CME Information for Physicians

Information from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education

Continuing Medical Education information from the North Carolina Medical Board

Definitions and examples of the AMA PRA's Category 1 and Category 2 from the AMA's Physician's Recognition Award Booklet:

Physicians may claim AMA PRA category 1 credit for learning activities designated for AMA PRA category 1 credit by accredited sponsors and for certain activities recognized by the AMA. Regardless of the amount of credit designated by the institution sponsoring the activity, journal-based CME, or enduring material, physicians should claim only the hours actually spent participating in the activity or studying the materials within the maximum number of hours designated.

Physicians may also claim AMA PRA category 1 credit for the additional learning activities described below.

Formal learning activities by accredited sponsors

The majority of CME activities claimed for AMA PRA category 1 credit are planned, structured activities offered by an organization accredited for CME by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) or one of the state medical associations, which has designated that education for AMA PRA category 1 credit. These learning activities may be in the form of lectures, seminars, or workshops or may be based on self-assessment programs or audiovisual or computer materials. (For designation statements and category 1 criteria, see Part II).

Journal articles designated for CME Credit

Physicians may claim credit for journal articles designated for CME credit by accredited sponsors.

CME enduring materials

CME enduring materials are presented in a variety of forms and use one or many communications media, including printed educational materials, audiotapes videotapes, computer-assisted instruction, videodiscs, and CD-ROM products. They may be structured to meet the requirements for category 1 designation of enduring materials; those not designated for category 1 by an accredited sponsor may be claimed for category 2 hours.

International conferences approved by the AMA

To facilitate participation of US physicians in major international CME conferences that cannot be sponsored or jointly sponsored by an organization accredited by the ACCME, the AMA has developed protocols for reviewing and approving specific international events for category 1 credit. Program materials for these conferences carry the
following statement: "This Conference has been approved by the AMA for a maximum of ____ hours of Category 1 credit towards the AMA Physician's Recognition Award." Participation must be verified on-site by an official AMA representative; the AMA issues credit certificates and maintains attendance records.

New Activities Approved for Credit

At its December 1999 meeting, the AMA Council on Medical Education took several actions regarding Category 1 credits for the AMA PRA.

The following activities will be accepted on an application form for the PRA.

1. Articles published in peer-reviewed journals (journals included in the Index Medicus): 10 category 1 credits for each article, 1article per year. For credit, attach a reprint of the first page of the article(s) to the application.

2. Poster preparation for an exhibit at a medical meeting designated for AMA PRA category 1 credit, with a published abstract: 5 category 1 credits per poster, 1 presentation per year. For credit, attach a page from the program with the abstract and identification of the presenter.

3. Teaching (e.g., presentations) in activities designated for AMA PRA category 1 credit: 2 category 1 credits for each hour to a maximum of 10 credits per year.

Two AMA PRA category 1 credit hours for preparation and
presentation of each hour of new and original material
designated for category 1 credit by an accredited sponsor, to a
maximum of 10 credits per year. A program or announcement
of an activity will be acceptable as proof of the teaching
activity. note from GAHEC: speaker will be responsible for obtaining this from the program coordinator on site. GAHEC will not keep records of this information.

4.Specialty board certification and maintenance of board certification (specialty board recertification): 25 AMA PRA category 1 credits. For credit, attach a copy of the certificate or the notification letter from the Board.

5.Medically related degrees, such as the Master's in Public Health: 25 AMA PRA category 1 credits following award of the advanced degree. For credit, attach a copy of the diploma or transcript to the application.

Participation in an ACGME-accredited program

Physicians may earn up to 50 hours of category 1 credit per year for participating full- or part-time in a residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Other meritorious learning experiences

An AMA PRA certificate can be awarded in recognition of meritorious learning experiences of exceptional benefit to a physician that do not fit the above descriptions. Physicians desiring category 1 credit for such a learning experience must provide a written proposal prior to undertaking the activities, clearly describing educational need, learning objectives, content and methods of learning, amount of time spent on the project, and evaluation of learning achievement. If faculty and educational institutions are involved, they should be identified. The AMA determines whether such an individual educational project will be awarded category 1 credit and the number of credit hours. When the activity is completed, the physician submits a final report of achievement, including the time devoted to the activity.

In December 1995, category 2 was defined as all educational activities not designated category 1 that comply with the AMA definition of CME that comply with AMA ethical opinions on Gifts to Physicians from Industry and on Ethical Issues in CME that a physician finds to be a worthwhile learning experience related to his/her practice.

Sponsor-designated AMA PRA category 2

Accredited sponsors may designate conferences and workshops as AMA PRA category 2, in accordance with the requirements in Part II. Sponsors are not required to record and maintain attendance information.

Physician-designated AMA PRA category 2

Learning experiences that are not designated category 1 and are not included in the reading requirement can be claimed for category 2 hours, including:

consultation with peers and medical experts
developing and reviewing quality assessment data
use of electronic data bases in patient care
use of enduring materials
small-group discussions
self-assessment activities
journal club activities not designated AMA PRA category 1
teaching health professionals
medical writing
lectures, seminars, and workshops not designated for credit.

In determining the number of category 2 hours to be reported, physicians can use patient charts and personal notations as helpful reminders. For instance, a physician could recall that in the course of a week, he/she has learned from six consultations with experts, averaging 10 minutes each, for a total of about 1 hour. Or a physician could estimate that in the course of a month, he/she has learned from four discussions with colleagues, averaging 15 minutes each, for a total of about 1 hour.

Learning required to teach physicians, residents, medical students, and other health professionals can also be claimed for category 2 hours.

Up to 10 hours may be claimed for publication of a medical or medically related article (or chapter in a book), or for learning that occurs in preparing an exhibit for an organized medical meeting. Small-group discussions on a selected journal article, which can bridge the gap between information and understanding and application to practice, may
also be claimed as category 2.

Self-assessment activities

Another excellent source of category 2 education is a physician's systematic reflection on his/her patient care. This systematic reflection can be developed with a series of written questions that can serve as the basis for individual self-study activities. Such activities can be reported for up to 10 category 2 hours.


Documentation of category 2 education is not always possible, and is therefore not required. The physician's report of valuable learning from consultation, library use, and other category 2 activities is acceptable.