The National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME) has developed the first credentialing program exclusively designed for individuals employed in the broad field of continuing medical education (CME). Since its inception in June 2008, nearly 450 persons have earned the designation of Certified CME Professional (CCMEP). When certifications earned by the 2008 Classes expired, 94% of eligible candidates earned their Extension of Certification, a clear indication that the CCMEP credential is retaining its value over time.
Schroeder Measurement Technologies, an independent test development company, assisted NC-CME volunteers in conducting an initial job analysis and in facilitating the item writing and validation of the ground-breaking certification exam. Exam Forms 02 and 03 were beta tested, validated, and released in 2009 and 2011. The certification exam comprises more than 150 test items that have been validated psychometrically to determine minimum competency in five domains of knowledge, skills, and abilities that define the CME profession. A Practice Exam, representative of topics described in the content outline, was also created with the SMT test developers in 2010. The 45-item practice exam can be accessed online from any computer and is available 24/7.
The NC-CME certification program is designed to benefit the public by offering a way to verify the knowledge and skills of CME staff. The program allows employers to monitor and document their ability to be compliant with national guidelines developed by groups such as the Accreditation Council for CME (ACCME), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG).
Successful test takers must achieve a minimum scaled passing score of 600, where the overall range of scores is 200 to 1000. In certification exams of this type, the primary goal is a pass/fail discrimination. The CCMEP credential is awarded to candidates who document an acceptable level of education and experience in the CME field and achieve the minimum score on the examination. Test items capture a generalist view of the profession and assess what CME professionals need to know in order to reflect the highest standards in their work.
Newly designated CCMEPs receive framed certificates and cloisonné lapel pins at ceremonies held in October and January each year in conjunction with national meetings of CME professionals. Volunteers who have participated in NC-CME activities and donors who have contributed to the CCMEP program are also acknowledged at these celebrations. The NC-CME exhibit booth is staffed by CCMEPs who distribute literature and answer questions about the CCMEP program and its network of volunteers.
The certification exam is a computerized secure exam available at more than 200 testing centers throughout the US and Canada during quarterly testing periods: March 13-31, June 13-30, September 13-30, and December 1-31. Registration cut-off dates are the last day of the month preceding each testing period. Candidates may register online 24/7 for future testing periods. Names of individuals who successfully pass the CCMEP exam and also those who earn an Extension of Certification (EOC) are posted in the searchable "National Registry of Certified CME Professionals" on the NC-CME website.
Requirements and benefits to candidates and their employers are outlined under the tab "CERTIFICATION PROGRAM" at NCCME.org
NC-CME is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organization created in 2006 by an independent group of volunteers committed to serving the public by creating a standard of competence for persons who create, deliver, and/or support CME programs. NC-CME is incorporated in New Mexico and operates under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States. For further information go to NCCME.org or email [email protected] [rev Jan 1, 2013]