CME CME Guide Types of CME Credit

Types of CME Credit

2016-18 CME GUIDE

CME Guide outlines 4 categories of credit

Learn about requirements and processes for earning AOA continuing medical education.

NOTE: The following CME Policy Updates were placed in effect following publication of the 2016-18 AOA CME Guide.

  • The requirement that physicians earn 120 general CME credits per three-year CME cycle to maintain membership is no longer being enforced per a vote from the AOA Board of Trustees on July 21, 2016. The change was made to lessen the burden of required CME reporting for physicians.
  • If you’re AOA board certified, you must follow your specialty board’s CME requirements in order to maintain your board certification. Currently, AOA certification boards require physicians to earn 120-150 credits per CME cycle, with at least 50 of those credits in your specialty area. For details on requirements in your specialty, check with your certification board.
  • In the upcoming 2019-2021 CME cycle, physicians will be required to earn at least 60 specialty CME credits from AOA- or ACGME-accredited sponsors. Individual AOA certifying boards may implement additional requirements, including osteopathic-specific CME requirements. The AOA Board of Osteopathic Specialists is determining how this change will be implemented. Check with your certifying board for details on requirements in your specialty. Learn more in the Board of Trustees Resolution on CME for Osteopathic Continuous Certification, passed in March 2017.

From the CME Guide:

The AOA assigns CME credit to four categories: 1-A, 1-B, 2-A, and 2-B. Select an option below to view details for each category.

Category 1-A

AOA Category 1-A credits will be granted to attendees for formal educational programs designed to enhance clinical competence and improve patient care. These programs must be sponsored by an AOA accredited Category 1 CME sponsor and are limited to:

Formal Osteopathic CME

Consists of formal face-to-face programs or interactive online programs that meet the Category 1 quality guidelines, faculty requirements, and which are sponsored
by AOA-accredited Category 1 CME sponsors.

Topics must be related to any of the Seven Core Competencies listed below, as the core competencies have been recognized throughout the continuum of osteopathic education as essential and critical to the development and maintenance of osteopathic physicians’ overall education. The core competencies are as follows:

  • Osteopathic Philosophy/Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine: Demonstration and application of knowledge of accepted standards in osteopathic manipulative treatment appropriate to the specialty; dedication to life-long learning and to incorporating the practice of osteopathic philosophy and OMM in patient care.
  • Medical Knowledge: Demonstration and application of knowledge of accepted standards of clinical medicine in the respective area; remain current with new developments in medicine and participate in life-long learning.
  • Patient Care: Demonstrate the ability to effectively treat patients and provide medical care that incorporates the osteopathic philosophy, patient empathy, awareness of behavioral issues, the incorporation of preventive medicine and health promotion.
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills: Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that enable a physician to establish and maintain professional relationships with patients, families, and other members of health care teams.
  • Professionalism: Uphold the Osteopathic Oath in the conduct of one’s professional activities that promotes advocacy of patient welfare, adherence to ethical principles, and collaboration with health professionals, life-long learning, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population; be cognizant of physical and mental health in order to effectively care for patients.
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement: Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate methods of clinical practice, integrate evidence based medicine into patient care; show an understanding of research methods; improve patient
    care practices.
  • Systems-Based Practice: Demonstrate an understanding of health care delivery systems; provide effective and qualitative patient care within the system; and practice cost effective medicine.

Osteopathic Medical Teaching

Physicians who participate as lecturers in osteopathic medical education in a didactic format are eligible to receive Category 1-A credit for their participation. Credit is granted on an hour-for-hour basis. Methods of this education are limited to:

  • Formal delivery of osteopathic medical education lectures in colleges of osteopathic medicine, speaking at specialty and divisional society conferences.
  • Formal delivery of osteopathic medical education to students, interns, residents, fellows, and staff of AOA-accredited Category 1 CME Sponsors.
  • Teaching credit must be verified by the CME Department of an AOA-accredited Category 1 CME college of osteopathic medicine or Category 1 CME sponsoring hospital.

CME credits will not be awarded for preparation of lectures.

