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Continuing Medical Education Requirements For Physicians

Continuing medical education (CME) offers licensed physicians the opportunity to expand their skill sets. The medical field is constantly evolving, developing new techniques, and incorporating new technology into solutions. These changes make it important to stay on top of medical innovations and new treatment therapies.


Meeting CME requirements, however, isn’t just a useful way to boost a career and increase knowledge; it’s important to meet these requirements to retain medical licenses.


CME Category Requirements For Licensed Physicians


What Are CME Category 1 Credits?


There are specific parameters that Continued Medical Education for physicians needs to meet. These requirements vary by state. Most states, however, require CME hours to fall into CATEGORY 1 CME.


Category 1 demands that a course or activity meet the standards of an organization that specializes in measuring CME credits and participation.


These credits will be awarded if there is clear educational value in the course or activity and the physician passes the minimum performance requirement. Of the guiding organizations, the American Medical Association (AMA) is at the forefront.


An AMA credit must meet the standards of the Physician’s Recognition Award and have been certified to be an academically rigorous course or activity.


Many states require CRE credit to qualify as AMA PRA Category 1. However, there are other organizations that provide Category 1 credit. These include:

  1. American Osteopathic Association CME (AOA)
  2. American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
  3. Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)

Make sure to follow the guidelines of your state.


How To Find & Take CME Courses


The need for course hours to maintain your medical license and further your skills doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money or time on the courses. There are many CME courses that are available for free or at low cost.


You can also choose work CME requirements into your day by listening to audio programs or reading online course materials. Choosing either of these options will help you tailor your education to your schedule and avoid travel costs to attend courses or conferences.


The ACCME has a tool that will help you find a CME provider near you.


It’s also possible to gain CME credit from more creative activities outside an accredited source. Here are some additional ways to earn Category I credit.


What Is CME Category 2?


Some states only require that a portion of their CME credits be fulfilled by Category 1 education. Many education opportunities fall under Category 2, and can count toward a physician’s licensing requirements.


Category 2 activities are determined by the physician and are self-reported, allowing much more flexibility with how they achieve their CME goals. This can include educational activities such as:


  • medical writing
  • unstructured online study
  • teaching other healthcare professionals
  • and more


As long as they’re a worthwhile and relevant learning experience, and meet the necessary AMA criteria, these pursuits can contribute to Category 2 accreditation.


Documentation depends on state requirements, so it’s important to be aware of this as you keep track of your Category 2 activities.


The CME Benefit 


Whether you’re completing your residency or working locum tenens full-time, continuing your medical education keeps you licensed and at the top of your game. Now that you know where to start, you’re ready to advance your career  by strengthening your occupational knowledge.





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