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Seeking CME accreditation

Obtaining accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) is a benchmark of quality continuing medical education (CME) activities that are planned, implemented and evaluated by ACCME-accredited providers in accordance with ACCME's Essential Areas and Elements and Accreditation Policies (accreditation requirements). ACCME accreditation assures the medical community and the public that these activities provide physicians with information that can assist them in maintaining or improving their practice of medicine. These activities are free of commercial bias and based on valid content.

Upon approval, the accredited provider can designate as many AMA PRA Category 1 Credits as it chooses during the approved term (two to six years) as long as the CME activities are planned in accordance with ACCME regulations.

Source: ACCME website.

Accreditation bodies

Just as the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is responsible for the accreditation of post-MD medical training programs within the United States, the ACCME is responsible for the accreditation of organizations and institutes that provide CME activities for physicians.

The ACCME has a two-pronged approach to ensure access to accreditation for all providers. The ACCME:

  • accredits organizations and institutions with a national audience and
  • recognizes State Medical Societies as an accrediting body for organizations and institutions with intra-state audiences.

Though the accrediting agency could be the ACCME or the State Medical Society, all providers must follow the same rules and regulations. Application processes, timelines and fees can vary between the ACCME and the State Medical Society.

Organizations with a national audience seeking accreditation

Organizations or institutions with a national audience should contact the ACCME directly. It is recommended that prior to making the initial inquiry, the information for first-time applicants on the ACCME be reviewed. Learn more about the ACCME accreditation process.

Organizations with an intra-state audience seeking accreditation

The first step in seeking accreditation is to determine if the state medical society is recognized by the ACCME. A majority of state medical societies have undergone this process, but there are a few that have chosen not to become an accreditation body for intra-state providers.

View a list of ACCME-recognized state medical societies and their contact information.

Each state medical society has the authority to determine its own fee schedule and administrative policies. This translates into varying fees and approval timelines. Initial application fees can range from $350 up to $3,500 or more. Annual fees can range from $150 to $2,000 or more. Some state medical societies might also expect an applicant to cover the survey team’s expenses (the volunteers who review the application and documentation).