Permanent Alternative to PANRE

PAs play an essential role in the healthcare system by providing various medical services to patients. They are an integral part of the healthcare team and contribute to enhancing access to high-quality care. PAs must keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date to ensure that their patients get the best care possible. In response to this, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) developed the PANRE-Longitudinal Assessment® (PANRE-LA®), a new option along with the traditional PANRE for recertification.

The PANRE-LA carefully checks a PA's ongoing knowledge and skills to make sure they stay clinically competent throughout their career. The PANRE-LA, in contrast to the traditional PANRE, evaluates a PA's knowledge and skills over time, providing a more comprehensive assessment of their expertise. Continue reading for a detailed overview of the PANRE-LA, including its structure, eligibility criteria, and cost.

Why Do Some PAs Prefer the PANRE-LA?

According to NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D., PA-C, “The PANRE-LA process helps PAs identify and close knowledge gaps. It reduces the stress and anxiety that come with taking a test. PAs don’t have to schedule time away from work to travel to test centers and can take the exam at their convenience”

The purpose of the PANRE-LA is to help PAs find and fill any gaps in their core medical knowledge. It also aims to reduce the stress and anxiety of taking a traditional exam and give PAs the freedom to take it when it's most convenient. The NCCPA expects that only a small percentage of PAs will fail the PANRE-LA.

The PANRE-LA is available for PAs who are currently certified and seeking recertification. It is not available for PAs seeking certification.

Benefits of taking the PANRE-LA

The PANRE-LA provides several benefits to PAs seeking recertification.

Some benefits are listed below:

  1. Helps PAs maintain clinical competency
  2. Reduces standardized testing anxiety
  3. Outside resources can be used while completing questions
  4. PAs can complete questions on their own time
  5. Answering all 25 questions per quarter will earn two Category 1 Self-Assessment CME credits

PANRE-LA Exam Eligibility

Certified PAs now have the option to choose the PANRE-LA as their recertification exam process. Those scheduled for recertification in 2024, 2025, and 2026 can apply for the PANRE-LA administration that commenced in January 2023.

When to take the PANRE-LA for PA recertification

To complete the PANRE-LA before your certification expires, you should start the application process in the 6th year of your certification maintenance cycle. The PANRE-LA questions are administered in years 7-9, so planning and ensuring you are on track to complete the process before your certification expires is vital. You can find more information about the PANRE-LA and how to start the process on the NCCPA website.

Year 6
July - Nov
Year 7
Year 8
Year 9
Year 10
PANRE if Needed
(up to 3 times)
2024 - 2025 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026*
2026 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
2027 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027
2028 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028
2029 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029

How to Apply for the PANRE-LA

To apply for the PANRE-LA, you must meet the eligibility requirements. This includes being a certified Physician Assistant (PA) and being in the sixth year of your certification maintenance cycle. You can begin the application process once you have confirmed your eligibility.

The PANRE-LA application process generally entails completing an online application and paying the required fees. A current email address is required for the PANRE-LA because the NCCPA will use it to communicate important information regarding the exam process. Having an updated email address also ensures that PAs receive the most up-to-date information and reduces the chances of missing important updates.

PANRE-LA exam cost

The fee for PANRE-LA is the same as that for PANRE, $350.00. The fee must be submitted for the application to be processed.

PANRE-LA Exam Format and Structure

The exam is administered online, and PAs can take it at their convenience without the need for travel or time away from work. PANRE-LA questions are written like proctored PANRE questions – multiple choice with 5 answer options. But with PANRE-LA, you’ll receive immediate feedback on each question. You’ll see the correct answer, an answer explanation, and resources that support the explanation.

PANRE-LA Blueprint

The blueprint content categories are covered throughout the 12 quarters. However, PAs will be informed of the next question's content category and whether it contains an image before it is asked. This way, PAs can choose whether to open the question to complete it, put it off until later in the quarter so they can review information on that content area, or wait to open the question because they want to view an image on a device with a bigger screen.

Use the PANRE-LA blueprint for the topics, performance expectations, and percentage allocations.

How many questions are on the PANRE-LA?

The PANRE-LA is administered over 12 quarters, and PAs are scored on eight quarters of questions. Each quarter, 25 questions are administered, with a 5-minute time limit. After answering each question, PAs will get immediate feedback on the answers. They will also have access to a rationale that explains why the correct answer is correct and why the other options are incorrect. If PAs want to study the content of a question further, they will be given references. In addition, it is recommended that PAs utilize a comprehensive study guide that covers the blueprint content categories to prepare effectively for the PANRE-LA.

