Continuing Medical Education

CME Requirements

The ACOI is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association as a provider of continuing medical education. All members of the AOA and the ACOI, other than those exempted, are required to participate in the Continuing Medical Education (CME) program and to meet specified CME credit requirements for the 2015-2018 CME cycle. Certified or board-eligible osteopathic physicians must meet additional requirements related to their basic certification.

One-hundred-and-twenty (120) credits of CME are required for membership in the AOA within this three-year cycle. Of this total, 30 CME credits must be obtained in Category 1-A and the remaining 90 credits of the CME requirement may be satisfied with either Category 1-A, 1-B, 2-A, or 2-B credits. Physicians entering the program in mid-cycle will have their credit requirements prorated. Members who obtain 150 credits or more of AOA-approved applicable CME credit in a three-year CME cycle will be given a certificate of excellence in CME. These hours must be earned by December 31, but reported no later than May 31 of the current CME cycle.

The AOA assigns CME credit to four categories: 1-A, 1-B, 2-A, and 2-B.

  1. Category 1-A Credit
    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:
    1. Formal Osteopathic CME
      Consisting of formal face-to-face programs that meet the Category 1 quality guidelines, faculty requirements, and which are sponsored by AOA-accredited Category 1 CME sponsors.
    2. Osteopathic Medical Teaching
      Physicians who deliver formal osteopathic medical education in a didactic format are eligible to receive Category 1-A credit on an hour-for-hour basis. Methods of such education are limited to:
      • Formal delivery of osteopathic medical education lectures in colleges of osteopathic medicine.
      • Formal delivery of osteopathic medical education to students, interns, residents, and staff of AOA approved healthcare facilities. Teaching credit must be submitted by the CME Department of an AOA-accredited Category 1 CME college of osteopathic medicine or Category 1 CME sponsoring hospital.
    3. Standardized Federal Aviation Courses
      The Federal Aviation Administration “Aviation Medicine” course and the United States Armed Services, “Flight Surgeon Primary Course,” are eligible for Category 1-A credit.
    4. 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.
    5. Grand Rounds
      Grand rounds will be considered for AOA Category 1-A credit when submitted as a series of at least three programs, as opposed to being submitted on a lecture-by-lecture basis. The Category 1 CME Sponsor must meet the Accreditation Requirements to award AOA Category 1-A credit.
    6. 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 on an hour-for-hour basis up to a maximum of ten credits per AOA 3-year CME cycle.
  2. Category 1-B Credit
    Category 1-B credit will be awarded for the following:
    1. Publications, Inspections, Examinations, and Committee Meetings
      Development and publication of scientific papers and electronically communicated osteopathic educational programs; serving as an osteopathic healthcare facility, college accreditation, internship, residency or OPTI surveyor or consultant; conducting, and developing certifying board examinations; participating 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.
    2. Osteopathic Preceptoring
      Osteopathic physicians serving as preceptors in any AOA approved osteopathic medical education program may be granted Category 1-B credit. A maximum of 60 AOA Category 1-B credits for preceptoring may be applied to the 120-hour requirement. Osteopathic Physicians who 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.
    3. Certification Examination Credit
      Fifteen Category 1-B credits will be awarded to AOA members who pass an AOA recertification examination or obtain a certification of added qualification.
    4. Activities in Non-AOA Accredited Institutions
      Category 1-B credit will be granted to osteopathic physicians who participate in non-AOA accredited institution/hospital activities such as: hospital staff activities, educational lectures, and lecturing when the institution/hospital is an AOA recognized associate institution/hospital that trains osteopathic students, interns and/or residents. Under this rule, a non-AOA accredited institution/hospital is defined as an institution/hospital that is directly associated with an OPTI for purposes of training osteopathic students, interns and/or residents. Accreditation of the hospital/institution by the Healthcare Facility Accreditation Program, HFAP, of the AOA is not required.
    5. Non-Osteopathic CME Programs
      The Council on Continuing Medical Education may recognize allopathic specialty or subspecialty programs for Category 1-B credit, when there is essentially no equivalent course content available within the osteopathic profession. Such recognition will apply to all physicians in that specialty or subspecialty. These courses must be provided by an ACCME-accredited provider, or be provided by an internationally-known sponsor acceptable to the CCME. A program is defined as a program of 3 credits or more. Home study activities/courses do not qualify under this policy. To request consideration of a non-osteopathic course for Category 1-B credit, write to the Division of CME at AOA Headquarters in Chicago and provide a copy of the non- osteopathic programs - Category 1B form, available at, along with the printed program (or syllabus) and documentation of attendance. The AOA provides review of such requests as a member service. Whereas, non-members who request AOA Category 1-B credit for allopathic-sponsored CME programs must submit an application fee of $25 and a $10 processing fee for each program submitted for review.
    6. Journal Reading
      Osteopathic physicians can earn two AOA Category 1-B credits for reading the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) and other osteopathic journals approved by the CCME and passing the respective CME quiz with a minimum grade of 70%.The reading of medical journals qualifies for AOA Category 2-B credit and is awarded one-half credit for each journal article read and quiz successfully completed. Non-members who forward hard copies of completed quizzes to the AOA Division of CME will be charged a fee of $25.00 per JAOA quiz for staff time to grade, record and provide a letter to the DO as documentation.
    7. Test Construction, Committee Work
      • Formal
        Test construction committee work will be awarded Category 1-B credit for meeting of a seminar, meeting of an AOA official certifying board, or an AOA practice affiliate’s postgraduate in-service examination committee, or at a meeting of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. 10 Category 1-B credits will be awarded for administering the oral and practical examinations. Also, these credits may be awarded for specialty continuing medical education (CME) up to the maximum of10 credits per CME cycle.
      • Informal
        One Category 1-B credit will be awarded for each test item written, with a maximum of ten credits per cycle, when submitted to an AOA official certifying board and/or The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners.
        Two Category 1-B credits will be awarded, with a maximum of twenty credits per cycle, for clinical cases developed and submitted to the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners and osteopathic board examinations.
    8. Credit will not be awarded for meetings that are primarily administrative in nature.
  3. Category 2-A Credit
    1. Category 2-A includes formal educational programs that are AMA accredited, AAFP approved, an internationally known sponsor acceptable to the CCME, or sponsored by AOA-accredited Category 1 CME Sponsors that do not meet the 1-A faculty/hours requirement for Category 1-A credit.
  4. Category 2-B Credits
    • Category 2-B credit also shall be awarded for: the preparation and presentation of scientific exhibits at a county, regional, state, or national professional meeting (10 credits per scientific exhibit); home study; reading medical journals; viewing non-osteopathic medical video and audio tape cassettes; journal-type CME on the internet; faculty development; physician administrative training; quality assessment programs; observations at medical centers; courses in medical economics; CME programs on the Internet; risk management programs that are administrative in nature; programs dealing with experimental and investigative areas of medical practice, and ABMS recertification examination or a certificate of added certification (15 credits). Five credits may be granted for reading medical textbooks. A copy of the home study form may be found at
  5. CME on the Internet
    • Osteopathic physicians may earn up to a maximum of nine (9) credits of their Category 1-A requirement for interactive Internet CME (i.e., up to nine Category 1-A CME credits for members with a requirement of 30 Category 1-A credits). Category 1-A interactive Internet CME credits earned in excess of nine will be applied to the Category 1-B and Category 2-A or category 2-B CME requirements.
      1. Interactive CME
        Category 1-A credit will be awarded for real-time, interactive conferencing CME on the Internet or case presentations, which includes both an online pre- and post-test and allow the participant to ask questions of the presenter in real-time during the presentation. The CME event must meet AOA quality guidelines, the 1-A faculty/hours requirement, and must be sponsored by an AOA-accredited Category 1 CME sponsor. These courses would be considered live on the Internet.
      2. Category 2-A credit will be awarded to real-time, interactive CME programs on the Internet that are produced by CME providers accredited by the ACCME. These courses must be real-time, interactive simultaneous conferencing.

