American Academy of Physician Assistants

CME FAQs

Have a question about CME? The answer is probably in our CME FAQs, a list of general CME questions as well as questions frequently asked by new graduates.

  1. When am I eligible to earn CME for NCCPA certification maintenance?
  2. What is Category 1 credit and how can I earn it?
  3. What is Category 2 credit and how can I earn it?
  4.  For logging credits with NCCPA, can I complete AAPA post-tests that I received before I graduated and became certified?
  5. How do I log my CME credits?
  6. Do I need to submit my CME certificates when I log my credits with NCCPA for certification maintenance?
  7.  When logging credits with NCCPA, are national certification programs such as ACLS, PALS, etc., considered regular category 1 CME Credit?
  8. How do I access certificates for post-tests that I have completed in the past through AAPA?
  9. I am going to attend a conference and want to know if I can claim CME credit. How can I verify that the credits earned will count as Category 1 for me when logging with NCCPA?
  10. I am planning to attend a conference that is not approved for AAPA Category 1 CME credit or the equivalent. As an attendee, can I apply to AAPA for the credit approval?
  11. I would like to attend the AAPA Annual Conference, but I have already earned all of my required CME credit for this two-year cycle with NCCPA. Can I use credits earned at this conference for my next two-year cycle?
  12. I am planning to take the PANCE/PANRE. Do you recommend any review materials or review courses for the exam?
  13. I work for a CME provider who would like to offer CME to PAs. How do we apply for AAPA Category 1 CME credit?
  14. Does maintaining my national certification with NCCPA satisfy CME requirements for state licensure renewal?  

1. When am I eligible to earn CME for NCCPA certification maintenance?

PAs may earn CME credit for national certification maintenance beginning with the issuance date on their NCCPA certificate.

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2. What is Category 1 credit and how can I earn it?

Category 1 CME consists of educational activities which serve to maintain, develop or increase the knowledge or skills that a PA uses to provide services for patients, the public or the profession.

The content of Category 1 CME is the body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine and the provision of health care to the public.

For NCCPA national certification maintenance, there are 3 different types of Category 1 CME for PAs: Regular Category 1 CME, Category 1 Self-Assessment CME, and Category 1 Performance Improvement CME (PI-CME).

Regular Category 1 CME activities must be reviewed and approved by one of the following organizations for the corresponding type of credit:

Sponsor (organization approving CME credit)

Credit Designation

American Academy of Physician Assistants

AAPA Category 1 CME credit

American Osteopathic Association

Category 1-A

American Academy of Family Physicians

Prescribed Credit

Organizations accredited by the Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education. 

(The American Medical Association is part of this group.)

AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) Royal College MOC credits
College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) Mainpro C or Mainpro-M1 CPD credits
Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada (PACCC) Mainpro C or Mainpro-M1 CPD credits

Category 1 Self-Assessment CME activities must be reviewed and approved by the following organization for the corresponding type of credit:

Sponsor (organization approving CME credit)

Credit Designation

American Academy of Physician Assistants

AAPA Category 1 Self-Assessment CME credit

In recognition of the value of self-assessment and its role in continuous professional development, NCCPA is now offering an additional incentive to encourage PA participation in self-assessment activities. For all activities approved for AAPA Category 1 Self-assessment CME credit, NCCPA will now apply an additional 50% weighting when those self-assessment credits are logged for NCCPA certification maintenance purposes. In other words, if a PA logs 20 AAPA Category 1 Self-assessment CME credits with NCCPA, they will count as 30 of their total 100 credit requirement for that 2 year CME cycle.

PAs should be aware that the extra weighting for self-assessment activities is only relevant to NCCPA certification. States that require CME for license renewal purposes do not apply any additional weighting for self-assessment and PAs must claim those credits exactly as awarded on their CME certificates.

 Category 1 PI-CME activities must be reviewed and approved by the following organization for the corresponding type of credit:

Sponsor (organization approving CME credit)

Credit Designation

American Academy of Physician Assistants

AAPA Category 1 PI-CME credit

Acknowledging the evidence detailing PI-CME’s positive impact on outcomes, NCCPA has announced a new incentive for completing PI-CME activities: The first 20 PI-CME credits logged during every two-year cycle will now be doubled when logged with NCCPA.

PAs should be aware that the extra weighting for PI-CME activities is only relevant to NCCPA certification. States that require CME for license renewal purposes do not apply any additional weighting for PI-CME and PAs must claim those credits exactly as awarded on their CME certificates.

