Northern Arizona University’s physician assistant program, which enrolled its first class in August 2012, has recently received an Accreditation-Continued status from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

The accreditation is vital for graduates, who must hold a degree from an accredited institution to become licensed to practice.

“The awarding of the 10-year continuing accreditation status to the newly developed physician assistant program is the culmination of nearly five years of hard work by the faculty and staff and NAU leadership,” said Richard Dehn, chair of the department of physician assistant studies at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. “It exemplifies the successful outcomes of the first two graduating cohorts of students.”

Dehn added that the program will continue to make a significant contribution to Arizona’s health care workforce. NAU is the only public institution in the state to offer a physician assistant degree program at the graduate level. This year, nearly 700 people applied for 50 slots in the program.

The program was granted Accreditation-Provisional status when it began and earned the Accreditation-Continued status based on a site visit in addition to the program’s application materials and accreditation history.

“The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Northern Arizona University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Northern Arizona University,” the commission said in a statement. “Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards. Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2025. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.”