International Medical Program


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By law, all international medical school graduates who seek to be licensed in California as a physician assistant must:

(1) successfully complete a Board approved physician assistant training program; and
(2) pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). (Reference: Business and Professions Code, Section 3519).

For your convenience, attached is a list of approved training programs. This list contains the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all Board approved physician assistant training programs. It is our understanding that some of these programs may allow portions of their curriculum to be challenged by applicants with medical education and experience gained in other countries.

Only graduates of approved physician assistant programs are allowed to sit for the PANCE. For further information regarding the PANCE, please contact the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants at (678) 417-8100 or

International medical graduates may wish to consider employment in some other health care provider category that does not require licensure, such as a medical assistant, while pursuing physician assistant licensure. Information concerning requirements to work as a medical assistant may be obtained by contacting the Medical Board of California at (916) 263-2344.

You may also wish to consider contacting the Welcome Back Program. This program works with international medical graduates to facilitate their re-entry into the health care delivery system, in some capacity. Welcome Back works with program participants to assess their education, skills, and to identify alternative health professions that they may be suited for. You may contact the Welcome Back Program at: (415) 561-1833 in San Francisco, website: Or (619) 409-6417 in San Diego/Imperial, website:

Note: This document does not purport to be an exhaustive analysis of laws relating to physician assistants. This is not a declaratory opinion of the Physician Assistant Board.