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 Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine's website at

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

For More Information Contact:

(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 (MA BORIM) with their renewal applications. The MA BORIM 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 Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine (MA BORIM) 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 MA BORIM will assign a renewal date to new licensees.

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

CME Requirements

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine (MA BORIM) 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 MA BORIM's CME Pilot Program policy, containing information about the specialized CME requirements.

Please review this chart outlining CME requirements required as part of license applications or license renewal.

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

Opioid Education and Pain Management

Each licensing cycle, physicians who prescribe controlled substances must earn 3.00 credits in opioid education and pain management. The 3.00 credits may be applied towards a physician’s biennially required 10 hours of risk management credits pursuant to 243 CMR 2.06(a)3.

For courses being offered by MMS to help meet this requirement, please visit:

Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Training – One-Time Requirement

Chapter 220 of the Acts of 2018, An Act Relative to Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias in the Commonwealth, requires that physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses and practical nurses take a one-time educational course on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. This educational training requirement only applies to licensees who serve adult populations. As part of its coordinated plan for the implementation of Sections 3 and 9 of this statute, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine adopted the following interim policy:

All applicants and licensees who apply for a license from November 7, 2018 through June 30, 2019, shall hereby be granted an administrative waiver of the Alzheimer’s educational training requirement for this licensing cycle. As of June 27, 2019, the waiver has been extended to December 31, 2019. All licensees will have until November 6, 2022 to complete this one-time requirement.

To meet the requirement, click here: Diagnosis, Treatment and Care of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias – 6 Module Series

For additional resources and support, visit

Implicit Bias in Health Care

Beginning June 1, 2022, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine (MA BORIM) will require that applicants for initial physician licensure and licensees renewing physician licensure complete a continuing medical education requirement of 2.00 credits on the topic of implicit bias in health care. The 2.00 credits may be applied towards a physician’s biennially required 10 hours of risk management credits pursuant to 243 CMR 2.06(a)3. Click here for more information on meeting the requirement.

View a list of available courses that the MA BORIM has identified as satisfying the Implicit Bias in Health Care CME requirement.

Demonstrating proficiency in EHR is a prerequisite to medical licensure in Massachusetts – One-time requirement

For details and information, please visit the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine’s Electronic Health Records (EHR) Questions page.

Physicians, Renewing Licensees and Lapsed Licensees must demonstrate proficiency in the use of EHR in one of the following ways:

  • Participation in a Meaningful Use program as an eligible professional; OR
  • Employment with, credentialed to provide patient care at, or in a contractual agreement with an eligible hospital or critical care access hospital with a CMS certified meaningful use program; OR
  • Participation as either a Participant or Authorized User in the Massachusetts Health Information Highway, “Mass HIway”; OR
  • Completion of three hours of a Category 1 EHR-related Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course that discusses, at a minimum, the Core and Menu Objectives and the Clinical Quality Measures for Meaningful Use. The three EHR credits may be used toward the required 10 risk management CPD credits.

    End-of-Life Care Issues Credit Requirement

    Massachusetts licensees are required to take 2 CME credits in End-of-Life Care issues, as a one-time requirement. The credits may be applied towards Risk Management and may be Category 1 or 2 credit.

    For courses being offered on End-of-Life Care, click here.

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

    Physicians renewing their Massachusetts 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.51A Online Mandated Reported Training by Middlesex Children's Advocacy Center at; 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 Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine.  This is a one-time requirement.

    Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Training – One-time requirement

    Per Chapter 260 of the Acts of 2014, An Act Relative to Domestic Violence, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine and other health profession boards are required to develop and administer licensing standards that include education and training on domestic violence and sexual violence. This online course meets this requirement: Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Continuing Education for Massachusetts Clinicians. The Department of Public Health (DPH) has also developed an e-Learning tool that can be accessed from the DPH’s DVSV Integration Initiatives webpage:  Only a DPH-approved course can fulfill the 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine (MA BORIM) 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 MA BORIM'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 Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine'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 (AMA) (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 Massachusetts 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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