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Frequently Asked Questions

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Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Professional Development

What Is Continuing Medical Education (CME)?

Continuing Medical Education (CME) consists of educational activities that serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession. The content of CME is that body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine, and the provision of health care to the public.  

  • This broad definition of CME recognizes that all continuing educational activities which assist physicians in carrying out their professional responsibilities more effectively and efficiently are CME. A course in practice management, for example, would be appropriate for practitioners interested in providing better service to patients.
  • Most states now require physicians to earn CME for licensure, and many hospitals require CME for hospital privileges. Malpractice insurance companies may require physicians to earn CME as well.
  • Physicians may participate in worthwhile continuing educational activities which are not related directly to their professional work and these activities are not CME.

Who Accredits CME Providers?

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) is an independent accreditation body for institutions and organizations, which provide CME for physicians.  Accreditation by the ACCME assures the medical community and the public that such activities provide physicians with information that can assist them in maintaining or improving their practice of medicine.  Accreditation is granted on the basis of the provider's demonstrated ability to plan and implement CME activities in accordance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria; Standards for Commercial Support and Accreditation Policies -

What is the American Medical Association's Physician's Recognition Award (AMA-PRA)?

The American Medical Association (AMA) awards the Physician's Recognition Award (PRA) to physicians who earn 150 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ over a 3-year period (1-year and 2-year certificates are also given). If you believe you have qualified to receive the PRA, please contact the AMA's Office of Physician Credentials and Qualifications at 312/464-4665 or visit the AMA Web site at

How Is My CME Credit Documented?


Some states require physicians to list each of the CME activities in which they participate. Other states require physicians to sign a statement attesting to the completion of CME. Many states enforce their reporting procedures by randomly auditing physicians. In any case, the burden of proof of CME falls on the individual physician to keep track of the CME activities he or she completes. The best way to do this is to keep a detailed file of all CME activities, including the certificates of participation provided upon the conclusion of any CME activity by the providing organization. These certificates indicate the type of CME credit given and the number of credits for which the activity was designated. The individual physician is required to keep track of the time spent on the activity and claim the number of credits he or she actually spent on the activity (not to exceed the maximum number of designated credits).

What does the AAP provide regarding credit?

Members of the American Academy of Pediatrics or PediaLink subscribers have complimentary access to their CME transcript, which lists each of the AAP-provided CME activities in which the member participated for that year. This transcript does not replace the certificates of participation you receive for each activity; it is meant only to assist in keeping track of the various activities completed each year. Members and PediaLink subscribers can print a transcript report directly from PediaLink. Non-members and non-PediaLink subscribers can request a transcript of their completed CME activities; there is a $25 charge for each year requested. Transcript request and payment should be sent to American Academy of Pediatrics - Publications, P O Box 776422, Chicago, IL 60677-6442. Please include your name, AAP ID#, the year requested, your check payment and contact information should we need to reach you.

The transcript is issued for one calendar year. In order to have an activity listed on the transcript, the activity must have been completed in that calendar year.

How Can I Find My State's CME Requirements?

CME requirements for medical licensure vary greatly from state to state. While some states do not require CME for licensure, other states require as many as 50 CME credits per year. For more information on your state's CME requirements, contact your state medical licensing board.

How many CME credits am I required to complete each year?

These requirements vary from state to state, even from institution to institution. The Academy does not have a requirement that members complete a certain number of CME credits to maintain membership status. Individuals should contact their state board of medical licensure, state medical societies, employers/hospitals/managed care organizations, etc. to inquire about their specific requirements. Individuals may also want to refer to the American Medical Association's (AMA) Information Booklet on The Physician's Recognition Award (PRA) for more information about qualifying for the AMA PRA certificate or visit

How do I find out more information about taking the board examination in pediatrics (or any of the pediatric subboard examinations)?

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not administer any of the certification or Maintenance of Certification examinations in pediatrics or the pediatric subspecialty areas. These exams are administered by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and all questions regarding test dates, content outlines, eligibility for CME credit, certification/Maintenance of Certification issues, etc. must be referred directly to the ABP. They may be reached at 919/929-0461.


