Continuing Medical Education
Iowa has required continuing medical education for license renewal since 1978.
General Requirement for Renewal of a Permanent or Administrative Medicine License
- 40 hours of Category 1 credits are required for a two-year license renewal period. This may include up to 20 hours of Category 1 credit carried over from the previous license renewal period. The number of required Category 1 credits is pro-rated for anyone who holds a permanent or administrative medicine license that was issued for fewer than two full years.
- A physician who certifies or re-certifies with an ABMS or AOA specialty board during the license renewal period may claim 50 Category 1 credits.
- A resident or fellow may claim 50 Category 1 credits for participation in an approved residency or fellowship training program within the license renewal period.
- Activities designated as formal cognates by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or as prescribed credit by the American Academy of Family Physicians are accepted as equivalent to Category 1 credits.
Physicians are exempt from the requirement if they can document having done any of the following during the license renewal period:
- Served honorably on active duty in the military. A physician who was on active duty in the U.S. armed forces, reserves or national guard during their renewal period is not required to pay the renewal fee. “Active duty” means full-time training or active service in the U.S. armed forces, reserves or national guard.
- Practiced in another state or district and met that state’s CME requirement to maintain licensure. Physicians who reside in another state but provide services to patients in Iowa (including telemedicine services) are not eligible for this exemption. You may not take the CME exemption for states where no CME is required for renewal.
- Worked in the licensee's specialty as a government employee assigned to duty outside the United States
- Had other period(s) of active practice and absence from the state approved by the board
- Extension or Exemption of CME Requirement Due to Illness
The board may grant an exemption to a physician who has been unable to complete the CME requirement due to a physical disability or illness. The board may grant extra time for the physician to acquire the needed CMEs or the board may dispense with the requirement altogether. Each case is considered individually.
To request an exemption of the CME requirement, a physician must submit a statement describing the illness or disability. This statement must be signed by the licensee and his/her attending physician.
CME Requirement for Renewal of a Special License
Twenty hours of Category 1 credit are required for renewal of a special license. No carry-over hours are allowed. Read more information about renewing a special license.
Audit and Record Keeping
The board audits a number of renewing physicians each month to determine whether they have proof of continuing education or claimed exemption—whichever was used to meet the requirement for license renewal. The board may audit this information at any time within four years.
What to Submit if Selected for an Audit
Review the following categories and submit the requested information based on the information you entered on your application for renewal. The requested information must be submitted within one month from the date of notice.
If you claimed CME hours on your renewal, submit a copy of the certificates or other evidence showing completion of 40 Category 1 CME hours from your reporting period. If you claimed hours for being in a training program, submit a statement from the program verifying your participation during the renewal period. If you claimed hours for becoming certified or re-certified by an ABMS or AOA specialty board during the renewal period, provide a copy of your specialty board certificate or letter stating you obtained board certification or re-certification.
Training for Identifying and Reporting Abuse
If you claimed CME hours on your renewal and are in a specialty that is required to take the training for identifying and reporting child and/or dependent adult abuse, submit a copy of the certificate showing completion of the training within the last five years. Read about training opportunities.
Mandatory Training on Chronic Pain Management and End-of-Life Care
The Iowa Board of Medicine requires that some licensees complete mandatory training on chronic pain management and end-of-life care. Go to the our "Chronic Pain and End-of-Life Training" page for more information.
If you claimed the military exemption, submit a copy of the order assigning you to military duty or assigning you to duty outside the United States as a government employed physician during the renewal period.
Other State License Exemption
If you claimed the exemption for practicing and having a license in a state that has a continuing education requirement, submit a copy of the active medical license from that state. Physicians who reside in another state but provide services to patients in Iowa (including telemedicine services) are not eligible for this exemption.
Error in Submitting Renewal
If you claimed the military or other state license exemption in error, submit a statement indicating the error made and provide a copy of the CME certificates or other evidence showing completion of 40 Category 1 CME hours for your reporting period.
Licensees who fail to provide the above information within one month of the date of audit notification will be referred to the Enforcement Division of the Board for review and possible investigation.
Send all documents to:
Iowa Board of Medicine Attn: Licensure Department
400 SW 8th Street - Suite C
Des Moines, IA 50309