American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated October 2012 

AOA CME Requirements

Q.  What are the dates of the current CME Cycle?

A. The current CME Cycle will run from Jan. 1, 2013 – Dec. 31, 2015.

Q.  What are the CME requirements of the AOA?

A. AOA members are required to obtain 120 credit hours in a three-year cycle, with at least 30 credits in Category 1-A. The remaining 90 credits may be obtained in Categories 1-A, 1-B, 2-A, or 2-B. Osteopathic board certified physicians must earn at least 50 of their total 120 credits in their primary specialty.

Q.  Can I submit CME credit now to apply to future CME Cycle requirements?

A. No. Credits acquired during this cycle cannot apply to future CME requirements. If the date of the activity reflects attendance from a previous cycle, those credits will not be applicable toward the physician’s current CME requirement.

Q. I recently completed my residency or fellowship. How does this affect my AOA CME requirements?

A. AOA members are exempt from the CME requirement while in a postdoctoral training program. Upon completion of the training program, the CME requirement will be prorated based on the end date of the program.

Q.  What is my CME requirement for state licensure?

A.  CME requirements for state licensure differ between states. Please contact the appropriate state licensing board for more information.

Q. Are Life Members required to fulfill the AOA CME requirements?

A. Yes, AOA Life members in active practice do have a CME requirement.

Awarding CME Credit

Q.  May I earn credit for osteopathic preceptoring?

A.  Osteopathic physicians serving as preceptors in any AOA approved osteopathic medical education program may be granted Category 1-B credit. A maximum of 60 credits may be applied to the 120-hour requirement for preceptoring.

Osteopathic Physicians that teach/preceptor osteopathic residents regardless of the institution residency affiliation may be granted Category 1-B credit. To obtain credit in non AOA accredited institution/hospitals the Program Director or DME must send a signed evaluation to the Division of CME verifying the teaching activity.   

No credit is available for preceptoring physician assistants, nurse practitioners, or allopathic medical students.

Q.  Does the AOA grant CME credit for allopathic-sponsored programs?

A.  Yes. CME programs accredited by the Accreditation Council of Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), or approved by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) are eligible for Category 2 credit through the AOA. To obtain the Category 2 credit, please email, fax, or mail certificates of attendance to the Division of CME of the AOA.

Q.  Does the AOA grant Category 1-A credit for Standardized Life Support Courses and Bioterrorism Courses?

A. Yes. Standardized Life Support courses and Bioterrorism courses are eligible for a maximum of 8 credits of Category 1-A. Any remaining credits left over after the initial 8 have been awarded, will be recorded as Category 1-B. 

Q. How is CME credit awarded?

A. CME is generally awarded on an hour-for-hour basis. However, physicians may earn a ½ credit per issue for each medical journal read or audiotape listened to, and may earn 5 credits per medical textbook read during a cycle.

Board and Specialty Certification

Q. What is the CME requirement for certified physicians?

A. AOA Board Certified Physicians

  • Physicians who are board certified are required to earn a minimum of 50 CME credits within their specialty in each 3-year CME Cycle. These credits may be earned in Category 1 or Category 2. (Please see your Specialty Board for clarification.)
  • Certification of Added Qualification (CAQs): For osteopathic physicians holding certification(s) of added qualification (CAQs), a minimum of 25% of the credits (13 credits) must be earned at the level of the CAQ. At least 30% (15 credits) must be earned in the primary certification.
  • CME sponsored by osteopathic specialty affiliates in the individuals declared specialty, will be applied to this requirement on an unlimited hour-by-hour basis.
  • CME sponsored by AOA CME Sponsors other than the individual’s declared specialty affiliate may be awarded by the certifying board with jurisdiction up to a maximum of 25 credits per cycle.

  ABMS Board Certified Physicians

  • Physicians who are both AOA and ABMS board certified are required to earn the same specialty CME credit hours as DOs who are AOA board certified only.
  • Physicians who are solely certified in an ABMS specialty are required to obtain a minimum of 10 Category 1-A credits in AOA sponsored CME programs during each 3-year CME Cycle.
  • Physicians who are solely certified through the ABMS must meet the 120 hour AOA membership requirement.

