Physician Assistant Programs in North Carolina

Last Updated on October 21, 2021 by admin

north-carolinaAlthough North Carolinians have somewhat less cases of heart disease than the rest of the nation, they do experience strokes, respiratory diseases, and higher than average rates of cancer. It’s the job of the PAs working in North Carolina to counter these high rates of mortality through immediate treatment but also preventive measures. And North Carolina physician assistants do that and much more common duties including helping with surgery, ordering X-rays and other laboratory tests, making hospital rounds, recommending physical therapy, and suturing wounds.

How to become a Physician Assistant in North Carolina

Before applying for a PA license in North Carolina, applicants must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) examination administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCC-PA). Students should try to take this examination during the last few months before they graduate. The PANCE is a multiple choice exam that is around 360 questions and is done online at a Pearson testing center. In North Carolina, there’re Pearson Professional Centers in Asheville, Wilmington, Greenville, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh. The exam fee is 475 dollars. Taking the exam while still in college is recommended for applicants in North Carolina because the state doesn’t offer any temporary license for PAs waiting for their results.

For those individuals who want to become physician assistants in North Carolina, it’s highly advisable that you download practice exam questions at the NCC-PA official website in order to prepare for the main exam. The charge for downloading the practice exam questions is $35. If you fail the first sitting, the exam can be done three times per year. But, if you fail the exam six times, you will be ineligible for NCC-PA certification and you must complete their education program again before sitting for the exam a seventh time.

Career Requirements

In order to work as a PA in North Carolina, you must acquire licensure from the North Carolina Medical Board. Prospective physician assistants must first graduate from a PA program that is approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on education for the Physician Assistants (ARCPA). In order to acquire licensure, you must gain certification from the NCCPA. To get this certification, applicants must pass the PANCE exam.

Physician Assistant Certification and License in North Carolina

Licensing of PAs in North Carolina is handled by the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB). Applicants can apply for licensure with or without registry to the Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS). The FCVS is federal registry of physician’s medical identifications that may be useful if a physician assistant ever wants to relocate to another state and has to obtain a licensure there as well.

Applicants who want to become PAs in North Carolina must submit two fingerprints cards, as well as a head and shoulder photograph of themselves for a criminal background check. An official from the schools or the university attended by the applicant must sign a form in the application and stamp it with the university’s seal. The application letter must be accompanied with three references letters for anyone who wants to become a PA in North Carolina. One reference letter must be from a licensed physician indicating that the applicant trained under him/her during the clinical part of his/her training. The other two references letters must be from professors, co-workers or other physician that knows you. You must also submit a Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB) and a National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) report along with their application to the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB).

Salary and Career Info

The interactive chart above is a visual representation of the annual salary of North Carolina PA’s compared to the national annual salaries, all based on the latest May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Physician Assistants Schools in North Carolina

Campbell University offers a Master’s degree in physician assistant practice. Admission requirements include GRE scores, a bachelor’s degree, and letters of recommendation, prerequisite coursework and at least a thousand hours of hands-on clinical experience. This seven semester program covers topics like psychiatry, orthopedics, radiology, and pharmacotherapeutics. Students basically complete all clinical and didactic requirements in 28-months.

The PAs master’s program at Methodist University requires applicants to have bachelor’s degrees, any major is acceptable. Medical vocabulary, statistics, math, and specific science classes are some of the prerequisite undergraduate coursework that are required. Applicants are also supposed to submit GRE scores and have completed 500-patient contact hours.

Coursework makes up the first three and half semesters; classes can include patient evaluations, pharmacology, emergency medicine, healthcare promotion and healthcare ethics. Clinical training occupies the remaining three and half semesters, and students gain experience in orthopedics, psychiatry, women’s health, surgery, internal medicine and family medicine.

List of All 11 Accredited PA Programs

As of October 2021, the accrediting agency is ARC-PA and there are 11 accredited programs (two of them are provisional) in North Carolina.

1. Campbell University

Initial Accreditation Date: March 4, 2011

Next ARC-PA Review: March 2024



2. Duke University Medical Center

Initial Accreditation Date: September 1, 1972

Next ARC-PA Review: March 2028


3. East Carolina University

Initial Accreditation Date: October 1, 1996

Next ARC-PA Review: September 2025



4. Elon University

Initial Accreditation Date: September 2012

Next ARC-PA Review: September 2026



5. Gardner Webb University

Initial Accreditation Date: September 6, 2013

Next ARC-PA Review: March 2028



6. High Point University

Initial Accreditation Date: September 6, 2014

Next ARC-PA Review: June 2029


7. Methodist University

Initial Accreditation Date: April 1, 1996

Next ARC-PA Review: September 2027



8. Pfeiffer University

Initial Accreditation Date: September 28, 2019

Next ARC-PA Review: TBD


9. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Both Probational and Provisional)

Initial Accreditation Date: September 11, 2015

Next ARC-PA Review: Marcg 2022


10. Wake Forest University (Bowman Gray) (D)

Initial Accreditation Date: September 1, 1972

Next ARC-PA Review: September 2022


wake forest

11. Wingate University (D)

Initial Accreditation Date: March 6, 2008

Next ARC-PA Review: September 2024




Read about the potentials for PAs in Durham, part of the research triangle in NC.