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Four years of medical school, 3-4 years of residency (depending on a fellowship), and then the next 40 years of medical practice!  As residents and new physicians completing your 4 + 4, you are headed into your next 40 . . . the years of Continuing Medicine Education (CME), Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and Maintenance of Certification (MC-FP).  Fortunately the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) is here to assist you on the journey.

CME and MC-FP are your roads to lifelong learning; they meet the requirements for ongoing Academy membership, board certification, fellowship, state licensure, hospital credentialing, and more. 


Types of Credit

Now the fun begins, a whole new set of acronyms comes into play for you. CME credit is not just CME credit – it can be Prescribed, Elective AMA PRA, enduring, group, enrichment, Category 1-B. Here is a quick list that will help you decipher what you need:

AAFP Prescribed Credit: Prescribed credit is designated for activities that are designed primarily for physicians with content directly related to patient care, patient care delivery or certain non-clinical topics. A family physician who is an Active or Life AAFP member must be directly involved in the planning of the activity. This credit is approved by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

AMA PRA Category 1 TM:  CME activities developed and presented by an Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education accredited provider.

AOA 1-A Credit: Formal education programs sponsored by recognized osteopathic institutions, organizations, and their affiliates which meet the definition of “osteopathic” CME.


State of California

Medical licenses in California are the purview of two organizations, the Medical Board of California (MD) and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California (DO).  Fortunately, they are very similar to the requirements you have for AAFP-CAFP membership and ABFM board certification. The MBC audits 10 percent of licenses annually and a current membership in AAFP-CAFP fulfills the audit. AAFP Prescribed Credit is deemed equivalent to AMA PRA Category 1 Credit TM for purposes of licensure in California. 


CME Credits Required

Term (Years)

AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM Required *

Required Topics





1 time requirement of 12 credits in pain mgmt. and end-of-life care; If >25% of patients are over 65, 20 hours in geriatric medicine or care of older patients required for all general internists and family physicians.




60 (AOA 1-A or B)



Requirements for Membership

Active and Supporting (FP) members must submit at least 150 credits every three calendar years. This is called a re-election cycle. The 150 credits must include at least 75 Prescribed credits and 25 from Live learning activities.

An exemption of the 25 credits of Live activity is allowed for members who submit evidence that they are providing medical care in a missionary/charitable practice setting in an overseas practice for more than a 12-month period. Members in other membership categories (i.e., Life, Inactive, Resident) are not required to report CME but may do so to maintain a centralized location for their CME Record.

Requirements for Re-election

Active and Supporting (FP) members are required to report 150 credits of CME every three calendar years as a condition of continued membership. This is called a re-election cycle. For those members in their first re-election cycle, the cycle is four years—the year they became an Active member and the next three full calendar years. In order to be eligible for re-election, members must earn the required CME credits within the re-election cycle. Once members have met the CME requirement, they are “re-elected” to AAFP/CAFP membership. You can check your re-election status at any time, online at

If re-election requirements are not met, membership is terminated.

For more details, including what types of activities qualify for credit, how to report your credit, and reporting deadlines, click here.


American Board of Family Medicine

MC-FP, the Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians process provided by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), is the means by which the ABFM continually assesses Diplomats. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), sensing growing and repeated threats from outside the medical field, determined that ABMS specialists within every discipline should be required to meet the highest standards of accountability. In response, the ABMS designed a process called Maintenance of Certification, and each specialty board agreed to adhere to a set structure in developing their individual programs. This structure consists of four components, each designed to assess important physician characteristics: professionalism (Part I), self-assessment and lifelong learning (Part II), cognitive expertise (Part III), and performance in practice (Part IV). Although these elements are similar to and consistent with the ABFM’s long-standing recertification program, the ABFM Maintenance of Certification process stresses the importance of ongoing participation in activities that evaluate each of these components between recertification examinations. ABFM MC-FP is a requirement that the ABFM believes encourages clinical excellence and benefits both physicians and their patients.


Certification MC-FP Exam

Candidates seeking certification must meet the eligibility criteria specified by the American Board of Family Medicine. All primary exams administered by the ABFM are referred to as the Maintenance of Certification (MC-FP) Exam regardless of whether a physician is certifying for the first time or recertifying. The examination for residents seeking initial certification is administered in April and November.

Did you begin your family medicine residency prior to June 1, 2012? 

If so, you must complete the following to be Board certified:

Successful performance on the ABFM MC-FP Examination

The Program Director verifies that you have successfully met all of the ACGME program requirements

You obtain a currently valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the US or Canada

If you entered residency on or after June 1, 2012, your requirements have changed. 

Here’s what you need:

Completion of 50 MC-FP points which includes:

o   Minimum of one (1) Self-Assessment Module (SAM)-15 points each

o   Minimum of one (1) Part IV Performance in Practice activity with data from a patient population-20 points each

o   Additional approved Part II or Part IV activities to reach a minimum of 50 points.

Application and full examination fee for the MC-FP examination

Attainment of a full, valid, unrestricted and permanent medical license and compliance with the Guidelines on Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct

Successful completion of family medicine residency training and verification by the program

Successful completion of the MC-FP examination

In order to satisfy the minimum requirement of one Self-Assessment Module (Part II) module, you MUST complete one of the Part II activities

For complete details, including eligibility requirements for your initial certification, application process and fees, testing criteria, registration with the ABFM, Part II and Part IV topics and alternatives, licensure requirements, deadlines and click here.