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Taking Advantage of International Continuing Medical Education

There are numerous personal and professional reasons to attend CME outside your country of residence. Professionally, international continuing medical education gives physicians and advanced practice providers more courses to choose from, allowing them to find continuing education that closely aligns with their practice and passion. On a larger scale, international medical conferences facilitate information exchange across borders and support continuity of care in a global society.

As a CME company based in the United States, there are two ways we might define “international CME”:

  • Doctors practicing in the US and earning CME outside the US
  • Doctors practicing outside the US and earning CME in the US

This guide to taking advantage of international continuing education opportunities aims to cover both of these scenarios.

Global Standards

As of 2020, international continuing medical education is guided by the Standards for Substantive Equivalency between CPD/CME Accreditation Systems. Authored by the International Academy for CPD Accreditation based on existing standards and stakeholder feedback, these standards promote valid, quality content and “substantive equivalency between accrediting bodies.”

Accrediting bodies can use these standards as the basis of reciprocity agreements with other accreditors, making earning credits outside your country of residence possible.


The ACCME recognizes several international accrediting bodies’ standards as “substantively equivalent” to its system:

  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • The Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (Canada)
  • European Board for Accreditation of CE for Health Professionals
  • The Oman Medical Specialty Board as part of the Ministry of Health of the Sultanate of Oman
  • Accreditation Section of the Department of Healthcare Professions of the Qatar Ministry of Public Health
  • The Federation of the German Chambers of Physicians


The AMA also maintains several reciprocity agreements, which may cover different types of CME depending on the organization:

  • European Union of Medical Specialties (UEMS)
  • European Board for Accreditation of Continuing Education for Health Professionals (EBAC®)
  • Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners Accreditation Department (QCHP-AD)
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)

Note: In some documentation, EBAC is referred to as the European Board for Accreditation in Cardiology due to a 2021 name change.

A CME conference’s location does not necessarily determine its accreditor. A live activity can be accredited by any of these organizations, no matter where it’s held. And it’s the accrediting body that determines if a practitioner can claim credit, not the location. However, depending on who is claiming credit, an organization may need to remain the primary accreditor in its jurisdiction.

For example, the agreement between the AMA and the UEMS states American physicians can earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ at any conference offering them, no matter the location. American physicians can also earn ECMEC®s (which can be converted into AMA PRA Category 1 Credits) at any conference qualified to offer them, unless this conference is located in the United States. The reverse is true for European physicians, who can earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credits anywhere but Europe.

The AMA also administrates The International Conference Recognition (ICR) program, which accredits large international conferences.

Earn International CME

To claim credits earned outside your home country or region, you’ll likely need to convert these credits. For example, American physicians who earned ECMECs in Europe will apply to convert these credits into AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. There is a fee associated with this conversion for both AMA members and non-members. Just like all AMA PRA Category 1 Credits, non-physician practitioners will receive a certificate of participation.

American Medical Seminars, which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, offers AMA PRA Category 1 Credits during its live activities in the United States. We welcome practitioners from around the world. To attend, citizens of many countries will need to apply for a Business (B-1) Visitor Visa, which includes travel for “[attending] a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference.” There are several countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.

Our cancellation policy, which is one of the best among CME companies, covers international attendees no longer able to make the trip for any reason. If AMS issued an Invitation Letter for your visa application, your refund will be $150 less than your registration fee to cover the cost of your Invitation Letter.

Professional Name & Certification Type are Required.

To claim credit, you must supply your Professional Name and Certification Type on the Account Details page.


» Click the Update Account Details button. On the next page provide your information and click the Save Changes button.