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Graduate Performance on the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam® (PANCE)

The Pitt PAS program prepares you to sit for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) PANCE exam.

From day one, our faculty are invested in each of our students becoming certified physician assistants. Throughout the two-year program, faculty continually assess areas of improvement for passing the exam and implement curriculum changes as needed. Student support includes tutoring for both didactic and clinical students and adaptations to different learning styles. Additionally, one-on-one dialogues and anonymous surveys offer regular points of feedback between students and faculty to ensure support is available and learn how improvements can be made.

See how our most recent graduates performed by accessing our NCCPA PANCE Exam Performance Summary Report (Last 5 Years) - Updated March 21, 2024.  

Student Attrition and Graduation Rates

Our most current information is provided here: ARC-PA Attrition Table - Updated March 18, 2024.

Program Competencies/Program Learning Outcomes

At Pitt, we prepare the next generation of providers willing to push the envelope and adapt to industry changes. The Physician Assistant Studies Program curriculum is consistent with the following competencies/program learning outcomes, which were adapted from the Core Competencies for New Physician Assistant Graduates established by the Physician Assistant Education Association. At the completion of our Program, our graduates have demonstrated their ability to:

Patient-Centered Practice Knowledge

  1. Gather clinical information, formulate differential diagnoses, order and interpret laboratory and imaging, perform necessary core duty procedures, and diagnose, prevent, treat and manage illness among acute, chronic and emerging disease states
  2. Integrate into practice appropriate literature to make evidence-based decisions on patient care

Society and Population Health

  1. Integrate into practice the cultural norms, needs, influences and socioeconomic, environmental, physiological and other population-level determinants affecting the health of the individual and community being served
  2. Integrate into practice the interventions that diminish health disparities involving race or ethnicity, sex, sexual identity, age, disability, socioeconomic status and geographic location involving the individual patient and the community being served
  3. Integrate into practice basic principles of public health including epidemiology, disease prevention, surveillance, reporting and intervention. Provide appropriate referrals involving the public health system to ensure patient advocacy and in the maintenance of population health

Health Literacy and Communication

  1. Communicate effectively and respectfully with patients, families and other health care professionals

Interprofessional Collaborative Practice and Leadership

  1. Coordinate care to optimize the health of patients and populations

Professional and Legal Aspects of Health Care

  1. Provide standard-of-care practice while demonstrating respect for the dignity and privacy of patients
  2. Incorporate a personal wellness plan to prevent impairment and burnout
  3. Demonstrate professional accountability

Health Care Finance and Systems

  1. Differentiate the types of health care systems and health insurance coverage, including Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program
  2. Practice health care informed by an understanding of the financial implications to patients, organizations and society
  3. Recognize personal limitations and incorporate a quality improvement process designed to maximize patient safety, prevention of medical errors and incorporation of risk management


Certified Physician Assistants can work in any of the following settings and have the flexibility to move between areas:

  • Primary Care
    • Family Medicine
    • General Internal Medicine
    • General Pediatrics
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Internal Medicine Specialties and Subspecialties
    • Cardiology
    • Critical Care
    • Endocrinology
    • Gastrenterology
    • Hematology and Oncology
    • Infectious Disease
    • Nephrology
    • Neurology
    • Pulmonology
    • Rheumatology
  • Pediatric Subspecialties
  • Surgical Specialties and Subspecialties
    • Bariatric Surgery
    • Cardiovascular/Cardiothoracic Surgery
    • Colon & Rectal Surgery
    • Neurosurgery
    • Oncology Surgery
    • Orthopaedic Surgery
    • Otolaryngology
    • Pediatric Surgery
    • Plastic Surgery
    • Thoracic Surgery
    • Transplant Surgery
    • Trauma Surgery
    • Urology
    • Vascular Surgery
    • Other Surgical Subspecialties
  • Public Health
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Radiology
  • Urgent Care
  • Others