NCCPA Certificate of Added Qualification Receives Formal Endorsement

Friday, July 19, 2013

Credential recognizes additional experience and expertise of physician assistants in seven specialties.

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) has received a formal endorsement from the Association of PAs in Psychiatry (APAP) for its certificate of added qualification (CAQ) in psychiatry. The CAQ credential requires PAs to demonstrate they have advanced knowledge and experience in psychiatry beyond what is expected of PAs working in a generalist practice. 

The APAP Board of Directors formally endorsed the CAQ in a statement that reads in part:The Association of PAs in Psychiatry (APAP) endorses the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) certificate of added qualifications (CAQ) in psychiatry as an appropriate measure of knowledge and an effective way to document experience in psychiatry for PAs practicing in that specialty. APAP further believes that the availability of this psychiatry-specific credential may help PAs make inroads in addressing reimbursement and employability challenges, thereby increasing patient access to the care provided by qualified PAs in this critical healthcare area. Therefore, APAP encourages its members and other qualified PAs to obtain a CAQ in psychiatry.”

“We are proud that APAP sees the immense value of the CAQ in psychiatry as a way for certified physician assistants to further distinguish themselves in terms of experience,” says Pamela M. Dean, MBA, Chief Operating Officer and acting CEO of NCCPA. “The CAQ credential paves the way for psychiatry PAs to be reimbursed for the important services they perform.”

APAP’s formal endorsement follows a similar endorsement issued in late 2012 from the Society of Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants.

NCCPA currently offers CAQ credentials in five specialties: psychiatry, emergency medicine, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, nephrology, and orthopedic surgery. Beginning in 2014, two additional CAQ credentials will be conferred in hospital medicine and pediatrics. 

Certified PAs qualify for a CAQ in their fields by fulfilling licensure, education and experience requirements and passing a specialty exam. The exam, offered once a year, will be conducted next Sept. 9, 2013.

Details are available at