Does the COCME plan any AAP CME activities, such as the National Conference & Exhibition?
No, CME activities are overseen by a planning group or editorial board. The COCME does not directly plan any AAP CME activities or meetings/courses. While the COCME has a liaison member on the National Committee Planning Group, the COCME is not responsible for facilitating the review/acceptance of session proposals. AAP sections/councils and other constituent groups should work with their respective manager and National Conference Planning Group representative with questions on National Conference session proposals, planning processes, and guidelines.
What is the difference between the COCME and Committee on Pediatric Education (COPE)?
The COCME coordinates, monitors and evaluates the AAP CME/continuing professional development (CPD) program and its individual CME activities to ensure quality and consistency in the content development, design and delivery of educational activities and to provide oversight for the accreditation of the AAP CME/CPD program. A primary role of COCME is to ensure that the AAP CME/CPD program remains on the leading edge of pediatric CME. Thus, a critical function of the COCME is to recommend new directions and initiatives for the AAP CME/CPD program in consideration of sound educational practices based on the principles of adult learning theory and the most current and evidence-based CME research.

The COPE functions as a think tank within the AAP for discussion, consensus building and collaboration with respect to emerging issues facing pediatric graduate medical education (GME). These include, but are not limited to, research, curriculum development, faculty development, outcome measures, practice issues and regulatory and legislative proposals as they relate to pediatric GME. Representatives from a number of pediatric professional and educational organizations contribute to this process through appointed liaisons who report to COPE annually and contribute to activities throughout the year. The Committee reviews and monitors the field of pediatric education, identifying gaps or areas in need of enhancement and develops strategies and recommendations as needed.

What educational resources does the COCME provide?
The COCME can assist CME planners with questions regarding planning educational activities, conducting needs assessment, implementing innovative formats, selecting faculty, faculty development, etc. The COCME is also available to provide one-on-one consultation, upon request. Requests for COCME consultation may be directed to AAP staff member, Deborah Samuel (

AAP Credit

What is AAP Credit?

In addition to the AAP-provided CME activities listed on the transcript, members may submit copies of the certificates of participation/completion from other activities, which have been approved for AAP credit. Any organization may apply to have their activity approved for AAP credit (application can be found on CME Finder). If AAP credit is approved for an activity, the provider of the activity may state this on the certificate of participation/completion. AAP members may submit a copy of this certificate to the AAP, and the CME credits will be added to the annual CME transcript. The member should keep the original certificate as proof of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ earned for the activity. AAP credit approval is only given to organizations that apply for the designation of this credit on their CME activities. Individual requests for AAP credit following a CME activity cannot be approved.

AAP members may apply AAP credits toward the AAP CME/CPD Award (see below).

How do I know if an activity is AAP approved?
AAP approved activities should state so, either in their promotional materials or on the certificate of participation. The statement should indicate the number of AAP credits for which the activity was approved. If you are not sure if an activity is AAP approved, contact the provider of the activity.
How can I Learn About AAP CME Opportunities?
A comprehensive listing of the AAP's CME activities can be found in the CME Finder in PediaLink and

I attended an AAP-approved course. How can I get that posted on my transcript?

AAP-approved courses must contain the text printed below on the certificate:

This activity is acceptable for a maximum of [number of credits] AAP credits. These credits can be applied toward the AAP CME/CPD Award available to Fellows and Candidate Members of the AAP.

Please copy this certificate and send it via mail or fax it to 847/434-8387, Attn: Transcripts. Once CME staff verifies the certificate and CME activity, we will then register you for the activity. You can then log into your Pedialink account to record the credits.


What is the AAP CME/CPD Award?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes the efforts of its members to keep current through continuing medical education (CME) and continuing professional development (CPD) activities. If you regularly participate in AAP provided or approved continuing medical education activities, you may qualify to receive the prestigious AAP CME/CPD Award. All AAP provided/approved CME activities automatically provide AAP credit. To qualify for the AAP CME/CPD award, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be an active Fellow or Candidate Member of the Academy
  • You must have earned at least 150 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ over a 3-year period through AAP provided or approved continuing medical education activities.
How do I apply to receive the AAP CME/CPD Award?

There are no applications to complete, no forms to fill out. The AAP CME/CPD Award is mailed automatically at the end of every fall to those who qualify. Members can only receive the award once every 3 years. The Academy automatically tracks your attendance at AAP sponsored and jointly provided activities. If you participate in an AAP approved CME activity, please mail or fax a copy of your certificate of participation to:

American Academy of Pediatrics Attn: Transcripts

345 Park Boulevard

Itasca, Illinois 60143

The fax number is 847/434-8387. Please be sure to include your AAP ID# on the certificate and contact information should we need to reach you.