Continuing Medical Education Information

In order to ensure continuing competence of a licensed physician assistant, a licensee must complete a minimum of fifty (50) hours of approved continuing medical education (CME) during each two (2) year renewal period immediately preceding the expiration of the license (Section 1399.615 of Title 16, California Code of Regulations).

On the renewal application, a physician assistant must certify under penalty of perjury that they have complied with the CME requirements. The CME requirements shall be deemed satisfied if the physician assistant is certified by the National Commission on Certification of PAs (NCCPA) at the time of renewal.

A physician assistant who does not complete the required hours of approved CME during the two-year period immediately preceding the expiration date of the license is ineligible for renewal unless the licensee has been granted a CME waiver or is renewing the license as inactive.

Upon the completion of the required CMEs, physician assistants are required to retain records issued by an approved continuing medical education provider for a period of four (4) years. Records issued by an approved continuing medical education provider shall indicate the title of the course or program attended, the dates of attendance, and the hours assigned to the course or program.

Unless contacted, you are not required to provide CME documentation to the Board.

Approved Continuing Medical Education Programs

Continuing medical education programs are approved by the Physician Assistant Board (Board) for CME if they are designated as Category I (Preapproved) by one of the following sponsors:

  • American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • American Osteopathic Association Council on Continuing Medical Education (AOACCME)
  • American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
  • Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)
  • A state medical society recognized by the ACCME

Effective January 1, 2022, a CME course that includes a direct patient care component must include curriculum that includes an understanding of implicit bias (Business and Professions Code section 3524.5).

Audit and Sanctions for Noncompliance

The Board is permitted by law to audit a random sample of physician assistants who certify under penalty of perjury on the renewal application compliance with the CME requirements (Business and Professions Code 3524.5). It constitutes unprofessional conduct for any physician assistant to misrepresent compliance with CME requirements (Section 1399.617 of Title 16, Code of Regulations). The Board may issue a citation or take disciplinary action against a licensee who is found to falsely represent compliance with the CME requirements.

Continuing Medical Education Waivers

If you are unable to complete the minimum CME requirements due to health, military service, or undue hardship, you may request a CME waiver (Section 1399.618 of Title 16, California Code of Regulations). The licensee must submit an Application for Continuing Medical Education Waiver (Waiver) (PDF) sixty (60) days prior to the expiration of the license. If a Waiver is denied by the Board, the licensee shall be ineligible for active renewal of their license unless the licensee complies with provisions of Section 1399.615 of Title 16, California Code of Regulations. A physician assistant who does not have an approved CME waiver at the time of renewal must comply with CME requirements or may renew the license in an inactive status.

Inactive Status

Physician assistants not actively practicing medicine in the State of California, or who do not meet the Board’s CME requirements at the time of renewal, may submit a Request for Inactive Status (PDF) if, at the time of application for inactive status, the license is current and not suspended, revoked, or otherwise punitively restricted by the Board (Section 1399.619 of Title 16, California Code of Regulations).

A licensee whose license is inactive shall not engage in any activity for which a license is required. The licensee shall renew and pay the renewal fee for an inactive license by the expiration date or the license status will be delinquent. Inactive licenses are exempt from paying the Controlled Substance Utilization Review Evaluation System fee.

If your license is inactive or a CME waiver has been granted, you are in compliance with the Board’s CME requirement and must answer “Yes” to the CME question. Visit DCA License Search to verify the license status.