Resources & Information

Continuing Medical Education (CME)

What are the CME requirements for Physician Assistants?

The CME requirement for physician assistants is at least 50 hours of Category I CME completed over a two-year cycle. There is no minimum CME that needs to be taken per year. 

Note: A 2015-2016 state budget provision called on all regulatory agencies and other public bodies that credential controlled substances prescribers to adopt CME requirements specific to the prescribing of controlled substances (CS). Therefore, if you write prescriptions for CS, you must have two of the required 50 hours specifically focused on CS CME. Find a curated list of classes here.


Can I use American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Prescribed credits to satisfy the NC Medical Board’s CME requirements?

Yes, the AAFP Prescribed credit is equivalent to AMA Physician’s Recognition Award (PRA) Category 1 credit, which is acceptable category 1 for the NC Medical Board.


This is my very first renewal. How do I enter my CME?

Click “exempt” on your first renewal after licensure. Your three-year CME cycle starts the first birthday following initial licensure date and runs for three years.


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 hours to the NC Medical Board every year they are participating in MOC.

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. Log in to the NCMB’s Licensee Information Portal using your File ID# 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 in the event of a CME audit.


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 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to assist in correcting your CME file.


When does my CME cycle start?

Your three-year cycle depends on when you were licensed and typically starts on the first birthday following your initial licensure date and runs for three years.


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 check the “EXEMPT” box to check.


Do I need to provide documentation of CME with my PA license application and if so, how much?

If it has been less than two years since your graduation, you are not required to submit CME with your application. Applicants who graduated from a PA program two or more years ago must submit documentation of at least 50 hours of Category I CME.


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, any active medical license in the state of North Carolina is subject to the CME rule.


What are the CME requirements for Physicians?

The CME requirement for physicians is at least 60 hours of Category I CME completed over a three-year cycle. There is no minimum CME that needs to be taken per year.

Note: A 2015-2016 state budget provision called on all regulatory agencies and other public bodies that credential controlled substances prescribers to adopt CME requirements specific to the prescribing of controlled substances (CS). Therefore, if you write prescriptions for CS, you must have three of the required 60 hours specifically focused on CS CME. Find a curated list of classes here.


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

No, you cannot use the PRA Award itself but any accredited category 1 hours that you used to receive the Physician’s Recognition Award that also qualify as practice relevant CME may be used.


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.


Do I submit CME documentation to the Board?

No. Licensees should not mail CME documentation to the Board unless specifically asked to. Please maintain your own CME records or use our tracking form, so that you can furnish them to the Board in the event of a CME Audit. You will report whole hours annually during the license renewal process.