to substantiate the certification requirements the application will be refused. All applications will be reviewed 30 days before the exam date. In the event of a refusal, a candidate can dispute the decision in writing within 2 weeks before the exam date. All written disputes will be referred to the PACCC for immediate review and consideration.

ONLINE PA CERT EXAM REGISTRATION
The online registration dates will be posted annually in the Exam Dates and Online Exam Registration sections under the PACCC logo on the CAPA Website. No registrations will be accepted after the posted close date. PACCC reserves the right to waive the registration deadline under extenuating circumstances however, PACCC decisions are final. Requests for late registrations must be submitted in writing to certification@capa-acam.ca.

IRREGULAR BEHAVIOUR
Any behaviour that threatens the integrity or security of the PA Cert Exam and the certification process is considered by PACCC to be irregular behaviour.  Irregular behaviour includes, but is not limited to:

  • making false representations on CAPA membership applications or falsifying supporting documentation;
  • altering or falsifying CCPA certificates or otherwise misrepresenting a certification status;
  • altering or falsifying PA Cert Exam performance reports;
  • seeking or having access to the PA Cert Exam materials before the PA Cert Exam is administered;
  • impersonating an examinee or engaging someone else to take the PA Cert Exam by proxy;
  • copying of the PA Cert Exam answers from someone else or allowing answers to be copied;
  • copying, memorizing and/or reproducing PA Cert Exam items for personal use or distribution;
  • purchasing or stealing any PA Cert Exam materials;
  • possessing unauthorized materials or equipment during the administration of a PA Cert Exam;
  • making a false or intentionally misleading report accusing others of irregular behaviour.

To help PACCC maintain the integrity and security of its certification process, anyone acting in good faith that has information or evidence that irregular behaviour has occurred is encouraged to submit a written, signed statement to PACCC detailing the incident and providing copies of any supporting evidence or documentation.

If PACCC determines that irregular behaviour has occurred, it may invalidate scores, suspend or revoke existing certifications, temporarily or permanently bar individuals from the PA Cert Exam, or may impose other sanctions or take other actions, as it deems appropriate, including legal action.

APPEAL PROCESS
Any candidate subject to an adverse decision by PACCC can submit an appeal (see Appeal Process document).
A failing score on the PACCC PA Cert Exam is NOT subject to appeal.
The following adverse decisions by PACCC (or delegated to its Manager, Certification) are subject to appeal.

  • Disciplinary action based on irregular behaviour of candidates as reported in writing to PACCC before, during or after a PA Cert Exam;
  • Disciplinary action based on fraudulent use of the CCPA credential;
  • Denial of eligibility to sit a PA Cert Exam;
  • Revocation of eligibility to sit a PA Cert Exam;
  • Revocation of certification;
  • Other adverse action regarding the CCPA credential.

RE-CERTIFICATION
There is no requirement for re-certification. Canadian Certified Physician Assistant’s (CCPA) are required to maintain their proficiency through the tracking of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). All CCPAs must be a regular or sustained member of CAPA and must track their CPD credits through the CPD Tracking Tool of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (the Royal College) MAINPORT ePortfolion login. Please review the PACCC CPD policy for non-compliance.

NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS AND RE-WRITES
Individuals who meet the eligibility criteria described in this document will be eligible to take the PACCC PA Cert Exam up to five years after successful completion of a previously CMA accredited program. During that five year period the exam may be taken a maximum of four times. When either the fifth year or the fourth attempt is exhausted, whichever occurs sooner, the individual loses eligibility to take the PACCC PA Cert Exam.

AGGREGATE DATA
Aggregate data (candidate names are removed) is provided to each previously CMA accredited program to provide the information required for the maintenance of  accreditation.

LIST OF CCPAs
All individuals who obtain the Canadian Certified Physician Assistant (CCPA) designation are added to a list found under the PACCC logo on the CAPA website and choosing List of CCPAs. This list contains the names of all PAs that hold the CCPA designation from inception to the last completed PACCC PA Cert Exam.