Accreditation Status and Program Response

For an overview of our accreditation status please read our​ PA Progra​m Accreditation Update​​ and read both sections below. The first is notification of a change in accreditation status and the second is an important program response to this change.

Change in Accreditation Status

At its March 2014 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has placed the Central Michigan University Physician Assistant program sponsored by Central Michigan University ​on Accreditation - Probation until its next comprehensive review in March 2016.

Probation is a temporary status of accreditation limited to two years and conferred when a program does not meet the Standards and when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.

Once placed on probation, a program that still fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC–PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and/or risk having their accreditation withdrawn.

Specific questions regarding the program and its plans should be directed to the new PA Program Director, Jessica Gardon Rose (​) and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).

For more information concerning the program’s accreditation status, please review our 
What does this mean for CMU?

Central Michigan University’s PA Program remains accredited.  The probationary status is a temporary decision (within the status of being accredited), which will give the program time over the next two years to address cited issues of concern and to ready for review in March 2016.  To learn more about what this accreditation report means for current and prospective students, please review our PA Program Accreditation Updat​e.

What has occurred?

Our PA program is a professionally accredited program.  This means that it is part of a quality management review program where it (and other programs across the country) is evaluated by an external organization to determine if applicable and consistent standards are being met.

The accrediting body for the PA program is The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant or ARC–PA (  The ARC–PA teams of accreditors regularly visit and monitor programs to ensure ongoing quality and suggestions of areas for improvement.  Following the most recent review by the ARC–PA in March 2014, a temporary accreditation - probationary designation was assigned to the program for the next two years.

Will I be able to take the PANCE when I graduate from CMU's PA Program?

To be eligible to pursue taking the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), one must have graduated from "a program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) as a Physician Assistant Program. PA program graduates will be deemed to have graduated from an accredited program if their PA educational program was accredited at the time of their matriculation" (, para. 3, 11.18.14). This policy is supported by the ARC-PA, which notes that student applicants enrolling into "a program that is on probation are entering a program that is accredited" (, para. 6, 11.18.14)

Institutional Response to Change in Accreditation Status

  • The ARC-PA's decision is of great concern.  We are clearly disappointed in this change in our accreditation status as we were accredited for the past seven years; however, we will use this review as an opportunity to improve the program in order to best meet the needs of our students, our alumni, and the medical community.  
  • The CMU PA team is working diligently to maintain a robust and successful program that will evolve to address the needs in a changing health care environment.  Although the program is on temporary probation, it still is fully accredited.  Most of the issues cited are administrative in nature and we are confident that we will meet the requirements for permanent accreditation during the next review in March 2016.
  • ​Central Michigan University’s Masters in Science Physician Assistant Program remains a strong and vibrant educational program that educates outstanding PAs.  We celebrate our markedly low attrition rate, taking pride that almost all our students graduate to pursue enriching careers.  Furthermore, our graduating class of 2013 had an 88% first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and a 98-100% first-time pass rate for the prior four years.  All indications point to the class of 2014 experiencing similar success with the PANCE exam, and many of these students have already been extended clinical position offers.  
  • The primary reasons for the probationary status revolve about administrative policies and processes for self-assessment including the implementation of continuous quality improvement processes.  In particular, ARC-PA focused its critique on inadequate analysis of data on program and student success, and use of these data for evidence-based improvements in the curriculum and program.  We acknowledge th​at we can substantially improve in this area and have focused our efforts to meet and exceed accreditation requirements and to maintain our reputation as a top PA education program in the country.
Who can I contact for more information or to answer questions?

Visit the ARC-PA Frequently Asked Questions webpage at and our PA Program accreditation page at for the latest updates.  You may also contact the new PA Program Director/Professor, Jessica Gardon Rose at or (989) 774-1273. ​​

​[Updated March 27, 2014, April 11, 2014​, November 19, 2014​]

ARC-PA is an independent accrediting body overseen by a board composed of representatives of five physician organizations as well as commissioners from the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).​​​PA Program Accreditation Update