Continuing Medical Education (CME)

The educational activities that serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession. CME represents that 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 healthcare to the public.

CME activity

An educational offering that is planned, implemented, and evaluated in accordance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria, Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, and policies; the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award CME credit system standards and policies; and the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs pertinent opinions.

Accredited CME provider

An organization accredited as a provider of continuing medical education. Accredited CME providers assume the responsibility and accountability for developing certified educational activities. ACCME-accredited providers represent a range of organizational types and offer CME primarily to national or international audiences of physicians and other health care professionals. Intrastate-accredited providers offer CME primarily to learners from their state/territory or contiguous states.

Commercial support

Financial or in-kind support from an ACCME-defined ineligible company that is used to pay all or part of the costs of a CME activity. The requirements for receiving and managing commercial support are explained in the ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, specifically Standard 4: Manage Commercial Support Appropriately.

In-kind commercial support

In the context of the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, non-monetary support provided by an ineligible company used for a CME activity. Examples of in-kind support include use of equipment and supplies.

Live activity

Activity that occurs at a specific time as scheduled by the accredited CME provider. Participation may be in person or remotely as is the case of teleconferences or live internet webinars.

Enduring material

An activity that endures over a specified time and does not have a specific time or location designated for participation; rather, the participant determines whether and when to complete the activity. Examples: online interactive educational module, recorded presentation, podcast.


Regularly scheduled series (RSS) is a live activity planned as a series with multiple, ongoing sessions, offered weekly, monthly, or quarterly. An RSS is primarily planned by and presented to the accredited organization's professional staff and generally targets the same audience over the whole series. Examples include grand rounds, tumor boards, and morbidity and mortality conferences.

Live activities where the same content is offered multiple times for different audiences DO NOT qualify as RSS and should be listed as separate live courses.

Each series is reported for a maximum of a 12-month period. If a series lasts longer than 12 months, it is reported as a separate activity.

Ineligible Company

Companies that are ineligible to be accredited in the ACCME System (ineligible companies) are those whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

Financial relationships

Accredited providers must collect information from all planners, faculty, and others in control of educational content about all their financial relationships with ineligible companies within the prior 24 months. There is no minimum financial threshold; individuals must disclose all financial relationships, regardless of the amount, with ineligible companies. Individuals must disclose financial relationships with ineligible companies regardless of their view of the relevance of the relationship to the education. See also relevant financial relationships.

Relevant financial relationships

As defined in the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, specifically, Standard 3: Identify, Mitigate, and Disclose Relevant Financial Relationships, relevant financial relationships are financial relationships of any amount with ineligible companies if the educational content is related to the business lines or products of the ineligible company. Providers are required to collect information from all those individuals in control of educational content about all of their financial relationships with ineligible companies within the prior 24 months. The provider is then responsible for determining which relationships are relevant.

American Medical Association (AMA)
Learn more about CME and more specifically, AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.

Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)
ACCME sets the accreditation criteria for continuing medical education.

Nurse Credentialing FAQs
the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ issued by organizations accredited by the ACCME for the purpose of recertification.

Nurse Practitioners CE
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certified Program (AANPCP) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) accept AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Physician Assistants CE
American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME or a recognized state medical society.