CME Categories

Category 1

Category 1 CME focuses on education for a designated speciality content area. Requirements are set forth by your speciality board and by each individual state. These requirements can be completed in the form of lectures, conferences, and online programs. BoardVitals offers an online self-assessment question banks that allow physicians to earn up to 100 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ hours in less than a day.

The AMA defines CME Category 1 as:

AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ is commonly recognized as one of the metrics for verifying a physician’s participation in continuing medical education (CME) activities. These and other types of credit—such as the American Academy of Family Physicians Prescribed and Elective credits, the American Osteopathic Association CME credits, or the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Cognate credits—are accepted by many credentialing bodies for meeting various CME requirements. These bodies include licensing boards in 46 states, as well as specialty boards, the Joint Commission and other credentialing entities.

Category 2

Category 2 CME activities are needed to quality for the AMA’s Physician's Recognition Award, a certificate that highlights a physician's commitment to ongoing education. These hours are not mandatory and do not need to be verified by an external source. For those who opt to qualify, these hours will need to be documented. For more information on PRA, click here. BoardVitals questions banks can help you earn Category 2 hours in addition to Category 1.

The AMA defines Category CME 2 as:

The AMA recognizes that there are other educational experiences that may not be developed by an accredited CME provider or may not qualify for direct credits, but that do provide valuable learning for the physician.

Examples of such activities include:

  • Teaching residents, medical students or other health professionals
  • Unstructured online searching and learning (i.e., not Internet PoC)
  • Reading authoritative medical literature
  • Consultation with peers and medical experts
  • Group discussions
  • Self-assessment activities
  • Medical writing
  • Preceptorships
  • Research
  • Participating in live activities not designated for AMA PRA Category

For many physicians, Category 2 may be specific MOC points or other specific designated activities. In the case of BoardVitals, our activities usually fill both Category 1 and Category 2 requirements at the same time.

Category 3

Category 3 CME is needed every 3-5 years as a part of Maintenance of Certification and is earned through teaching related activities. These hours are approved by hospitals and institutions in an accredited residency program. Check with your hospital to see how many hours may be required.

Note that in some cases - Category 3 is more commonly recognized as a recertification exam that is taken every 5 or 10 years depending on the specialty.

Category 4

Depending on your speciality, some Category 4 CME credits may also be required. Category 4 encourages physicians to contribute to the future of medical education. To earn hours, activities include research and presentation of scientific exhibits. Credits can also be earned through publication of scientific articles or books. To document completion, a copy of the meeting agenda or letter from a professional organization official will be accepted.