Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc (ARC-PA)

Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc standards constitutes all the possible requirements for an institution with Physician Assistant programs to get accredited. Learn more about the requirements and processes in receiving the Accreditation.

TCM Staff

15th February 2020

Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc (ARC-PA)

The accreditation review commission o education for the physician assistant helps in protecting the interests of the public y helping them design the standards of physician assistant education, and comparing the programs with the US territory to ensure the efficiency of the programs.

Accreditation is the peer review process that happens in the external environment. If any given program meets the standards set by the non-governmental voluntary organizations, then the program is accredited by the given organization. Initial and subsequent periodic evaluations, are used to recognize the matching standards of the organization.  


Only qualified pa programs, get an accreditation. Accreditation by the ARC-PA leads to the attainment of the professional physician assistant credential. For the program to meet standards of function, structure, and performance, accreditation is granted. Documentation, periodic visit, and review of the suggestions made by the accrediting council are essential in granting proper accreditation.

Encouragement of sound educational practices, programmatic innovation, and, simulation of a self-study environment leads to the betterment of the accreditation process. Information and guidance are provided to individuals and organizations regarding programmatic accreditation.

To encourage sound educational practices and encouragement, along with sound educational practices, the arc-pa plays the main role. Development, evaluation, and self-analysis of physician assistant programs help in setting these standards.

The council for higher education accreditation recognizes the ARC-PA. A few of the organizations that the arc-pa has connections include physician assistant education association, American Academy of physician assistants, American college of surgeons, American medical association, American Academy of family physicians and many more. 

Types of accreditation under Arc-pa

The accrediting organization recognizes the following type of accreditation. They are as given below.

  • Provisional accreditation

  • Continued accreditation

  • Clinical post-graduate program

  • Probation accreditation

  • Administrative probation accreditation

  • Withheld accreditation

  • Withdrawn accreditation

  • Voluntary inactive status and many more

Provisional accreditation

Provisional accreditation is granted when the quality cannot fully be analyzed as the first set of students for graduation cannot be analyzed. It is valid only for a maximum duration of five years.

Continued accreditation

Continued accreditation status is guaranteed when the accredited program meets the established accreditation standards of the arc-pa.

Accreditation –Clinical Post Graduate program

When a new or currently accredited post-graduate program has standard matching with the standards of the arc-pa, then the accreditation said to fall under the clinical post-graduate category.

Accreditation probation

Once the program loses its standard or quality of imparting knowledge, then the accreditation received by the institution is placed under the reconsideration phase. It is during this phase that the program has to improve its standards within the notice period, usually two years.

Administrative probation accreditation

When a program does not meet the administrative requirement such as failure in, paying the fee or report submission then the accreditation of the program is placed under the administrative probation category.

Accreditation with-held

Accreditation is withheld if the clinical post-graduate accreditation is not in compliance with the established standards. Accreditation may be voluntarily withdrawn within a 30-day appeal frame.

Accreditation withdrawn

When an accredited institution has failed to voluntarily or involuntarily meet the accreditation standards are to be ensured then the accreditation is said to be withdrawn. Accreditation can be voluntarily withdrawn within a 30-day appeal frame.

Voluntary inactive status is granted to those institutions, whose instruction is temporarily suspended and students can no longer be matriculated.

Physician Assistant ProgramSource: Pinterest

Types of visits scheduled by the arc-pa

Depending upon the accreditation status different types of visits can be scheduled by the arc-pa. The different types of visits are as given below.

Validation visits – For programs with accreditation continued status validation visits are scheduled. The programs demonstration of the quick oversight of the processes and the programmatic evaluation is performed during the validation visit.

Focused visits – In response to any special concern of the accredited institution a focused visit is done as the name suggests.

Within 6 to twelve months of student’s matriculation, an initial provisional visit is scheduled. The second provisional visit is performed within the graduation of the first batch of students. The final provisional visit is scheduled within 18-24 months after the second provisional visit.

For those programs with plans to extend to a distance campus location, a provisional visit is scheduled at the distance campus location. For programs with a probation status, probation visits are conducted towards the end of the probation period.

ARC-PA Accredited Institutions

A few of the ARC-PA accredited institutions are as given below.

Name of the Institution
University of Washington University of North Dacota
University of Wisconsin - Madison Sacred Heart University
University of Detroit Mercy University of Nebraska, Medical Center
University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley A. T Still University of Health Sciences
Stony Brook University Nova South Eastern University
Pace University Yale University


Why be accredited by the ARC-PA?

The philosophy of the association is to provide high-quality education for all physical assistants in-order to serve the interest of public and PA profession. To improve the quality of content and education, continual self-study is formed. The accreditation should be voluntary, private and non-governmental. It should encourage efforts for maximum educational effectiveness.

The accreditation must be based on mutual trust between all the parties involved. Conflict of interest should be prevented. The identity of the organization is derived from history, other organization involvement, collaboration, and PA profession.

The role of the accrediting standard is to establish educational standards using broad inputs. For the comprehensive review of applicant programs, the process of learning is administered.

A uniform national standard for accreditation is established by the institution. The accreditation process facilitates continuous self-study and review. By providing assurance to the public, professional, educational and licensing agencies, the accrediting association makes sure that the educational standards for the general public are ensured.

Importance of physician assistantSource: Somee Cards

Individuals, groups and organizations receive information regarding PA program accreditation from the ARC-PA.

Considering the effective outcomes of the ARC-PA accreditation, students who are planning to become a physician assistant must choose a program which is accredited by the ARC-PA. 

Blogs you might be interested in 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.What is the relationship between ARC-PA and AAPA?

    AAPA -American Academy of Physician Assistants is one of the collaborating organizations of the ARC-PA.

  • 2.What is the relationship of the ARC-PA to the PAEA?

    The Physician Assistants Education Association nominates members to serve as commissioners of ARC-PA. The PAEA is another collaborating organization of the ARC-PA.

  • 3.What are the other programs accredited by the ARC-PA?

    The ARC-PA accredits only physician assistant programs.

  • 4.Are post-graduate programs accredited by the ARC-PA?

    Only Physician Assistant Programs that open up a provision for entry into the PA-profession is accredited by the ARC-PA. Clinical Postgraduate Programs are also accredited by the ARC-PA.

  • 5.What are the basic functions of a physician assistant?

    A physician assistant plays a major role in patient care and takes responsibilities in administrative, research, and, educational activities.

  • 6.What are the subjects in the PA curriculum?

    Subjects that are included in the PA curriculum include medical science, behavioral science, social science, clinical medicine, patient assessment, clinical practice, health policy, professional practical issue and more.

Recent Articles

How to get the highest possible ACT score: A complete guide

Do College Credits Expire ? : College Credit Guide [2024]

What Is a Good SAT Score?

How to Get a Scholarship in 6 Easy Steps?

Undergraduate vs Graduate: What Is the Difference?

Time Management for College Students: 8 Helpful Tips