Continuing Medical Education

The 10-year certification maintenance process includes five two-year cycles during which all certified PAs must log 100 CME credits online and submit a $180 certification maintenance fee* by 11:59 p.m. PT, December 31 of your certification expiration year.

During each of those two-year cycles, you must earn and log at least 100 CME credits, including at least 50 Category 1 CME credits. The remaining 50 credits can be Category 1, Category 2 or a combination of both.

Two types of Category 1 CME are self-assessment CME and PI-CME. While these types are no longer required as part of the 50 credits, we recognize the value of these very interactive types of CME, and will weigh these types of CME more heavily. We will award 50% additional credit for all activities designated for self-assessment Category 1 CME credit (i.e., a self-assessment activity worth 10 credits will be converted to 15 credits by NCCPA). Also, the first 20 PI-CME credits logged during every two-year cycle will be doubled when logged with NCCPA.

Your CME earning and logging window begins May 1 of the year your current certification was issued and continues through December 31 of the certification expiration year. (For example, PA-C designees whose certification expires in 2020 must-have earned their CME between May 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020.)

Special Guidelines for New Certification Holders

If this is the first time you’ve logged CME since passing PANCE, you may log any CME earned as of the date your certification was issued through December 31 of the year your certification expires (approximately two years later) and submit the certification maintenance fee by December 31 of the year your certification expires.
Need help logging your CME credits online? Click here for step-by-step instructions.

*Please note that any refund requests must be submitted within 30 days of submitting payment.

**Newly Certified PAs should keep their Category 1 CME documentation for their current CME cycle and their last CME cycle. For example, if you are currently on a 2018-2020 CME cycle you would need to keep that documentation and the 2016-2018 CME cycle documentation. NCCPA does not audit Category 2 CME. This is the policy for NCCPA, not the state medical boards. You will need to check with your state medical board regarding their auditing requirements.

CME Types
Category 1 CME: Regular

Category 1 CME has been reviewed against and deemed to meet criteria established by organizations that serve as sponsors or accreditors of CME activities. NCCPA accepts for Category 1 CME credit activities designated for Category 1 credit by the following sponsors: 

  • American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) 
  • AMA PRA Category 1 Credit from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society 
  • AOA Category 1A Credit by the AOACCME 
  • European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) 
  • AAFP Prescribed Credit by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) 
  • Royal College MOC credits by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada 
  • Mainpro+ credits by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) 
  • Mainpro C or Mainpro-M1 CPD credits by the Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada (PACCC) 

Other activities that satisfy NCCPA’s definitions for self-assessment CME or PI-CME are also considered by NCCPA to be Category 1 CME.

Category 1 CME: Certification Programs

Certification Programs: These activities include certification and recertification programs that are preapproved (sponsored) by the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) for a maximum number of Category 1 credits regardless of who presents the programs or where they are presented. Completion of any program is necessary to log the credits toward the CME requirement. You may earn and apply CME credits for the same certification program once in a calendar year and no more than twice per logging cycle.

NCCPA does not require these certification programs.
Click here for a list: Preapproved Certification Programs – Category 1 CME credits

Category 1 CME: Performance Improvement (PI-CME)

PI-CME is a systematic approach to planning, implementing, and assessing quality improvement in the clinical practice setting. PI-CME is intended primarily to address the competencies of practice-based learning and improvement and systems-based practice. NCCPA accepts for PI-CME credit activities designated for AAPA Category I PI-CME credit by AAPA, Category I activities accepted for Part 4 MOC credit by an ABMS-member board, Category 1A activities accepted for Component 4 OCC credit by the American Osteopathic Association, and ABMS Multispecialty Portfolio Program activities.

Many employer-sponsored quality improvement activities now qualify for PI-CME credit. Learn more.

In recognition of the value of this active and improvement-focused approach to learning, NCCPA doubles the first 20 PI-CME credits earned for each PA per CME logging cycle.

Category 1 CME: Self-Assessment

Self-assessment is the process of conducting a systematic review of one’s own performance, knowledge base or skill set to improve future performance, expand knowledge or hone skills. Self-Assessment CME is intended primarily to address PA competencies related to knowledge, patient care, and practice-based learning and improvement. NCCPA accepts for Self-Assessment CME credit activities designated for AAPA Category 1 Self-Assessment Credit by AAPA.

In recognition of the value of this active approach to learning, NCCPA applies a multiplication factor of 1.5 to Self-Assessment CME credits
Click here to search for Self-Assessment and Performance Improvement – Category 1 CME credits

Category 2 CME

NCCPA accepts for Category 2 credit any educational activity that relates to medicine, patient care or the role of the PA that has not been designated for Category 1 credit.

CME Audits

To ensure the reliability and accuracy of the CME logging, review, and approval processes, NCCPA audits the Category 1 CME submissions for randomly selected PAs.

PAs selected for auditing are required to submit appropriate documentation to support their Category I credits. PAs who fail the audit because they reported Category 1 CME credits that could not be substantiated, that were erroneously reported as Category 1 activities, or that were incorrectly categorized as self-assessment or performance improvement CME will retain certification but will be audited again during the next two-year certification maintenance cycle and will be subject to the following additional requirements which must be completed prior to the expiration of their current two-year NCCPA certification including:
Any Category 1 credits that could not be substantiated must be replaced with valid, appropriately-documented Category 1 credits.

A Re-audit Fee must be paid.

In the second audit, PAs are required to submit appropriate documentation as they log their Category 1 credits. If all required credits (including replacement credits) are not earned, logged and documented before the end of the certification expiration year, the certification will lapse.

PAs who successfully maintain certification during the second audit, including completing the requirements specified above for the failed audit, will also be subject to an additional audit of their Category 1 credits in at least one of their next three certification maintenance cycles.

Disciplinary Matters Arising from the Audit Process.

Except as provided above, PAs who fail an audit may be subject to loss of certification, in accordance with NCCPA’s Policies and Procedures for PA Disciplinary Matters. The disciplinary review process will be initiated when PAs fail to respond satisfactorily to an audit notification letter, refuse to submit to an audit, are suspected of falsifying documentation or attempting fraud in reporting CME credits, fail multiple audits, or otherwise fail to comply with the CME audit policy.

Disciplinary action arising from the audit process may include the revocation of certification and/or of eligibility for certification and other remedies as outlined in the Policies and Procedures for PA Disciplinary Matters.

More questions on the CME audit? Click here for frequently asked questions.