Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) is the accrediting agency that protects the interests of the public and 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.
The ARC-PA is an independent accrediting body authorized to accredit qualified PA educational programs leading to the professional credential, Physician Assistant (PA). Accreditation is a process of quality assurance that determines whether the program meets established standards for function, structure and performance. The ARC-PA does not accredit any academic degree awarded by the sponsoring institution of the PA program.
The ARC-PA encourages excellence in PA education through its accreditation process by establishing and maintaining standards of quality for educational programs. It awards accreditation to programs through a peer review process that includes documentation and periodic site visit evaluation to substantiate compliance with the Accreditation Standards for Physician Assistant Education. The accreditation process is designed to encourage sound educational practices and innovation by programs and to stimulate continuous self-study and improvement.
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In addition to establishing educational standards and fostering excellence in PA programs, the ARC-PA provides information and guidance to individuals and organizations regarding PA program accreditation.
The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and the Physician Assistant Education Association (formerly the Association of Physician Assistant Programs) all cooperate with the ARC-PA as collaborating organizations to establish, maintain, and promote appropriate standards of quality for entry level education of physician assistants (PAs) and to provide recognition for educational programs that meet the minimum requirements outlined in these Standards. These Standards are to be used for the development, evaluation, and self-analysis of physician assistant programs.