Massachusetts Medical Society: Continuing Medical Education Requirements for Physician License Renewal in Massachusetts

Continuing Medical Education Requirements for Physician License Renewal in Massachusetts

The information below provides physicians with licensing requirements, guidelines, and interpretations addressing continuing medical education in Massachusetts. For additional information go to the Board of Registration in Medicine's website at

License renewal forms are available online at the Board of Registration in Medicine's website.

For More Information Contact:

MMS Department of Continuing Education and Certification 
860 Winter Street
Waltham, MA 02451-1411
(800) 322-2303, ext. 7306 or (781) 434-7306

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Continuing Medical Education Requirements for Physician License Renewal


Physicians should maintain records of their continuing medical education (CME) activities, but are not required to submit documentation to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine with their renewal applications. The Board may conduct an audit and randomly select physicians to forward evidence of CME credits listed on their renewal form. Therefore, it is important to keep adequate records of all CME credits earned within the biennial renewal cycle. 

Maintain a list of Category 1 CME activities and include the name of the provider of the activity, title, date(s) of attendance, and number of credits earned. Also record Category 2 CME activities. Be sure to list the approximate number of credits spent in each type of CME activity. Maintain CME records for at least one full license cycle (2 years) after the cycle in which credits were earned.

CME Reporting Cycle

To renew a medical license, physicians must certify compliance with state CME requirements. Licensees are required by law to renew their licenses biennially, on or before their birthdays. The Board will automatically forward a renewal application to each physician sixty days prior to his or her birthday. 

Physicians who receive an initial license within three months prior to their birthday will not be required to renew the registration until their birthday in the second year following the aforesaid birthday. The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine will assign a renewal date to new licensees.

For more information about licensing requirements, and frequently asked questions, go to:

CME Requirements

The Board of Registration in Medicine (BORM) implemented a CME Pilot Program beginning January 1, 2018, covering one biennial period.  The pilot program requires physicians obtain no fewer than 50 continuing medical education (CME) credits during their re-licensure cycle.

Please click here for the Board’s CME Pilot Program policy, containing information about the specialized CME requirements.

Please click here for FAQs on the Board’s CME Pilot Program. 

Click here for a listing of MMS Live CME Activities and click here for MMS Online CME Courses. 

    Recognize and Report Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect - One-time Requirement

    Physicians renewing their MA medical license must also demonstrate competence in the following area.  This is NOT an accredited CME/CPD requirement.  
    M.G.L. c. 119, §51A(k) required all mandated reporters (including physicians), professionally licensed by the Commonwealth, to complete training to recognize and report suspected child abuse or neglect. 

    Physicians may comply with the training requirement through:

    • Receiving training in child abuse or neglect assessment in medical school education or postgraduate training;
    • Completion of a hospital sponsored training program in recognizing the signs of child abuse and neglect;
    • Completion of continuing professional development (formerly known as continuing medical education credits) in identifying and reporting child abuse and neglect;
    • Completion of an on-line training program (i.e., The Middlesex Children’s Advocacy Center’s program “51A Online Mandated Reporter Training:  Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation”; or
    • Completion of a specialized certification (i.e., Child Abuse Pediatrics).

    Full license applicants must complete the requirement for training prior to submission of an application to the Board.  This is a one-time requirement.

    Medically Related Degrees

    Earning an advanced degree in an area related to medicine, such as a master's in public health, earns 25 Category 1 credits following the award of the degree.


    Enrollment in an ACGME-approved residency program within the year prior to the renewal date satisfies the CME requirement. Physicians earn 50 credits of Category 1 credit per year for full- or part-time participation as residents or fellows in an ACGME-accredited residency program. A fellowship not exceeding two years also qualifies. If completing a residency or fellowship program, individuals need to earn CME credits beginning with the first full (i.e., two-year) license renewal cycle after the program has ended.

    Specialty Board Certification or Recertification

    Physicians becoming certified or recertified by a specialty board accredited by the American Board of Medical Specialties or American Osteopathic Board may claim the equivalent of 60 credits in Category 1, exclusive of risk management study. Credits will only apply to the license renewal cycle in which the licensee receives notification from the specialty board of successful passage of the examination.