Standardized Federal Aviation Courses

The following standardized CME programs sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration or United States Armed Services are eligible for Category 1-A credit.

  • Aviation Medicine
  • Flight Surgeon Primary Course
  • Cardiology Themed Seminars
  • Neurological Themed Seminars
  • Basic Standardized Seminars

In addition, all standardized CME courses offered by the Civil Aeronautic Institute or Federal Aviation Administration for the purpose of maintaining an aeromedical examiner designation are eligible for Category 1-A.

Federal Programs

AOA Category 1-A credit will be awarded for formal CME programs to participants who are on active duty or employed by a uniformed service. Category 1-B will be awarded to all other federal CME activities.

Grand Rounds

Grand rounds will be considered for AOA Category 1-A credit. To obtain this credit, grand rounds programs must be submitted in series of three and must meet the requirements for Category 1-A credit.

Judging Osteopathic Clinical Case Presentations and Research Poster Presentations

Osteopathic physicians serving as formal judges for osteopathic clinical case presentations and research poster presentations at a formal CME function will be awarded AOA Category 1-A credits. This credit is granted on an hour-for-hour basis. The physician may earn up to a maximum of ten (10) credits per AOA 3-year CME cycle.

Category 1-B

AOA Category 1-B credits will be granted to individuals who complete the following activities:

Publications, Inspections, Examinations, and Committee Meetings

Physicians may receive credit for their participation in the following areas:

  • Development and publication of scientific papers and online osteopathic educational programs;
  • Acting in the role of a surveyor or consultant of (A) an osteopathic healthcare facility; (B) college accreditation; graduate medical education program or OPTI site visit.
  • Development of or proctoring a board certification examination.
  • Participation on an osteopathic state licensing professional review board; and for healthcare committee and departmental meetings which review and evaluate patient care whether the committee work is in an osteopathic or allopathic institution.

GME Faculty/Preceptors

Osteopathic physicians serving as preceptors/GME faculty in any AOA approved osteopathic or ACGME-accredited graduate medical education program may be granted Category 1-B credit.

A maximum of 60 AOA Category 1-B credits for faculty/preceptoring may be applied to the 120-hour requirement per CME cycle.

Osteopathic physicians who serve as core clinical faculty for graduate medical education programs, regardless of the institutional residency affiliation, may be granted Category 1-B credit.

To obtain credit for faculty and core faculty, the institution/hospital Program Director or Director of Medical Education (DME) must provide a signed evaluation of the physician’s participation to the AOA Department of Client and Member Services
verifying the physician’s teaching activity.

No credit is available for preceptoring physician assistants or nurse practitioners.

Certification Examination Credit

A maximum of fifteen (15) Category 1-B credits per CME cycle will be awarded to AOA members who pass an AOA recertification examination or obtain a certification of added qualification.

Committee and Hospital Staff Work

Category 1-B will be granted to osteopathic physicians who educate and participate in patient care in non-administrative hospital department staff activities to include care based committees such as critical care committee, utilization review, pharmacy and
therapeutics, patient safety, tumor board, morbidity and mortality or any other patient care oriented committee designed to improve patient care. This credit will be granted regardless of the institution’s educational affiliation.

To obtain credit the institution’s medical staff office or CME director must document the physician’s participation.

Non-Osteopathic CME Programs

The Council on Continuing Medical Education may recognize non-osteopathic specialty or subspecialty programs for Category 1-B credit, when there is essentially no equivalent course content available within the osteopathic profession. Credit for such programs
will be applied to all physicians in that specialty or subspecialty who participate in the course.

These courses must be provided by an Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) accredited provider for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ or the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) credit, or provided by an internationally known sponsor acceptable to the CCME. An eligible program is defined
as a course consisting of at least three (3) credits hours. Home study activities/courses do not qualify under this policy.

To request consideration of a non-osteopathic course for Category 1-B credit, the osteopathic physician must write to the AOA Department of Client and Member Services at AOA Headquarters in Chicago and provide the following:

  • (1) A completed Non-Osteopathic Program’s Requests for Category 1-B credit form
  • (2) a copy of the printed program (or syllabus) outlining the lectures being presented, length of the lecture and the faculty presenting at the conference;
  • (3) an official document verifying the physician’s attendance.

