For first-time, or initial applicants, the accreditation process takes twelve to eighteen months. To begin and support your process, please review the educational information about ACCME accreditation and expectations, found in the Ask ACCME Q&A and Education pages of this website. Included are written and video questions-and-answers, “Perspectives” interviews with CME providers, and educational tutorials.
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If your organization is considering applying for ACCME initial accreditation, there are several factors you should consider in determining whether ACCME accreditation is right for you:
Purpose of ACCME Accreditation
Accredited CME is an essential component of continuing physician professional development in the eyes of the US organizations of medicine. ACCME accreditation is a mark of quality continuing medical education (CME) activities that are planned, implemented and evaluated by ACCME accredited providers in accordance with the ACCME’s Accreditation Criteria, Standards for Commercial Support, and policies (accreditation requirements). ACCME accreditation assures the medical community and the public that such activities provide physicians with information that can assist them in maintaining or improving their practice of medicine, to help them bridge the gap between today’s care and what care should be. In addition, accredited CME activities are free of commercial bias and based on valid content.
Purpose of the ACCME
The ACCME is the organization that sets educational standards for CME activities, and monitors its accredited providers’ adherence to those standards. The ACCME accredits organizations, and does not accredit individual activities. Organizations that are not accredited that would like to partner with an ACCME accredited provider in the provision of quality CME can enter into joint sponsorship with an accredited organization.
It is important to note that the ACCME does not reward the continuing educational accomplishments of individual physicians. Rather, those accomplishments are rewarded by other organizations which, for example, require physicians to complete a certain amount and/or type of CME for membership or re-licensure. As such, CME providers are not ACCME accredited for the purpose of granting credit. The requirements for granting credit are maintained by the other organizations themselves. Since different credentialing bodies have varying requirements, CME providers should be aware of the requirements of the particular credentialing body for which credit is being granted.
Expectations of the ACCME
The ACCME has several expectations of those who apply for ACCME accreditation:
- Eligible organizations that decide to apply for ACCME accreditation should be prepared to both describe and furnish evidence that demonstrates compliance with the accreditation requirements. For this reason, organizations applying for ACCME accreditation must plan, implement and evaluate at least two CME activities within approximately two years prior to the submission of materials for initial accreditation.
- The ACCME expects its accredited providers to monitor their overall CME program for compliance with the accreditation requirements and to fulfill annual reporting requirements. For a description of the ongoing responsibilities of ACCME accredited providers, see Maintaining Accreditation - Ongoing Responsibilities of Accredited Providers
- Payment of certain fees is required to obtain and maintain ACCME accreditation. For a schedule of current ACCME fees, click Accreditation Fee Schedule
- The ACCME conducts its affairs in English, and requires that all information be submitted in English.
Eligibility to Apply for ACCME Accreditation
The ACCME has specific criteria for determining an organization’s eligibility to receive ACCME accreditation. See Determining Your Eligibility for ACCME Accreditation for more information.
A Note Regarding Vendors of Accreditation Compliance Advice and Products
Please be advised that the ACCME has no relationship with and does not endorse any vendor providing accreditation compliance advice or products to CME providers. The ACCME has neither approved nor disapproved the advice or products of any such vendors.
Please refer to the ACCME Information and Confidentiality Statements in the ACCME Policies for information regarding the confidentiality of provider data during the accreditation process.