Frequently Asked Questions
Programs and Prospective Programs
(updated 7.2011, for entry-level programs. Information related to clinical postgraduate PA programs is available on the Postgraduate Programs page of this site.)
Fees and Dues
- When are the ARC-PA dues billed?
- What are the ARC-PA annual accreditation fees? Will my program have to pay more during the year we are site visited?
- Do I send a check with my application for accreditation? Do you accept credit cards?
- How do we start a PA program and have it accredited?
- I am working on completing our accreditation application. Who should I contact with questions about how to complete the application?
- Can a program accept students prior to being accredited?
- What do I put in the Descriptive Report?
- I am writing the Descriptive report as part of the accreditation for provisional accreditation.
- What do I put in the Needs Assessment required for Provisional accreditation?
- How do I schedule my site visit?
- I need to change the date / delay the date of my site visit. What should I do?
- When will the ARC-PA act on our report that was due?
- Our program is working on rewriting our instructional objectives. Do you have any suggestions for us?
ARC-PA dues are billed yearly in November and are payable within 45 days of the date of invoice. Bills are sent directly to the accredited PA program, to the attention of the program director, at the address listed as the official program address with the ARC-PA. All fees should be made payable to the Accreditation Review Committee on Education for the Physician Assistant and should be accompanied by a letter confirming the payment, date and check number. The ARC-PA does not accept credit cards.
What are the ARC-PA annual accreditation fees? Will my program have to pay more during the year we are site visited?
Programs seeking provisional accreditation pay a fee and are also responsible for paying for the costs of the site visit. Accredited programs currently pay an annual accreditation fee. During the year of a program’s site visit for continuing accreditation, the program pays an additional fee. Fees are scheduled in increase incrementally. Click here for more specific information on fees.
Programs applying for provisional or continuing accreditation will be invoiced for their fees and expenses. The ARC-PA does not accept credit cards.
Institutions investigating starting a PA program should review the Provisional section of this web site and contact the ARC-PA for more information. .
I am working on completing our accreditation application. Who should I contact with questions about how to complete the application?
Questions about completing the application for accreditation should be addressed to John McCarty, Executive Director, at the ARC-PA national office (770-476-1224).
Provisional accreditation is granted for a limited period of time to a new program that has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the Standards. The provisional accreditation process involves a thorough review of the planning, organization, and proposed content of a program that is in the advanced planning stages, but not yet operational. Programs pursing accreditation should not matriculate students until they have had their initial provisional site visit. In addition, prior to achieving provisional accreditation, the program must agree to inform, in writing, everyone who requests information, applies, or plans to enroll that the program is not yet accredited and must convey the implications of non-accreditation to applicants.
The Descriptive Report is a required appendix of the application for programs seeking provisional accreditation. As part of the application for provisional accreditation, the ARC-PA describes the required components and format for the Descriptive Report which is found in Appendix 13 of the provisional accreditation application.
The program must submit an executive summary of its needs assessment as one of the application appendices. (The completed needs assessment and supporting documents should be available for the visit.) The ARC-PA does not prescribe the format for this document. It should, however include information detailing the activities that occurred prior to the decision to pursue the development of a physician assistant program, information on who was involved in the process, how the process was conducted, and a summary of the results and how the results were analyzed and communicated.
The ARC-PA maintains a record on each accredited program and will contact programs to schedule their next visit for continuing accreditation 12-18 months before the approximate date of the visit. To schedule a provisional site visit by the ARC-PA the program director should contact Mr. John McCarty, executive director of the ARC-PA at 770-476-1224.
Those needing to change the date for a scheduled site visit should contact the ARC-PA executive director with such a request as soon as such a need is known. The ARC-PA will make every effort to accommodate the program’s need. Due to the fact that site visitors are volunteers and that the scheduling of site visits is a complex process, programs changing the dates of their visit after they have been confirmed will likely lose flexibility in rescheduling in terms of dates. In addition, programs requesting such changes may incur charges related to the changing of travel plans. Also, programs that cancel their site visit evaluation within sixty (60) days of their scheduled visit will be responsible for any and all non-refundable expenses associated with the visit that have been incurred by the ARC-PA.
The Self-Study Report is a required part of the application for programs seeking continuing accreditation. Appendix 13 of the application for continuing accreditation describes the required components and format for the Self-Study Report.
The process of self analysis is an ongoing one and the report only captures a particular period of time. Data templates and directions in the Self Study Report form typically require information from a 3-4 year time..
The ARC-PA requests that reports from programs be submitted at various times throughout the year, to allow the ARC-PA commissioners adequate time to review materials submitted by the programs. The ARC-PA meets twice yearly, in March and September. Actions on program accreditation and on most interim reports due from programs are taken at those times. Occasionally the ARC-PA can take actions via mail or conference call, at times other than regularly scheduled meetings.
Our program is working on rewriting our instructional objectives. Do you have any suggestions for us?
The ARC-PA recognizes that writing instructional objectives that effectively guide student learning is no easy task. The ARC-PA has developed a guide that may be of help to you in developing your syllabi and objectives, describing competencies, and writing syllabi. PAEA also has information on writing instructional objectives available on their web site.