• Types of CME Credit

    What is Prescribed credit?

    AAFP Prescribed credit is designated for activities that are designed primarily for physicians. Content is directly related to patient care, patient care delivery, or certain nonclinical topics. A family physician who is an AAFP active or life member must be directly involved in the planning of the activity to ensure the content is relevant to the specialty of family medicine.

    Can you provide examples of AAFP Prescribed credit?

    Examples of AAFP Prescribed credit include:

    • CME activities for which application has been made to the AAFP Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD) that have been approved for AAFP Prescribed credit
    • Instruction of health professions learners in formal individual (e.g., preceptorships) or live educational formats
    • Most life support courses (e.g., ALSO, ACLS, ATLS, BLS, NALS, PALS)
    • American Family Physician and FPM journal quizzes
    • Most activities produced by the AAFP
    • Some point-of-care learning
    • Activities designated as Mainpro by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)
    • Scholarly activities

    If the activity I completed is not considered Prescribed credit, how is it recorded?

    The activity will be recorded as AAFP Elective credit, typically with a generic title beginning with "Formal Activity."

    What is AAFP Elective credit?

    Activities not individually approved by the AAFP as AAFP Prescribed credit that have been designated as American Medical Association (AMA) Physician's Recognition Award (PRA) Category 1 CreditTM or have been approved by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) are acceptable as AAFP Elective credit.

    Can you provide examples of AAFP Elective credit?

    • Professional enrichment activities for which proof of completion is not required, (e.g., other medical education experiences and activities, including independent examination preparation and informal self-study activities, such as reading a medical journal); these activities may or may not be documentable
    • Activities approved for American Medical Association (AMA) Physician’s Recognition Award (PRA) Category 1 Credit TM
    • Activities approved for American Osteopathic Association (AOA) credit
    • Programs created without family physician input and designed for nonphysician health care professionals, if they have medical education content of interest to family physicians

    What is the difference between AAFP Prescribed credit, American Medical Association (AMA) Physician’s Recognition Award (PRA) Category 1 Credit™, and American Osteopathic Association (AOA) credit?

    • When a CME activity is certified for AAFP Prescribed credit, it means that an application and supporting material were reviewed and approved by AAFP’s CME Credit Systems. The CME activity must be primarily designed for physicians and have an AAFP Active or Life member directly involved in the planning of the activity to ensure the relevance of the content to the specialty of family medicine.
    • When a CME activity is designated for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, the CME activity is directly or jointly sponsored by CME providers that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) or an authorized state medical society.
    • When a CME activity has AOA credit, it has been approved for credit by the AOA and may not have been reviewed for AAFP Prescribed credit.

    Are activities that receive American Medical Association (AMA) Physician’s Recognition Award (PRA) Category 1 Credit™ or American Osteopathic Association (AOA) credit automatically considered to have AAFP Prescribed credit?

    These activities are not automatically considered to have AAFP Prescribed credit. However, activities that have AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ and AOA-approved activities are automatically accepted as AAFP Elective credit.

    Is AAFP Prescribed credit accepted by other organizations?

    AAFP Prescribed credit is accepted by the American Medical Association (AMA) as equivalent to AMA Physician's Recognition Award (PRA) Category 1 Credit™ toward the AMA PRA. Many of the state licensing boards will accept AAFP Prescribed credit from members to meet CME requirements.

    I reported CME earlier in the year, and it was designated as AAFP Prescribed credit. Subsequent activities by the same CME provider are designated as AAFP Elective credit. Why?

    • The CME provider may have requested certification for some activities and not others.
    • Some providers choose to seek certification for a series of activities in monthly, quarterly, or yearly increments.

    You may contact us anytime at (800) 274-2237, or email us at aafp@aafp.org to inquire about the status of the CME credit, or you may contact the CME provider.

    Where can I find AAFP-approved CME opportunities?

    What are live activities?

    Live activities take place in real time, involve two or more physicians, and provide the opportunity for real-time interaction between learners and faculty. 

    Can you provide examples of live activities?

    Examples include:

    • Medical seminars or conferences
    • Lecture series
    • Teaching
    • Life support activities (e.g., ACLS, ATLS, BLS, NALS, PALS)
    • Live Internet activities

    Can I get CME credit for teaching students?

    You may report credit for teaching health professions learners. However, a maximum of 60 AAFP Prescribed credits may be reported during a three-year re-election cycle. Teaching is also considered a live activity.

    Can I receive credit for my Advanced Life Support Program?

    Yes. The following live activities are eligible for AAFP Prescribed credit:

    • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
    • ACLS Instructor Essentials
    • ACLS Support Recertification
    • Advanced Disaster Life Support (ADLS)
    • Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) Student Course
    • ATLS Student Refresher (1/2 Day)
    • ATLS Student Refresher (Full Day)
    • ATLS Instructor
    • Basic Disaster Life Support (BDLS)
    • Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers
    • BLS Instructor Essentials
    • Neonatal Resuscitation Provider Course
    • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
    • PALS Instructor Essentials

    What are enduring materials?

    Enduring materials are activities based on independent learning materials designed primarily as self-study activities.

    Examples include:

    • Monographs
    • Videos
    • Newsletters
    • Audio
    • Non-live online activities

    What are professional enrichment activities?

    Credit may be claimed, commensurate with participation, for partaking in other medical educational experiences and activities, such as independent exam preparation and informal self-learning activities. These activities may or may not be documented, and are not certified by the AAFP, AMA, AOA, but are of a nature of professional enrichment to the family physician.

    Examples include:

    • Live credits: medical staff meetings, journal club, clinical professional club
    • Individual credits: journal readings and other informal self-study activities, independent examination preparation

    Are there any activities that don't qualify for CME credit?

    Yes. Some examples include:

    • Activities produced by proprietary entities such as pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, or their agents
    • Enduring materials for which the term of approval has expired
    • Activities that teach or promote therapies that are determined by the Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD) to be dangerous or proved ineffective

    How many credits do I report for taking ABFM or AOA One-Day certification?

    Credit may be claimed for the certification or recertification examination through the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Members may self-report this credit up to a limit of 30 AAFP Prescribed credits per three-year cycle.

    Are there maximum credit allowances for certain CME activities during the three-year re-election cycle?


    • Professional enrichment: limited to 25 AAFP Elective credits
    • Advanced training: limited to 25 AAFP Prescribed credits
    • ABFM or AOA One-Day certification: limited to 30 AAFP Prescribed credits
    • Scholarly activities: limited to 100 AAFP Prescribed credits

    What is evidence-based CME?

    Evidence-based CME is clinical content presented with key practice recommendations supported by evidence that has been systematically reviewed by an approved source.

    How can I report credit for presentation/publication of a paper?

    These activities can be reported as scholarly activities.

    Additional Resources

    • Member CME Requirements - Learn about CME requirements for AAFP members.                             
    • Member Re-election - Learn about the AAFP three-year CME re-election cycle.