Moving Forward

Proposed CME requirements for the 2019-2021 cycle ready for your comments

Check out the proposed CME requirements for AOA board certification in your specialty.


Proposed changes to continuing medical education (CME) requirements for AOA board-certified physicians are now posted for all 18 certifying boards.

The Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists has approved the changes, which are scheduled to become effective in the 2019-2021 CME cycle if approved by the AOA Board of Trustees. Comments from diplomates will be accepted through Wednesday, Dec. 19.

“The proposed rules emphasize flexibility and give physicians latitude to choose CME that works best for their individual practice,” said Dan Williams, DO, AOA vice president of certifying board services. “For example, a DO may be board certified in internal medicine and work occasional shifts in the emergency department. That physician could choose to take CME in emergency medicine and have it count toward maintaining his or her board certification.”

The new standards would eliminate the requirement for specialty-specific CME. Each individual certifying board has set its own CME standards for maintenance of certification. In addition, 120 hours of CME per cycle is now required for diplomates holding non-time-limited certification.

In addition, changes were made to the types of CME credit awarded for specific activities. CME will now be awarded for:

  • Residency and fellowship
  • Exams taken for the purpose of initial board certification
  • Unlimited hours of standardized life support classes

Review the revised CME guide for full details of the proposed changes.


    1. Romy

      Yes ! This is more burden on overworked family physicians I don’t like this change
      I will look into abfp board certification instead next cycle and dumping AOA/aobfp board Certification
      This new proposed rules don’t seem to make it any easier on us

  1. Dan Arellano

    Looks like Emergency Medicine along with numerous specialties no longer requires AOA category 1 and 2 credits. Is this correct?

    1. Dan Williams, DO, AOA vice president of certifying board services

      Hello, there are no proposed requirements for category 1-A or 1-B, nor 2-A or 2-B. A diplomate can fulfill the 150 AOBEM required hours in any combination of category 1A/B and 2A/B that they would like. Thank you.

  2. gpldo

    Why so many CME hrs for EM as compared to other specialties? Also, without required 1-A credits what will become of organizations such as ACOEP?I assume a drop in AOA exclusive conference and seminar attendance is to be expected? I’m all for the flexibility in CME requirements, but don’t forget it’s coupled with recertification every year, in other words, taking a proctured recertification test EVERY year till retirement. Having recertified last year, I was free and clear for another 10 yrs, but with all these changes, I’ll be testing again soon, like next year! Allot of this info was released inconspicuously at the recent ACOEP Scientific Assembly in Chicago last month which I attended. These changes came across as alarming and drastic, stressing attendees. During tough times in our profession, resulting in burnout, early retirement and physician shortage, why, I ask you AOA are these changes occurring? Is the new continual certification process supposed to relieve physicians of this stressful endeavor? I’m not seeing it! The purpose of these changes were poorly explained at the Assembly, can someone from the AOA chime in and give us some answers?

  3. Elizabeth Edelstein

    150 total credits of which half are category 1 is a huge burden on family medicine physicians. 25 1A is also a lot. Mostly every other specialty has a much lighter CME load.

  4. Marty Weitzel DO

    The requirement of a 150 total is not only excessive it is almost impossible to obtain cycle after cycle . With exception of Emergency Medicine , all other specialties have a requirement of only 60 . What gives ?

  5. Roland R. Tindle, D.O.

    Proctology—120 hrs. THAT much new every 3 years.??? Get real
    Two 32 hr. Seminars every 3 years requirement is quite adequate to keep up. 150 hrs is excessive drain on TIME from practice, finances and family.!!

  6. David Longley

    It’s is things like this that will make myself and other FP physicians drop our board certification. Family Medicine is the ONLY one that requires 75 hours in Category 1. What is the reasoning? Do the rule makers who don’t have full time practices not realize that this takes us away from our practices even more?

    I too will look into ABFP certification

  7. Amy Basile DO MPH

    Hi there, I don’t understand why there is a limit to preceptor hours in dermatology. It is very difficult to get a preceptorship position in dermatology, 8 credit hours is essentially one day of training. Not worth the rotator’s time in my opinion. Was the total amount of CME granted for preceptorships always capped at 20% of the total required cme every three years? Thank you

    1. Libby Strong, Senior Director, AOA Certifying Board Services

      Hi Dr. Basile,

      The AOBD recognized that many dermatologists could fill their entire CME requirement with preceptorship credits. The limit was put in place to ensure that DO dermatologists were attending CME courses during the CME cycle. The AOBD feels it’s important for diplomates to obtain at least 52 credits outside of preceptoring.

      Many thanks.

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