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Should CME Professionals be Certified?

Since 2008 the field of CME has offered a certification to professionals working in the field of continuing education in the health professions. Almost all professions have some sort of professional certification.  My friend Peggy Wolfe who is a realtor in St. Petersburg, FL has gobs of certifications.  She is certified in the areas of residential and commercial real estate, certified in international real estate transactions, etc.  Attorneys and CPA have certifications.  The certifications in most of these fields are not demonstrating EXCELLENCE in the field but rather a well-rounded comprehensive experience and knowledge in that field. 

When professionals in CME began seeking certification in 2008 to be recognized first as a CCMEP (Certified Continuing Medical Education Professional) and now as a CHCP (Certified Healthcare CPD Professional), I thought this was a good idea. I still think it is a good idea and plan to renew my own certification. Certification gives an individual professional recognition and a degree of credibility.  Remember it does not test the individual for excellence in the field but rather an overall competence and degree of professional experience.

Why are CME certification numbers declining?

At first, many early adopters jumped in to take the exam and become certified.  The numbers are declining now.  I wonder why?  Is this certification of value?  Is it relevant to employers and has the certification led to increased credibility of the CME professional?  Currently there are about 400-500 people who are certified.  But how many work in CME?  There are about 3,000 accredited providers in the US.  Let’s say those CME departments range from the one man show to medical education companies with a 100 employees.   I don’t know, but I’ll throw out a guess that there might be 15,000 people working in the field.  What do you think? What is the future of certification? Will we ever get 10 to 20% of professionals working in the field certified?



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