    Credit assignment: sixty (60) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

    Information and the direct credit application can be found at

    Volunteers for the Board

    A physician who serves as a volunteer for the Board of Registration in Medicine may claim the equivalent of a maximum of 20 credits in Category 1 for each two-year renewal cycle. Four credits may be applied to Category 1 risk management study. The Executive Director of the Board must certify such service.

    Medical Examiners

    The Board will grant the equivalent of four credits of required Category 1 credit in risk management study to medical examiners with active service or who can document attendance at appropriate professional society meetings, such as those conducted by the Massachusetts Medicolegal Society. Documentation must be submitted to and approved by the Board's Licensing Committee.

    Waiver of CME Requirements

    In the event that a physician is unable to complete the CME requirements by date of license renewal, a CME Waiver Request Form must be completed and submitted with the license renewal form to the Board no later than 30 days prior to the renewal date. Visit the Board's website at for specific details and the CME Waiver Request Form and instructions.

    Category 1 Credit Determination

    CME activities are designated for Category 1 credit by an accredited provider or joint provider. Category 1 activities can take the form of lectures, seminars, use of self-study materials, self-assessment programs, mini-residencies, and use of audio-visual or computer-based materials, on-line courses, video-conferences, etc. Click here for a more information on the AMA’s format-specific requirements and descriptions. 

    Only an institution or organization accredited to offer continuing medical education can designate a CME activity as earning Category 1 credit or Category 2 credit. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) is responsible for CME accreditation of medical schools, state medical societies, and other institutions and organizations that provide CME activities for a national or regional audience. State medical societies accredit institutions and organizations that provide CME activities primarily for physicians within the state or bordering states. CME credit and accreditation information must be prominently printed on all promotional literature. 

    The Physician's Recognition Award Information Booklet of the American Medical Association (version 3.0) has taken several actions regarding Category 1 credits for the AMA Physician's Recognition Award (PRA). The following activities are now accepted on an application for the PRA in addition to previously mentioned activities:

    1. Articles published in peer-reviewed journals (journals included in the Index Medicus) designated for AMA PRA category 1 credit™: 10 Category 1 credits for each article, 1 article per year. 
    2. Poster preparation for an exhibit at a medical meeting designated for AMA PRA category 1 credit™, with a published abstract: 5 Category 1 credits per poster, 1 presentation per year. 
    3. Teaching, e.g., presentations, in activities designated for AMA PRA Category 1 credit™: 2 Category 1 credits for each hour to a maximum of 10 credits per year. (Two (2) AMA PRA Category 1 credit hours for preparation and presentation of each hour of new and original material designated for Category 1 credit by an accredited sponsor, to a maximum of 10 credits per year.)

    For more information on these requirements,  visit the continuing education section of the AMA's website.

    Category 2 Credit Determination

    Category 2 study includes any of the following: 

    • Attendance at lectures and seminars designated Category 2 by an accredited provider of CME
    • Medical Teaching - Credits may be claimed for contact hours of teaching health professionals, including medical students, residents, practicing physicians, and allied health professionals. You must list type of education, subject, institution, address, and inclusive dates. Important: Teaching medical students and residents should not be reported by full-time faculty.
    • Articles, Publications, Books, and Exhibits - A maximum of 10 credits may be claimed only once for the medical or educational content of a publication or exhibit regardless of whether it is reissued or changed in format. 

    Non-supervised CME may include: 

    • Use of database or other computer-based materials in connection with patient care activities.
    • Use of self-instructive materials, such as audiovisual materials, teleconferences, programmed medical education materials, and computer assisted instruction.
    • Clinical consultations that contribute to a physician's education. (Involvement in informal educational consultations about a patient should be estimated and reported in hour blocks.) Important:  Ordinary case consultation should not be reported.
    • Discussion with colleagues about patient care and patient centered discussions with colleagues.
    • Participation in patient care review activities such as peer review, case conference, chart audit, service on hospital medical staff committees for tissue review, infections, pharmacy, and morbidity and mortality.
    • Journal club activities
    • Self-Assessment - Physicians may earn credit for time spent taking self-assessment examinations not eligible for Category 1 credit. 

    NOTE: Physicians must spend a minimum of 2 hours per licensing cycle studying the  Board of Registration in Medicine Regulations 243 CMR 1.00-5.00. Credit may be earned in Category 2 or, when appropriate, in Category 1.

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