Medical Assistant Requirements to Practice in Ohio


A medical assistant, or physician assistant, in Ohio administers professional medical services to patients while under the direct supervision of a state-licensed physician in a health care facility. To work as a physician assistant in Ohio, you must first obtain certification from the State Medical Board. Ohio certification requires completion of a qualifying master’s degree program and a valid certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Additionally, after an Ohio certification has been issued and before you begin work, you must submit a supervision agreement that formalizes your employment under a licensed physician. (References 1)

Pre-License Education

Licensure requires a master’s degree or higher from an educational program approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). In limited cases, you may be able to meet alternative education requirements. These cases are detailed in the certification application packet. To view a list of properly accredited physician assistant programs, visit the ARC-PA website (see Resources).

NCCPA Certification

To qualify for Ohio certification, you must hold a valid certification from the NCCPA, a national credentialing institution for physician assistants. NCCPA certification requires a passing score on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PENSE). The PENSE exam evaluates competency in basic medical and surgical topics. It is administered as a multiple-choice test. To download an exam authorization application and to access detailed descriptions of exam policies and procedures, visit the NCCPA website and access the PENSE exam web page (see Resources).

Ohio Certification

Once you have completed your education and obtained NCCPA certification, download an Ohio certification application from the State Medical Board website (see Resources). In addition to documentary proof of your training, you are required to submit written recommendations from two individuals who can personally attest to your moral character. At least one of these individuals must be a licensed medical practitioner. You are also required to submit your fingerprints to the medical board for a criminal background check. Typically, certification applications are approved within 12 weeks. Upon approval of your application, a certificate to practice as a physician assistant will be issued to you. However, you will not be able to begin work until you have obtained approval of your supervision agreement from the medical board.

Supervision Agreement

After finding employment as a physician assistant, the working relationship between yourself and your supervising physician must be formalized by completing a supervision agreement and a supervisory plan. Though it is the supervising physician’s legal responsibility, you will participate in the formation of the agreement. After board approval, you may begin practicing as a physician assistant.

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