Continuing Medical Education (CME) FAQs

  1. This is my very first renewal. How do I enter my CME?
  2. What is the CME requirement under the revised CME rules that went into effect August 1, 2012?
  3. How many CME hours do I get for passing an initial special board certification examination?
  4. What if I continue to earn Category 2 CME hours?
  5. Are any physician licensees exempt from CME requirements in NC?
  6. Where can I view my current CME hours?
  7. How long must I keep my CME documentation?
  8. What do I do if my CME cycle is not showing up correctly when I check it during my annual renewal?
  9. When does my CME cycle start?
  10. I am a resident or fellow. How do I record my CME?
  11. What if I have additional questions about CME that are not answered on the Board’s website?
  12. If I am retired and/or have a volunteer license, do I still need to comply with the CME rule?
  13. Is there a minimum total of CME hours that must be earned in a given year?
  14. May I use the Physician’s Recognition Award for reporting CME?
  15. May I roll excess CME hours over to the next three-year cycle?
  16. Must I submit documentation to the Board?
  • This is my very first renewal. How do I enter my CME?

    You are exempt for your very first renewal because your CME cycle does not start until the first birthday following initial licensure.

    Example: Your license is granted on August 1, 2013,  and your birthday is December 1st.  When you renew in December you would click “exempt” for CME on this first renewal.  Start recording your CME hours from your birthday, 12/1/13 .  Your 3 year cycle will run from 12/1/13 -  12/1/16 and you will need a total of 60 hours of CME during that 3 year cycle.  There is no minimum that must be earned/reported per year.


  • What is the CME requirement under the revised CME rules that went into effect August 1, 2012?

    The revised CME rules eliminate the requirement to report ANY Category 2 CME hours while maintaining the requirement to earn a minimum of 60 Category 1 CME hours over a three-year period.


  • How many CME hours do I get for passing an initial special board certification examination?

    A licensee who obtains initial certification from an ABMS, AOA or RCPSC specialty board shall be deemed to have satisfied his or her CME requirement in full for the three year cycle in which the board certificate is obtained. Licensees who obtain initial certification will indicate that they are exempt from the CME requirement during annual renewal by selecting “exempt.”


  • What if I continue to earn Category 2 CME hours?

    Category 2 CME hours are no longer required and may not be counted to satisfy the CME requirements. The Board encourages licensees to continue to complete CME, whether Category 1 or 2 hours, above and beyond the minimum required, as their time permits. Many Category 2 CME activities may be useful to licensees.


  • Are any physician licensees exempt from CME requirements in NC?

    Yes. Four distinct groups of licensees may qualify for an exemption to the requirements. They are listed below.

    1. MOC/recertification exemption Physicians who are currently engaged in a program of recertification or maintenance of certification (MOC) through an ABMS, AOA or RCPSC specialty board shall be exempt from reporting CME to the NC Medical Board for the three year cycle in which they are involved in recertification/MOC. Licensees who qualify for this exemption will indicate this during annual renewal by selecting “exempt.” There are some important exceptions to this exemption; Physicians who have been “grandfathered” or awarded lifetime certfication by an ABMS, AOA or RCPSC specialty board SHALL NOT qualify for the exemption and will be required to report CME.

    2. Initial certification exemption A licensee who obtains initial certification from an ABMS, AOA or RCPSC specialty board shall be deemed to have satisfied the CME requirement for the three-year cycle in which initial certification was obtained. Licensees who qualify for this exemption will indicate this during annual renewal by selecting “exempt.”

    3. Military service exemption Physicians who are in good standing with the Board, serving in the armed forces of the United States or serving in support of such armed forces, and serving in a combat zone, or serving with respect to a military contingency operation as defined by 10 U.S.C. 101(a)(13) will be exempt from reporting CME. Licensees who qualify for this exemption will indicate this during annual renewal by selecting “exempt.”

    4. NC legislative service exemption Physicians who are currently serving as members of the NC General Assembly’s House or Senate Health committees will be exempt from reporting CME hours. These licensees will indicate their exemption during annual renewal by selecting “exempt.”


  • Where can I view my current CME hours?

    Your current CME hours can be accessed on our website. Visit www.ncmedboard.org and click on “Update Licensee Info Page” in the green Quick Links menu on the right. Log in using your FileID# and date of birth. The tab “Preferences/CME” will allow you to view the CME hours in your current three-year cycle.

    If you have questions or need to make changes, please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


  • How long must I keep my CME documentation?

    All CME documentation should be kept for 6 years.


  • What do I do if my CME cycle is not showing up correctly when I check it during my annual renewal?

    Please complete your renewal, and then email the Board. Click here and select “Questions about Annual Renewal” to send your message to the correct department. Corrections to the CME cycle or hours from previous years can be made after the renewal is complete.


  • When does my CME cycle start?

    Your 3 year cycle depends on when you were licensed.  The 3 year cycle shall run from the physician’s birthday beginning in the year 2001 or the first birthday following initial licensure, whichever occurs later.


  • I am a resident or fellow. How do I record my CME?

    Residents and Fellows who are enrolled in ACGME- or AOA-accredited graduate medical education programs are exempt from the requirement, until the first birthday following completion of their training program.  During your online renewal there is an EXEMPT box to check, which will reset your CME cycle.


  • What if I have additional questions about CME that are not answered on the Board’s website?

    Please send your questions via .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  to the Board’s renewal department.


  • If I am retired and/or have a volunteer license, do I still need to comply with the CME rule?

    Yes. As long as you have an active license to practice medicine in the state of North Carolina you are subject to the CME rule, which requires 60 hours of Category 1 CME over a 3 year period.


  • Is there a minimum total of CME hours that must be earned in a given year?

    No. Licensees must ensure that they earn a total of 60 Category 1 CME hours by the end of the current three-year cycle.


  • May I use the Physician’s Recognition Award for reporting CME?

    Any hours that you put in to receive the Physician’s Recognition Award that also qualify as relevant may be used. The Physician’s Recognition Award and similar awards, taken by themselves, cannot be accepted as documentation.


  • May I roll excess CME hours over to the next three-year cycle?

    No. The CME hours earned within a three-year cycle can be used only to fulfill the requirements for that cycle.


  • Must I submit documentation to the Board?

    Licensees should not mail CME documentation to the Board unless specifically asked to. Please maintain your own CME records, so that you can furnish them to the Board in the event of a CME audit. You will report hours annually during the license renewal process.