Continuing Medical Education


Continuing Medical Education FAQs:

When do I report my CME?
A: At the end of the two (2) year Reporting Period, but before your next license renewal. IF POSSIBLE, please wait until you have all your CME and then mail the certificates to the Board all together; this will facilitate faster processing.

Q: Does the Osteopathic Medical Board of California use the same reporting periods as the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)?
A: No. Effective January 1, 2018, the CME is every two (2) years. The Board changed the CME cycle from three years to two years to align with California's two-year renewal cycle and simplify the renewal process and CME requirements.

Q: Do I need to report CME if I was in residency and/or fellowship?
A: The Board will waive 50 hours for each year of the CME period you spent in a residency or fellowship. You will need to provide a copy of your diploma from the residency or fellowship (if completed) or a letter from your program director (if you are still attending the program) in order to claim this waiver. Any years not spent in training during the CME cycle negates your ability to claim CME for that year.

Q: How much CME can I receive by reading journals?
A: You may receive .5 units of category 2 CME for each individual journal read. You may self-report journal readings by listing the name of the journal, number of issues you read that year, and the number of years you read that journal.

Q: I'm behind on my CME for the last reporting period. What can I do?
A: You may use current CME to cover past deficits. Please be aware that doing so will reduce your CME for the current cycle and may leave you with a deficit.

Q: Does Pain Management CME count as AOA category 1A/B?
A: Pain Management/Palliative Care CME is not necessarily AOA category 1A/B as it is usually non-osteopathic. The Board must accept CME as it is reported on the certificate. If it is listed as AMA, it will count as AOA category 2. In addition, some AOA conferences and activities held in California do have Pain Management/Palliative Care to specifically meet California CME requirements. If you attend such an activity, the CME will count as both AOA 1 A/B and Pain Management/Palliative Care.

Required Continuing Medical Education (CME)

(a) Each physician shall submit satisfactory proof of CME to the Board upon the conclusion of the two-year reporting period.
(b) A physician shall complete 100 credit hours within the two-year period.
(c) Minimum of forty (40) hours of the 100 hours must be American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Category 1A or 1B.

Continuing Medical Education Progress Report

Physicians shall report the total number of CME credits to the Board. This may be accomplished by:

(a) Sending the Board a copy of their AOA Individual Activity Report, or
(b) Sending the Board copies of any certificates given for attendance at any program approved by the Board.
(c) Reports from any program approved by the Board, to be furnished by the physician, showing his attendance as verified by the program organizer.

Waiver of CME Requirement

(a) Upon submittal of an application for waiver of CME requirements, the Board may, at its discretion, waive any of the requirements under special circumstances.
(b) Applications for waivers must be submitted on an annual basis to the Board for consideration.
(c) While in a Residency/Fellowship program, CME requirements may be waived upon certification from the program director.

CME Requirement for Inactive License

(a) The holder of an inactive license is exempt from CME requirements.
(b) In order to restore an inactive license to active status, the licensee shall have completed a minimum of twenty (20) hours of Category 1A as defined by the AOA during the 12-month period preceding the licensee's application for activation.

Sanctions for Noncompliance

(a) Any physician who has not completed 100 hours of approved CME or the prorated share during the two-year period shall be ineligible for renewal of his or her license to practice medicine until such time as the deficient hours of CME are documented to the Board.
(b) It shall constitute unprofessional conduct for any physician to misrepresent his or her compliance with the provisions of this article or who fails to comply with the provisions of this article.
(c) Each physician shall retain records for a minimum of four (4) years of all CME programs attended which indicate the title of the course or program attended, dates of attendance, the length of the course or program, the sponsoring organization and the accrediting organization, if any.

Approve Continuing Medical Education

The following CME programs are approved for credit:

(a) Those programs certified by AOA as Category 1 or 2 credit and those certified by the AMA and approved by the California Medical Association (CMA) as Category 1.
(b) Those programs which qualify for prescribed credit from the AOA specialty groups.
(c) Those programs offered by Board approved organizations and institutions.

Pain Management/Terminally Ill Patients

AB 487 adds Business and Professions Code section 2190.5; requiring all physicians and surgeons complete a mandatory CME course in subjects of pain management and the treatment of terminally ill and dying patients. The one-time requirement of 12 hours shall be completed by all physicians and surgeons licensed on or after January 1, 2002 and shall be completed within four (4) years of their initial license or by their second renewal date, whichever occurs first. Pathology and Radiology specialists are exempt.


  • Continuing Medical Education (CME) is required in order to renew your license to practice medicine.
  • 100 hours of CME is required for each two (2) year cycle, regardless of your license expiration date.
  • CME Reporting Periods: The reporting period is the two (2) years prior to renewal.
  • CME requirements by type:
Category # of Hours Examples
1A Min 40 hours,

1A or 1B
Formal education programs sponsored by recognized osteopathic institutions, organizations, and their affiliates which meet the definition of "osteopathic" CME.
  • Scientific papers and publications
  • Osteopathic medical teaching
  • AOA-accredited and/or approved hospital committee and departmental conferences concerned with review and evaluation of patient care
  • Life Support Courses
2A Max 60 hours,

2A or 2B
Formal education programs that are
  • ACGME-accredited,
  • AAFP approved,
  • and programs sponsored by AOA-accredited Category 1 CME sponsors which do not meet the quality guidelines for Category 1A credit.
  • Home study,
  • Reading medical journals
  • Viewing non-osteopathic medical video and audio tapes and cassettes, CD’s and DVD’s
  • Journal type CME on the Internet
  • Risk management programs that are administrative in nature.

For further clarification of the descriptions of various CME categories, please visit the AOA website

Rev: 1/18