Continuing Medical Education Credits (CMEs)

Board regulations at 263 CMR 3.05 (3) require physician assistants, as a condition of biennial renewal, to certify under the pains and penalties of perjury, that he or she has completed at least 100 hours of continuing education in courses or programs approved by the AAPA, the AMA or like accrediting body approved by the Board since the date of his or her last registration. At least 40 hours of such continuing education must be in course or programs which meet the criteria of Category I courses or programs established by the AMA or AAPA.

For physician assistants with prescription privileges at least 4 CMEs must be in pharmacology (263 CMR 5.07 (6)). Additionally, as of January 1, 2011, pursuant to MGL 94C, Section 18(e), all prescribers, upon initial application for a MA Controlled Substance Registration (MCSR) and subsequently during each PA license renewal period, must complete education relative to:

  • effective pain management,
  • identification of patients at high risk for substance abuse, and
  • counseling patients about the side effects, addictive nature and proper storage and disposal of prescription medications.

Please note that MGL 94C, Section 18(e) does not specify a minimum number of contact hours to comply with this education requirement. All continuing education offerings must be consistent with the Board of Registration of Physician Assistants (Board) requirements at 263 CMR 3.05 (3). By signing the MCSR form and by your signature on your license renewal form, you attest under penalties of perjury that you have complied with state tax and child support laws, mandatory reporting laws, and all Board laws and regulations, including continuing education requirements.

The Board reserves the right to require any registered physician assistant to submit written documentation satisfactory to the Board of his or her completion of all or part of such continuing education either individually or through a random audit process.

The Board's CME periods begins on March 1 of an odd year and runs through March 1 of the next odd year. The Board may request that a physician assistant provide his or her CMEs up to two years after a previous cycle has ended. Licensees must keep their CME documentation for at least two full years after a CME cycle has ended. For example, CME documentation for the 2009 - 2011 CME cycle must be retained until at least March 1, 2013.

Category I: Acceptable documentation for Category I hours must state that the activity has been approved by an appropriate accrediting body, indicate the number of Category I hours awarded, the date(s) of the activity and the name of the licensee. If the documentation does not state this information the activity cannot be considered a Category 1 CME.

Category II: Category II CMEs are any activity that enhances the skills of a physician assistant and can include precepting, journal reading, attending grand rounds. Acceptable supporting documentation includes letters of verification from physician assistant training programs for precepting, logs of journal readings, hospital-generated lists of grand rounds and other programs attended, or other written verification of attendance or hours earned from a CME activity.

The Board does not accept the NCCPA's CME History ("My Record") online CME tracking tool as documentation of earned CMEs. Also note that the dates of the Board's CME cycle may not be the same as a licensee's NCCPA CME period.

June 27, 2011

This information is provided by the Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health.