Every PA should receive a certificate of completion or letter of participation upon completion of a Category 1 CME program.

Please note that acceptable credit types for individual state licensing boards may vary. You can access the State Laws and Regulations webpage for individual state requirements.
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3. What is Category 2 credit and how can I earn it?

Category 2 credit is elective and must be related to medicine, patient care or other professional issues such as reimbursement and CPT coding.

  • Reading medical journals or texts
  • Attending meetings provided by pharmaceutical companies that are promotional
  • Clinical research on the Internet

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4. For logging credits with NCCPA, can I complete JAAPA post-tests that I received before I graduated and became certified?

Yes, as long as the post-tests have not expired and you complete them after the issuance date on your NCCPA certificate. (JAAPA post-tests may be submitted for up to one year from publication date.)

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5. How do I log my CME credits?

For national certification maintenance, you must log your CME credit hours with NCCPA. Be sure to have the following information available:

  • Title of the program
  • Provider - the organization that is administering the program
  • Number of credits
  • Sponsor - the organization that designates the program for CME credit.

Download (PDF) a list of sponsors that PAs may use for Category 1 CME credit for certification maintenance with NCCPA.

If you are logging for your state license only, please contact your state licensing board for instructions.

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6. Do I need to submit my CME certificates when I log my credits with NCCPA for certification maintenance?

Not initially, but be sure to keep documentation of all your Category 1 CME activities for 7 years in case you are audited by NCCPA. Check with your state licensingboard regarding their individual auditing and documentation requirements.

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7. When logging credits with NCCPA, are national certification programs such as ACLS, PALS, etc., considered regular Category 1 CME Credit?

Yes. Refer to this listing of national certification programs that are approved for AAPA Category 1 CME credit (PDF).

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8. How do I access certificates for post-tests that I have completed in the past through AAPA?

Visit Learning Central and go to "My Transcript"; it will include post-tests you have taken through AAPA. You will be able to view and print a certificate for post-tests completed successfully. You can also add activities and upload documentation completed with other CME providers. Use "My Transcript" to keep track of all of your CME in one place. If you received less than 70 percent correct on a post-test, you will have the option to retake that test.

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9. I am going to attend a conference and want to know if I can claim CME credit. How can I verify that the credits earned will count as Category 1 for me when logging with NCCPA?

Look in the promotional brochure or advertisement for the accreditation statement, which will indicate what type of credit can be earned at the conference. Then refer to this complete list of acceptable sponsors (PDF) for Category 1 CME for NCCPA certification maintenance. Programs approved for nursing credit only should be logged as a Category 2 (elective) activity.

 Please note that acceptable credit types for individual state licensing boards may vary. You can access the State Laws and Regulations webpage for individual state requirements.

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10. I am planning to attend a conference that is not approved for AAPA Category 1 CME or the equivalent. As an attendee, can I apply to AAPA for CME credit approval?

No. Only the provider of the CME program may apply to AAPA for Category 1 CME approval. If the program has not received AAPA CME approval you may still claim the activity as Category 2 CME. Refer to the AAPA CME approval process.

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11. I would like to attend the AAPA Annual Conference, but I have already earned all of my required CME credit for this two-year cycle with NCCPA. Can I use credits earned at this conference for my next two-year cycle?

Credits earned between May and December of the year your certification expires (the second year of your two year cycle) may apply toward either your current NCCPA two-year cycle, or the next cycle two-year cycle.

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12. I am planning to take the PANCE/PANRE. Do you recommend any review materials or review courses for the exam?

Although AAPA does not endorse or guarantee any of these courses or materials, AAPA does maintain a list of review materials and courses for the PANCE/PANRE exam.

JAAPA publishes a recertification refresher series every month and archived articles are available.

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13. I work for a CME provider who would like to offer CME to PAs. How do I apply for AAPA Category 1 CME credit?

Download complete instructions and forms. Specific questions can be emailed to cmeapproval@aapa.org.

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14. Does maintaining my national certification with NCCPA satisfy CME requirements for state licensure renewal? 

While most states accept current NCCPA certification as a proxy for satisfying CME requirements, individual requirements vary by state. Please refer to Statutory and Regulatory Requirements for Licensure and License Renewal (PDF) for specific state requirements. 

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Still have questions?

Email AAPA or call 703-836-2272 and ask to speak with a member of the Education team.

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