Please contact your certifying board for information regarding the use of preceptoring or other credits towards this requirement. Osteopathic Physicians may refer to www.osteopathic.org for additional information regarding the “AOA Specialty Continuing Education (CME) Policy” regarding specialty CME program requirements.

NOTE: Under current AOA policy, failure to meet the AOA specialty CME requirement is interpreted as a failure to meet the individual physician’s CME requirement. This could result in the loss of AOA membership and in turn result in the possible loss of certification.

Q. What is the policy for granting Category 1-A credit for non-osteopathic programs accredited by the ACCME or approved by the AAFP for AOA members that hold specialty or subspecialty certificates?

A. In recognition that members of the AOA who hold specialty or subspecialty certificates in those specialties with less than 300 certificate holders may have difficulty accruing the necessary AOA 1-A credits required for membership, such members may apply ACCME or AAFP Category 1 credits to their AOA 1-A credit requirement up to the maximum of 15 CME credits per cycle to meet the Category 1-A credit requirement for membership.

To qualify for AOA Category 1-A CME credit under this policy the following criteria must be met:

  • Osteopathic physicians must be a member of the AOA
  • Physicians must be AOA or ABMS certified
  • The specialty/subspecialty must be listed as a qualifying specialty

NOTE: View the lists of specialties and subspecialties with less than 300 certified members. This policy does not apply to Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQs) or ABMS subspecialties with are equivalent to the AOA CAQ.

CME Activity  Reports

Q.  How can I check my CME status or obtain a copy of my CME report?

A.  AOA members may view their CME reports by going to the AOA’s website: clicking on the Continuing Medical Education link: View My CME Report; and logging in with their AOA ID number or username and password. Members may also contact the CME department at (800) 621-1773, ext. 8262 to have their report emailed or faxed. CME reports are free of charge and available to AOA members only. 

Q. What should I do if I’ve never created an account to view my CME Activity Report?

A. Members who have not created an account to view their CME Activity Report should contact the Membership Department at (800) 621-1773, ext. 8284 to receive a password.

Non-Qualified CME Activities

Q. What programs are ineligible to receive AOA CME credit?

A. The following are ineligible for AOA CME credit:

  • No credit is available for preceptoring physician assistants, nurse practitioners, or allopathic medical students.
  • Though the AOA applauds volunteer work, such work does not qualify for CME credit.
  • Studies completed in the quest for advanced degrees such as Master’s or Doctorate, do not quality for CME credit.
  • Touring medical facilities does not qualify for CME credit.

Obtaining 1-A Credits

Q.  How can I obtain AOA Category 1-A credit?

A.  Category 1-A credit may be earned by attending formal, face-to-face osteopathic programs that are sponsored by AOA-Accredited Category 1 CME Sponsors. A list of AOA Category 1 CME Sponsors may be found on our website: http://www.osteopathic.org/inside-aoa/accreditation/Pages/cme-sponsor-accreditation.aspx.

For a listing of upcoming programs that are eligible for Category 1-A credit, please refer to the AOA Calendar of Events located on our website: www.osteopathic.org/inside-aoa/events

Reporting Credits

Q.  How should CME credit be reported to the AOA?

A.  For CME activities sponsored by an AOA-Accredited Category 1 CME Sponsor: it is the responsibility of the CME Sponsor to report all CME credit. For non-osteopathic-sponsored CME activities: it is the physician’s responsibility to provide documentation to the AOA. A certificate of attendance or a letter of verification from the CME sponsor must be provided. Please include your AOA number with any CME submission.

Q.  Where can I obtain CME forms for reporting CME credit to the AOA?

A.  Forms for reporting CME credit can be found on AOA’s website, under the Continuing Medical Education link: CME Reporting Forms. www.osteopathic.org/inside-aoa/development/continuing-medical-education/Pages/cme-reporting-forms.aspx

Q.  Where can I obtain a copy of the CME Guide for Osteopathic Physicians?

A.  The CME Guide may be found on AOA’s website, under the Continuing Medical Education link: Continuing Medical Education Guide for Osteopathic Physicians. www.osteopathic.org/inside-aoa/development/continuing-medical-education/Pages/cme-guide.aspx