The applicant should be aware that this request will be forwarded to the specialty affiliate to verify that similar programs and/or lectures have not been or are not being offered by an AOA-accredited CME provider.

The AOA performs reviews of non-osteopathic courses as a member service. Nonmembers may request AOA Category 1-B credit for non-osteopathic sponsored CME programs by following the same procedure outline, along with payment of a $25.00 application fee and a $10.00 processing fee for each program submitted for review.

Journal Reading

Osteopathic physicians can earn two credit hours of AOA Category 1-B credit for each issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) read and passing of the respective CME quiz with a minimum grade of 70%.

Non-members who forward hard copies of completed quizzes to the AOA Department of Client and Member Services will be charged a fee of $25 per JAOA quiz for staff time to grade, record and provide a letter to the DO as documentation of applicable CME. In addition, non-members have the capability of completing the quizzes online
by visiting AOA Online Learning.

Reading of all other medical journals qualifies for AOA Category 2-B credit and is awarded one-half (0.5) hour of CME credit for each journal read.

Test Construction, Committee Work


  • Test construction committee work will be awarded Category 1-B credit for meetings or seminar; of an AOA certifying board; an AOA practice affiliate’s postgraduate in-service examination committee, or at a meeting of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. CME credit is granted on an hour-for-hour
  • Ten (10) Category 1-B credits will be awarded for administering the oral practical examinations. These credits may be awarded for specialty continuing medical education (CME) up to the maximum of ten credits per CME cycle.


  • One (1) Category 1-B credit will be awarded for each accepted test item written, up to a maximum of ten (10) credits per CME cycle, when submitted to an AOA official certifying board, AOA-accredited Category 1 provider, and/or The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners.
  • Two (2) Category 1-B credits will be awarded, up to a maximum of twenty (20) credits per CME cycle, for accepted clinical cases developed and submitted to the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners and osteopathic board certification examinations.
  • One-half (0.5) Category 1-B credit will be awarded for each Job Task Analysis (JTA) an osteopathic physician participates in, up to a maximum of five (5) credits per CME cycle. These credits may also be awarded for specialty continuing medical education (CME), up to the maximum of five credits per CME cycle. Job Task Analyses (JTA’s) are essential self-assessment examinations conducted every 5-7 years as the basis for all board certification examinations. JTA’s require physicians to review a significant number of tasks that are done on a regular basis in their specialty. These tasks are ranked on how often they are done (frequency) and how essential the task is to patient care (importance). JTA’s are used to develop the content outline (blueprint) for the certification examination by defining practice focus areas for testing an osteopathic physician’s knowledge and expertise.

Credit will not be awarded for meetings that are primarily administrative in nature.

Category 2-A

Category 2-A includes formal educational programs that are sponsored by an ACCME accredited provider for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™; approved by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP); approved by an internationally known sponsor acceptable to the CCME, or an AOA-accredited Category 1 CME Sponsor that does not meet the faculty/hours requirement for Category 1-A credit.

Category 2-B

Category 2-B credit also shall be awarded for the following:

  • The preparation and presentation of scientific exhibits at a county, regional, state, or national professional meeting. These presentations and/or preparations are limited to ten (10) credits per scientific exhibit.
  • Home study courses; viewing non-osteopathic medical video, audio or online CME courses.
  • Journal type CME on the Internet.
  • Faculty development; physician administrative training; quality assessment programs; observations at medical centers; and CME courses in medical economics.
  • Participation in recertification examinations or examinations for certificate(s) of added qualification sponsored by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Credit for this activity is limited to fifteen (15) credit hours per CME cycle.
  • Five (5) credit hours may be granted for each medical textbook(s) read. To obtain CME credit documentation such as correspondence may be provided to the AOA
    Department of Client and Member Services providing the name of the medical textbook(s) read.
  • One-half (0.5) hour of CME credit may be granted for each medical journal read.
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