The Physician Assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA).  Graduates of accredited programs are eligible to take the national certifying examination offered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).  Most states require certification in order to practice.


1.  Maintain First Time Pass Rate on PANCE above the national average.
2.  Seventy-five percent of graduates will have permanent employment within four months of graduation.
3. The percentage of new graduates who practice in primary care will be above the national average.


The Shenandoah University Physician Assistant Program is proud of its students’ performance on the national certification examination (PANCE).  Our pass rate has been consistently above the national rate.  While candidates are encouraged to compare first-time taker pass rates between programs, one should recognize that there are many factors beyond the graduate’s program of study that may impact certification examination performance and pass rates.  The factors include size of the PA Program, commitment to enrolling candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds and personal factors related to the graduate at the time of testing.

The table below represents the performance of the Shenandoah University PA graduates for the past five years.  As of April 2014, the SU PA Program has graduated 307 students over eleven years and 306 have taken the national certifying examination.*  The Program’s overall pass rate for eleven years is 100% and 98% for first-time takers.

*One student was accepted into a family medicine residency program at graduation and elected not to take the PANCE.

 NCCPA Pass Report 2009-2013 (PDF)



Number of 1st
Time Takers

Program First Time
Taker Pass Rate

National First Time Taker
Pass Rate for the Class Graduation Year

2009 2009 31 94% 92%
2010 2010 35 100% 94%
2011 2011 37 97% 91%
2012 2012 31 100% 93%
2013 2013 35 97% 94%

Five Year First Time Taker Average Pass Rate for Program:  98%

Five Year National First Time Taker Average:  93%

Outcomes Data

Class Year 2012 2013
Graduates 31 35
Graduates Employed* 92%
Graduates Employed
In Primary Care**National Average

*Within 4-6 months after graduation. **Of those employed within the 4-6 months after graduation. 


Class Year






Entering Class Size 38 37 42 42 42
Attrition 5 8 10 5 5
     Leave of Absence 1 0 1 1 1
     Deceleration 1 4 2 1 0
     Withdrawals/Dismissals 3 4 7 3 5
Joining from Previous Class 4 2 3 3 2
Graduates 37 31 35
Anticipated Graduates 40 38


Attrition:  Reduction in students.
Deceleration:  Students who do not meet the academic program requirements and are allowed to join another cohort.
Leave of Absense:  Students who take a leave of absence for medical or personal reasons with approval to join another cohort at a later date.
Withdrawals:  Students who leave the program for various, non-academic reasons.
Dismissals:  Students who are asked to leave the program for academic reasons.