Maintaining Certifications in Different States

When physicians think about the certifications they require in order to stay current and to advance their knowledge, a reasonable worry is whether these certifications will transfer between states or whether each state requires its own coursework. Keep reading in order to learn about the ins and outs of maintaining certifications in different states. 

Types of Certification – A General Overview

There are two different areas of certification that physicians will need to maintain throughout their careers. Physician skills certifications demonstrate that a doctor is competent to perform certain tasks, and this certification covers areas such as basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS), pediatric advanced life support (PALS), and point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). In addition to maintaining these physician skills certifications, MDs will need to fulfill state continuing medical education (CME) requirements. Let’s dive into what is involved in maintaining both categories of certifications, and in different states.

Physician Skills Training Certifications

Many skills training certifications are awarded at the national level, meaning that they are valid in all 50 states. Here are the maintenance requirements for some of the most popular training certifications:

  • BLS, ACLS, & PALS Certifications – Most BLS, ACLS, and PALS certifications are valid for two years from the date of completion. Because all three of these courses are standardized within the US, the certifications are valid in most states.
  • POCUS Certification – Similar to the BLS, ACLS, and PALS certifications, the POCUS certification is also standardized at the national level and offers clinician, emergency medicine, and organ-specific certifications.

Fortunately and conveniently, medtigo offers all of the above certifications free to all members. It is likely to be advantageous for you to sharpen your skills by taking these courses, especially since the certifications are not limited to any particular state.

State CME Certification Requirements

Almost every state requires physicians to obtain a certain amount of CME credits within a certain time frame, ranging from 16 hours per year to 200 hours every four years. Based on the licensing requirements of your current state, you may have enough CME certification credits to meet the requirements in another state, as well. However, it is vital for you to check the various certification and credit requirements for other potential states in which you may wish to practice. Additionally, there may be further, specific certification requirements beyond basic CME hours. For example, New York requires CME certifications in topics such as infectious diseases and child abuse.

An important point to note is that these required hours may vary based on whether you are an MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). Although most states maintain the same CME criteria for both MDs and DOs, this is not always the case. For example, MDs in California are required to complete 50 credits every two years, while DOs must complete 100 credits every two years. This is largely because the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) regulates the CME structure for DO’s, while the American Medical Association (AMA) monitors the CME framework for MD’s.

Your awareness of the various factors mentioned in this article will allow you to retain peace of mind and to stay up to date on both your skills training and your state CME certifications in different states.

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