7 Different Ways You Can Fulfill Your MOC Requirements

moc requirements doctors

As a physician, Maintenance of Certification (MOC) must be kept current alongside continuing medical education (CME). It is considered a demonstration that the physician is continually participating in various activities to learn and educate him or herself about patient care and other medical practice issues like safety and quality. Although there is a great deal of debate (sometimes heated) about the boards that administer MOC, its relevance to modern practice and its cost, today they remain mandatory in order to maintain licensure.

MOC requirements vary by specialty, as do the activities that qualify for MOC. It is important that you check with your specialty examining board to see the specific MOC requirements you are required to fulfill to maintain your license.

Although different specialties have different MOC requirements, some of the methods by which you earn MOC are shared by all. Here are some of the ways in which you can earn MOC.

Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKA) 

Beginning in 2022, the ABIM Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKA) is an alternate MOC option to the existing 10-year recertification exam. The LKA replaces the two-year Knowledge Check-In Exam, but you still have the option to take the traditional 10-year MOC exam. The Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment is offered in a number of specialties. 

Traditional MOC Exams

MOC exams are specific to each specialty. The ABIM requires that physicians pass the MOC exam in their specialty within 10 years of the date it was last passed. 


MOC requirements

Some CME courses earn Maintenance of Certification (MOC) points/credits. In general, CME that qualifies for MOC points or credits are the ones that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). The CME provider will collect and submit your completion information so that ABIM may award your ABIM MOC points.

For example, we offer Online Self-Assessment Courses for a variety of specialties. In our Cardiology Course, you can earn up to 65 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ and 65 American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) points simultaneously.

There are also many free online CME options that will help you meet your MOC requirements quickly and conveniently.  

Prior CME

If you have taken CME in the past six months, you can check to see if it is eligible for MOC credit. Contact the CME provider and ask if it is eligible for MOC. You can also check with your board or use a tool like ACCME’s CME Finder where you can search activities for eligibility.


Both learning and quality improvement activities may earn MOC points. ACCME says that these types of activities include:

  • Enduring materials
  • Live and online courses
  • Regularly scheduled series (e.g., grand rounds, tumor boards)
  • Performance improvement
  • Journal-based CME
  • Internet searching and learning
  • Test-item writing
  • Committee learning
  • Manuscript review
  • Learning from teaching

Medical Knowledge

This category includes courses and activities that test current and established knowledge in your specialty. It can include CME, activities that examine your knowledge in specific clinical areas, attending learning sessions or participating in the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Care For the Underserved activity.

Expanding areas of study

As you select CME, classes, and activities that qualify for MOC, consider expanding the topics you study. This will give you exposure to topics that may be covered on the MOC exam and may update the information you have for everyday practice.

For example:

  1. As you study Cardiology MOC you might also want to consider courses and activities in Interventional Cardiology, Pediatric Cardiology, and Echocardiography.
  2. As you study Family Medicine MOC, you might consider participating in courses and activities in Emergency Medicine, OBGYN, Sports Medicine.
  3. As you study Psychiatry MOC, it might make sense to expand into Neurology and Child Psychiatry MOC.
  4. Surgery MOC can include OBGYN MOC.

How does MOC vary by specialty?

MOC requirements

As mentioned earlier, each specialty has widely varying MOC requirements. Here is a sample of how they can differ.

Pediatrics: According to information published by NEJM Knowledge+, a division of the Massachusetts Medical Society, the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) is considering going to an open book exam for MOC. ABP offers a weekly question on the web that can be answered for MOC. NEJM quotes ABP saying, “You will be able to rank and comment on the submissions—or offer suggestions of your own. Not only will this dialogue help you to know what literature pediatric experts consider to be important but it will also allow us to link life-long learning (MOC Part 2) with knowledge assessment (MOC Part 3) more effectively.”

Anesthesiology: In 2014 the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) launched the MOCA Minute. It’s an interactive learning and assessment tool that allows physicians to earn MOC by completing multiple-choice questions that are delivered by email, mobile app, and/or the board’s website. You must answer 120 questions per year (30 per quarter).

There are too many specialties for us to list them all here. However, these examples show you the wide variation in requirements. Check your board in order to remain current with options and changes for earning your MOC.

Want to learn more about CME and MOC requirements? Download our Free eBook, Navigating Continuing Medical Education: A Guide to CME/MOC Requirements.

Deborah Chiaravalloti is an award-winning writer and former hospital executive. Her insider experience helps healthcare clients launch medical procedures, products including artificial intelligence software and knowledge sharing platforms. Deborah writes websites, blogs, opinion pieces, and marketing strategy for elder care, health care consumerism, revenue cycle management (RCM), and the business of healthcare. Her printed pieces have been published and her radio shows syndicated nationally.

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