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New Hampshire Physician Assistant Licensing Guide

NOTE: This is a short article intended for foreign-trained physicians in New Hampshire who want to look at the career of Physician Assistant as an alternative to relciensing in the U.S. It is meant as a complement to the New Hampshire Physician (MD) article.

Physician Assistants (PAs) are primary care providers who practice medicine under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. They are formally trained to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, and provide treatment, although the specific duties of PAs and the amount of supervision they require varies from state to state. To become a PA you will need to complete an accredited educational program and although not required, most applicants already have at least two years of bachelor’s degree level physiology and anatomy classes and several years of work experience in the healthcare field before applying. You can expect this accredited educational program to take 2 years of full-time study to complete, with most programs granting a master’s degree upon completion. Also, keep in mind that all states require PAs to be licensed, which requires all applicants to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination given by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). In order to maintain this license, PAs must follow the specific recertification regulations of their state of licensure.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the average annual wage of a PA was $86,410 in 2010, which is more than the average annual salary of $64,690 for a registered nurse. As far as job outlook, employment for PAs is expected to increase 30% from 2010-2020, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This expected increase in employment can be attributed to population increases, the aging of the “Baby Boomer” generation, and the result of more physicians entering specialty medicine, all contributing to a greater need for primary care providers like PAs. For foreign-trained healthcare professionals, becoming a PA is an attractive alternative to re-licensing as a physician or retraining in nursing given the wide range of practice responsibilities and quick turnaround time.

See the following hypothetical scenarios for Physician’s Assistant education. Please do not consider them as minimum or maximum scenarios, only as some potential scenarios out of many. Your personal perspective and experience will vary.

Compare this to the MD costs table that follows.

Physician Assistant (PA) Time and Cost Scenarios

StepMore Efficient Scenario
Approx Time and Cost
Less Efficient Scenario
Approx Time and Cost
1. Apply to PA ProgramApply to School

Approx total $500 for 'seat'deposit and 6 months
Apply to School

Approx total $500 for 'seat deposit and 9 months
2. Attend PA ProgramAttend program Manchester PA Studies

Approx total $90,000 (includes 'seat deposit) and 24 months
Attend program Franklin Pierce PA Program

Approx total $90,000 (includes 'seat'deposit) and 27 months
3. Take Certification ExamPANCE (Physician Assistant National Certification Exam)

Approx total $590 (including license) and approx. 6 months preparation time.
PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certification Exam)

Approx total $590 (including license) and approx. 6 months preparation time.
TotalMore Efficient Total

About $90,590 and 36 months (3 years)
Less Efficient Total

About $90,590 and 42 months (3 1/2 years)
Earning Potential in First Year Licensed$86,410$86,410

Note: Costs shown do not include annual living expenses at all.

There are on-going costs associated with the Physician Assistant such as license renewals, coursework to keep current, liability insurance, memberships, and other costs.

Compare the Physician Assistant table to the table for Physician:

Physician (MD) Time and Cost Scenarios

The Physician licensing process is both long and expensive. Still, many factors will ultimately determine how long and costly your own process will be. Just some of these include:

  • The completeness of your credentials and the speed of their collection and assessment.
  • Your performance on all steps of the USMLE.
  • How flexible you are about Residency types and locations.
  • Your efficiency and effectiveness in the Residency search process.
  • Your free time and how much money you have to spend.
StepMore Efficient Scenario Approximate Time & CostLess Efficient Scenario Approximate Time & Cost
1. Pursue ECFMG CertificationECFMG Registration

Tests
Study Courses
USMLE Step 1
USMLE Step 2 CK
USMLE Step 2 CS

Approx total $5,500 and 2.5 years
ECFMG Registration including translations

Tests (with retake)
Study Courses
USMLE Step 1
USMLE Step 2 CK
USMLE Step 2 CS

Approx total $7,000 and 4.5 years
2. Apply for Residency*FCVS Registration

Match Process

Research Programs

ERAS

NRMP

Travel and accommodations

Find Residency/GMT

Approx total $300
FCVS Registration

Match Process

Research Programs

ERAS

NRMP

Travel and accommodations

Find Residency/GMT

Approx total $300
3. Attend Residency Program3 years of Residency**

Residency License

Approx total $3,100 and 4 years
3 years of Residency**

Residency License

Approx total $6,200 and 5 years
4. Take Last Exam Required for LicensureUSMLE Step 3 exam

Unrestricted permanent license

Approx total $1,000
USMLE Step 3 exam

Unrestricted permanent license

Approx total $1,000
TotalMore Efficient Total
About $10,000 and 6.5 years of preparation
(Plus at least 3 years to finish your Residency)
Less Efficient Total
About $14,500 and 9.5 years of preparation
(Plus at least 3 years to finish your Residency)
Earnings Potential in First Year Licensed$150,000$150,000

 

Notes:
Costs shown do not include annual living expenses at all.
*Applying does not guarantee acceptance into a Residency
**Even though New Hampshire only requires 2 years of Graduate Medical Training which can be internship and/or Residency, Residencies are at least 3 years, depending on the specialty.