        To receive credit for interactive Internet CME, osteopathic physicians must complete a CME quiz with a passing grade of 70%, which includes a post-test, and the sponsor of the program must provide this information to the AOA, along with the category and number of CME credits requested. A quiz may be taken a maximum of three times to achieve a passing grade of 70%, this includes two retakes if the quiz is failed initially.

      3. Non-Interactive CME
        Category 1-B credit will be awarded to audio and video programs on the Internet sponsored by AOA-accredited Category 1 CME sponsors that meet the AOA quality guidelines, and faculty/hours requirement. These courses are typically programs that are available on an on-demand schedule and are not real-time, interactive, simultaneous events.

        Category 2-B credit will also be awarded to journal-type CME on the Internet that is produced by an AOA-accredited sponsor, or approved by an ACCME sponsor. These courses are essentially static, textbook type programs. They may have hypertext links to help the reader pursue specific information.

  6. CME Requirements for Certified Physicians
    1. AOA Board Certified Physicians
      1. Physicians who are AOA-board certified are required to earn a minimum of 50 CME credits in their specialty in each three-year CME cycle. These credits may be earned in Category 1 or Category 2. (Please see for specific requirements.)
      2. 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% of the specialty CME credits (15 credits) must be earned in the primary certification.
      3. CME sponsored by osteopathic specialty affiliates in the individual’s declared specialty, will be applied to this requirement on an unlimited hour-by-hour basis.
      4. 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.
    2. ABMS Board Certified Physicians
      1. 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 in order to meet AOA specialty requirements.
      2. 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 three-year CME cycle in order to meet AOA specialty requirements.
      3. Physicians who are solely certified through the ABMS must meet the 120 hour AOA membership requirement.

Please contact the AOBIM ( for information regarding the use of preceptoring or other credits towards this requirement. Osteopathic Physicians may refer to 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.

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