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How Many CME Credits Do I Need?

Posted by Emma James-Wilson

Dec 22nd 2022

How Many CME Credits Do I Need?

Continuing medical education (CME) courses are an annual requirement for physicians and surgeons to meet requirements set by their medical boards. Physicians know they have this responsibility, but they might wonder, “How many CME credits do I need?”

Oakstone CME can answer that question while offering guidance on which types of CME credits you should get, what courses provide the most value and how to avoid waiting until the last minute.

Where Can I Check My Credit Requirements?

“How many CME credits do physicians need?” is a question without a single answer. Your requirements will differ depending on where you live, as each state medical board has its own requirements. Your speciality’s board, too, has rules for what practitioners need to accomplish each year.

For example, the  American Board of Pathology requires 70 total hours every 2 years. Unless meeting the Lifelong Learning requirement through fellowships, residencies or Physician-Scientist Research Pathways, each diplomate must earn at least 80% of required CME directly related to their scope of practice. Additional CME credits may be obtained in areas of general relevance to medicine.

Meanwhile, the American Board of Radiology has an entirely different set of requirements for diplomates. These include the completion of 75 CME credits every three years. Self-Assessment CME (SA-CME) activities must be included as at least 25 of these credits. These include Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs), which are typically podium presentations followed by an assessment, as well as Enduring AMA Category 1 CME, such as printed materials, audio or video recordings.

It’s important to understand the requirements of both your speciality and state medical boards. Louisiana, for example, annually requires physicians to complete 20 AMA Category 1 Credit hours, while Texas requires physicians to complete 48 credit hours every 24 months — and 50% of those hours which must be AMA PRA Category 1 Credit. Contrast those states’ required hours with South Dakota, which doesn’t have CME requirements.

What Are the Best CME Courses to Take?

Choosing the best CME courses depends on your specialty and whether your specialty board has set additional requirements. For primary-care physicians and newly licensed physicians, we recommend CME subjects on topics such as dispensing controlled substances, preventing medical errors, managing risk in your practice and spotting signs of domestic violence in patients.

Oakstone offers CME credits through topic-specific courses that include the latest research and treatment advancements across 30-plus medical and dental specialties. With our depth and range of offerings, you can meet your specialty’s requirements while also gaining credits that cover general topics or those outside your area of expertise.

Your preferred learning style can inform how you earn CME credits. Some people prefer text, while others get the most out of video lectures. Still other practitioners want an audio experience, which is available through Oakstone’s partnerships for MKSAP, SESAP and GRS programs. These programs offer hours of audio interviews to help you earn CME credits on the go.

Your particular needs will also inform whether you take a deep-dive into single topics or explore comprehensive multi-lecture programs. Search our CME info single-topic catalog.

How Do I Avoid Procrastinating on Earning My Credits?

At Oakstone, we understand that physicians are busy. That’s why we offer two subscription products: Practical Reviews and CMEinfo Insider. Both services include access to clinical research, guideline summaries and medical evidence studies. New content is consistently added to each service.

Proper planning will help you achieve the CME credits you're required to complete. For example, determine how many credits you will need by the end of the calendar year. Divide that by 12 to get the average number of credits you need to earn each month. Knowing that average can help you plan, especially if there’s a month where you are especially busy.

Build CME credit into your day-to-day routines for an extra boost. For example, you could listen to clinical research summaries or studies on your commute and earn CME credit every workday. Using Practical Reviews, the entire process of reading a summary, listening to the commentary and passing a quiz can take as little as 15 minutes.

Choose the Oakstone Advantage

At Oakstone, we strive to ensure your experience is simple and user-friendly — just as a busy medical professional needs it to be. Choosing the Oakstone Advantage is an important step toward building your medical practice and skills over the long run.

Completing your CME hours doesn’t have to be a complex or frustrating process. Oakstone provides a reliable, comprehensive source for exploring, earning and tracking credits so you’re not asking yourself, “How many CME credits do I need?” at the last minute.


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