Obtaining AAPA Category 1 CME credit adds value and improves marketability of any continuing medical education (CME) activity.
AAPA is the national organization that advocates for all PAs and provides tools to improve PA practice and patient care. Founded in 1968, AAPA represents a profession of more than 115,500 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the uniformed services.
CME providers know that with AAPA approval …
- You’ll reach a wider audience of PAs and NPs.
- Your credibility is enhanced by meeting AAPA standards.
- You can use the widely-recognized AAPA CME logo, which serves as an effective visual in marketing materials.
- You have the option to post the activity on AAPA’s CME calendar to further extend your reach. (Fees may apply.)
PAs know that if an activity is AAPA approved …
- It’s appropriate and relevant to your scope of practice.
- It will count toward requirements for national certification and state licensure.
- PAs are truly welcome and valued. The activity is not intended for physicians only.
* NPs can often claim AAPA Category 1 CME credit as continuing education with AANP and ANCC. AAPA recommends that NPs check with their certification/licensing authority to confirm that AAPA credit is acceptable.
Eligibility General Guidelines
CME credits are awarded for appropriate clinical and professional educational activities designed to assist healthcare professionals with continued medical education needed to enhance the ability to provide quality care to patients.
All requests are reviewed for educational and scientific merit, audience scope, and compliance with legal, ethical and professional obligations. In particular, to be eligible for AAPA CME approval, be sure to:
- Plan the activity in accordance with AAPA CME standards, which include the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support (PDF).
- Apply for AAPA approval prior to the event or activity launch date.
- Ensure that the activity is relevant to PA practice. The activity must empower PAs to improve patient care, improve systems of healthcare, or advance the profession as a whole.
- Determine in advance how you will record and verify learner participation.
- Create meaningful learning objectives (approximately 3 per credit requested) that are shared with prospective participants prior to the activity.
- Collect evaluations after the activity so that learners can provide feedback on the quality of the program and the extent to which it met the learning objectives.
You will also need to prepare to collect and retain attendance or participation records. Approval of your activity is contingent upon your agreement to provide a small amount of follow-up data after the accreditation period ends. This varies slightly by request type, but usually involves a count and list of PAs who participated in the activity.
AAPA Standards & Policies
Category 1 CME Request Types
AAPA offers the following request types. Click a link below to see the definition, accreditation period, any eligibility requirements unique to that type and to download sample supporting documents for your application.
- Submit your request at least 21 days in advance of the activity start date for normal processing. Requests submitted less than 21 days in advance of the activity start date are subject to rush fees.
- Please allow up to three weeks for the AAPA Review Panel to reach a decision following our standard process. Actual review times vary and are impacted by work load, staff resources, and the number of rush requests we’ve received. If reviewers need to request additional information, review of your activity could take longer. If you’ve marked your application for rush processing, you will receive a decision within seven calendar days.
- You may not use AAPA Category 1 CME credit logos in your marketing until/unless your activity is approved.
- AAPA does not approve activities retroactively. Nor do we accept requests less than seven days in advance of the event/activity date, simply because there isn’t enough time to review them.
Process to Apply for CME Approval
AAPA’s application process is entirely online. Approval decisions and any requests for additional information are sent via email, so please supply a current email address. The instructions below may be downloaded for your convenience: How to Apply for AAPA Category 1 CME Credit (PDF).
Register for an account if neither you nor your organization has submitted CME approval requests previously. In order to do so, you will need to obtain a signed copy of your organization’s W-9 Form (which displays your employer identification number, also known as your organization’s Tax ID). Once you have a digital copy of the W-9, click the “Register” button, and complete the one-page form all at once.
Login using your own or a shared account. If you need help retrieving login credentials, call 703-836-2272 for assistance. Check that your contact information is up-to-date by clicking the “Profile” link in the top right corner before you start a new request. It’s essential that we have a current email address to reach you for questions and to notify you of approval.
- Determine which request type best describes your CME activity. (Unsure? Call us at 703-836-2272 for assistance.) You will find eligibility requirements, sample supporting documents, and tips for a smooth application process by following one of the links below:
- Live Program
- Enduring Activity
- Self-Assessment CME
- Performance Improvement
- Regularly Scheduled Series
- Precepting for Accredited PA Programs
- Hospital and Health-System Quality Improvement
- Click “New Request” to begin your application. Be sure to complete all required fields marked with a red asterisk.
- Pay the application fees. As the last step in the online application, you may pay the application fees by credit card. Paying by credit card is recommended because your request will move into our review queue without delay and you can obtain a receipt immediately (click on the “Generate Receipt” link). Alternatively, you may choose the “pay by check” radio button and mail us a check. If paying by check, be sure to include the Request ID on the check stub or in the memo line. Please bear in mind thatwe will not begin reviewing your application until we receive payment.
- Allow up to three weeks to hear back from the AAPA Review Panel. If our reviewer panel requires more information or your application is incomplete, you will receive a request for more information via email. The AAPA Review Panel’s decision on your request is also sent via email.
After Your Activity is Approved
- Accept AAPA’s CME agreement if your CME approval request is granted. Login to AAPA’s CME Approval Software and click the “Accept Agreement” link.
- Use the AAPA CME logo and accreditation statements in your marketing materials, printed program and front matter. A link to the correct AAPA credit logo and an accreditation statement are found in your CME Agreement. Please use the accreditation statement verbatim, with one exception: if the maximum number of credits that an individual could earn (due to the presence of concurrent sessions) is lower than the total number of approved credits, please use the maximum number of credits that an individual could earn.
- Issue certificates to participating learners when appropriate. Sample certificates are available from the pages detailing each of the request types. (As the CME provider, issuing certificates is your responsibility. PAs are responsible for logging the credits they earn. AAPA does not perform either of these functions.) Please use the accreditation statement provided to you in your CME Agreement verbatim, with one exception: if the maximum number of credits that an individual could earn (due to the presence of concurrent sessions) is lower than the total number of approved credits, please use the maximum number of credits that an individual could earn.
- Provide AAPA with follow‑up information. After completion of your activity (or at the end of your accreditation period), return to AAPA’s CME Approval Software and click on the “Please Reconcile” In general, this entails entering the number of people (PAs, NPs, MDs, and other professionals) who completed your activity, and then uploading a participant list (names only is sufficient) and a summary of the evaluations collected from participants. Different request types vary slightly in this regard.
If your activity is approved by the AAPA Review Panel, you will receive an email with the precise accreditation statement and AAPA CME logo to include in your marketing materials and on certificates of completion issued to learners. You may not use AAPA CME logos nor claim AAPA approval until you have in fact received an approval from AAPA. Doing so may result in denial of current and/or future CME applications.
Language to Use Prior to Receiving AAPA Approval
You may publish the following three sentences in any advance marketing, prior to applying and/or receiving approval of AAPA Category 1 CME credit for your activity:
“This program is not yet approved for CME credit. Conference organizers plan to request ____ AAPA Category 1 CME credits from the AAPA Review Panel. The total number of approved credits is yet to be determined.”
Activities Already Designated for Physician Credit
PAs generally know that programs approved for Category 1 CME credit by an ACCME accredited provider, AAFP and/or AOA will count towards PA certification maintenance requirements. If you wish to make this explicit in your promotional materials, you could use one of the following statements.
If your program is already designated for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
PAs may claim a maximum of ____ Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.
If your program is already designated for AOA Category 1A Credit
PAs may claim a maximum of ____ Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AOA Category 1A Credit.
If your program is already designated for AAFP Prescribed Credit
PAs may claim a maximum of ____ Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AAFP Prescribed Credit.
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