Use the UWorld’ PA study guide to ensure you pass your exam easily.

PANRE-LA quarter requirements

PAs must participate in at least one-quarter of the PANRE-LA process during the first and second years. PAs who don’t meet this minimum participation requirement will be withdrawn and lose all access to PANRE-LA content and information. The PANRE-LA score will be based on eight quarters' worth of exam questions. Aside from these requirements, PAs can select the quarters they wish to participate in; however, they are strongly encouraged to participate in as many quarters as possible early in the process to increase their chances of achieving a passing score.

How Is the PANRE-LA Scored?

The grading scale for the PANRE-LA, similar to the proctored PANRE, considers the relative difficulty of the questions assigned to each PA. In other words, the passing standard is not tied to a set raw score or percent correct—it will differ for each participant depending on the questions they receive. Questions which were missed in previous quarters may appear in subsequent quarters to help check for understanding and close knowledge gaps. Your final grade will be based on how well you did over eight to twelve quarters.

How do I know if I passed the PANRE-LA?

After each quarter, PAs will receive information on their performance. After participating in eight quarters, PAs who have met or exceeded the passing standard will receive notification that they have passed and have completed their recertification exam requirement. PAs who have not met the passing standard after eight quarters can continue participating in the PANRE-LA process until the end of the three-year process. After each subsequent quarter, scores will be recalculated using only the responses from the best eight quarters to determine if the passing standard has been met, and PAs will be notified when they have passed. This process allows PAs to continue closing their knowledge gaps and improve their performance.

PANRE-LA pass rate

Over 18,000 PAs participated in the “Pilot Alternative to PANRE” in 2019–2020. Over 98% of PAs continued the process for two years, and 97.5% passed.

What happens if I fail the PANRE-LA?

PAs who fail the PANRE-LA will have up to three opportunities to take and pass the traditional PANRE in years 9-10 of the certification maintenance cycle before their certification expires.

Frequently Asked Questions

The PANRE-LA is an alternative recertification process for PAs in the United States, NCCPA, as of 2019. It involves completing shorter, low-stakes assessments more frequently throughout a PA’s certification cycle rather than taking a high-stakes exam every ten years. This provides PAs with more flexibility, convenience, and relevance to their clinical practice while maintaining the high standards of the PA profession.
The PANRE is a proctored exam administered at a Pearson VUE test center for five hours. It consists of four hours of testing, a 45-minute break, and 15 minutes to review the tutorial. PAs complete the exam in one scheduled appointment and usually receive their results within two weeks. Alternatively, the PANRE-LA is an online exam that allows PAs to log in and out of the test at their convenience. PAs must participate in at least eight out of 12 quarters. The PANRE-LA provides PAs with five minutes per question and allows the use of printed or online reference materials. However, consultation with others on exam content is prohibited.
No, you cannot take both the PANRE and the PANRE-LA. The PANRE-LA exam is an alternative to the traditional PANRE exam and is intended to be taken instead of the PANRE for recertification purposes. PAs must choose either the PANRE or the PANRE-LA as their method of recertification and cannot take both exams.
To register for the exam, you must meet the eligibility requirements set by the NCCPA. Registration for the PANRE-LA is open throughout the year. You can schedule your exam at a time and location that is most convenient for you, using the exam delivery system that is compatible with various devices such as laptops, tablets, and cell phones.
To prepare for the PANRE-LA, review the exam blueprint, create a study plan, and take practice exams. UWorld’s PA QBank is a valuable resource with over 2,000+ practice questions with detailed explanations and integrated learning tools to help you retain information faster. The PA QBank questions provide detailed explanations and cover the exam’s content blueprint. The questions are designed to challenge your knowledge and problem-solving abilities.
The PANRE-LA does not have a specific passing score. Instead, the scale scores reflect the participant’s performance and the relative difficulty of the questions they answer. Cumulative performance feedback is given quarterly, and it should be noted that the passing standard for the PANRE-LA is not based on a specific raw score. The final score, based on the best 8 out of 12 quarters, is used to evaluate the participant’s overall performance.
No, PAs seeking to regain certification are not eligible to take the PANRE-LA and will need to take the PANRE to regain certification.
Scroll to Top