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License Requirements

The information below provides physicians with licensing requirements, guidelines, and interpretations addressing continuing medical education in Illinois. Contact IDFPR for more information.

Contact IDFPR

License Requirements

The information below provides physicians with licensing requirements, guidelines, and interpretations addressing continuing medical education in Illinois. Contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) for more information at 1-800-560-6420.

State of Illinois Continuing Medical Education Requirements for Physician License Renewal Documentation

Physicians should maintain records of their continuing medical education (CME) activities but are not required to submit documentation to IDFPR with their renewal applications. IDFPR may conduct an audit and randomly select physicians to forward evidence of CME credits.
Therefore, it is important to:

  •  Keep adequate records of all CME credits earned within the renewal cycle.
  •  Maintain a list of Category 1 (formal) CME programs and include the name of the sponsor of the activity, title, date(s) of attendance, and number of credit hours earned.
  •  Have certificates verifying credits earned.
  •  Record all Category 2 (informal) CME activities.
  •  List the approximate number of hours spent on each type of CME activity.
  •  Maintain CME records for at least 1 full license cycle (3 years) after the cycle in which credits were earned.

CME Reporting Cycle

To renew a medical license, physicians must attest to compliance with state CME requirements. Licensees are required by law to renew their licenses every three years. The next renewal deadline is July 31, 2026. The IDFPR will automatically forward a notice regarding renewal to each physician prior to the license expiration. The Department will conduct random audits of physicians for compliance with the CME requirements. 

CME Requirements

For the 2026 renewal, a licensee will be required to complete 150 hours of continuing medical education (CME).  Applicants renewing their medical license for the first time following issuance of a license are not required to complete the 150 hours of CME.
Credits shall be earned as follows:

  • A minimum of 40% (60 hours) of the required CME hours shall be obtained in formal CME programs. (The entire 150-hour requirement may be completed in Category 1).
  • A maximum of 60% (90 hours) of the required CME hours may be obtained in informal CME programs or activities.

Specific CME Coursework Requirements

In Illinois, physicians have wide latitude in deciding what CME courses they choose to complete in order to meet the 150-hour minimum.  The state does, however, require physicians and other licensed healthcare professionals to complete certain issue-specific programs as part of that 150-hour minimum.
In 2023, ISMS successfully advocated for legislation allowing physicians more time to complete most of the required courses.  Instead of taking certain mandated courses every licensure cycle, physicians now have the flexibility to take certain courses every other licensure cycle and the number of issue-specific mandated hours is reduced. Training on safe opioid prescribing has been reduced from three hours every licensure cycle to 1 hour every six years. 
Below are the mandatory CME topics for Illinois physicians:
Every Three Years:

  • Sexual Harassment Prevention (1 hour)
  • Implicit Bias (1 hour)
Every Six Years:
  • Opioids (1 hour)
  • Cultural Competency (1 hour)
  • Recognizing Dementia (1 hour)
    • Physicians licensed for the first time during the 2023 – 2026 licensure period must complete the dementia training once prior to renewal in 2026, and thereafter have six years to complete the training again.
Off cycle:
  • Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse

    Physicians and others who are required to report child abuse or child neglect must complete an initial mandated reporter training within three months of their date of engagement in a professional or official capacity as a mandated reporter, and at least every six years thereafter if they work with children in a professional or official capacity.  This requirement is not specifically tied to the Illinois medical license renewal. At each license renewal, physicians who work with children must attest to their understanding of their role as a mandated reporter.
 
Medical personnel who do not work with children in their professional or official capacity are not required to undergo repeated training, and they may instead attest at each license renewal to their understanding of their mandated reporter role.
 

For more information on these mandated courses, visit our Licensure FAQ page.

Waiver of CME Requirements

In the event that a physician is unable to complete the CME requirements by date of the license renewal, a CME Waiver Request Form must be completed and submitted prior to the renewal date. Contact the IDFPR for specific details and the CME Waiver Request Form.

Contact IDFPR for more information.

Contact IDFPR

Category 1 Determination

CME activities are designated as Category 1 by an accredited provider and joint providers. Category 1 activities can take the form of:

  • lectures;
  • seminars;
  • webinars; and
  • use of audio-visual or computer-based materials.

Only an institution or organization accredited for continuing medical education can designate a CME activity as earning Category 1 credit. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) is responsible for CME accreditation of medical schools, state medical societies, and other institutions and organizations which provide CME activities for a national or regional audience. State medical societies accredit institutions and organizations that provide CME activities primarily for physicians within the state or bordering states. CME credit and accreditation information must be prominently printed on all promotional literature.

Category 2 Determination

These are educationally beneficial activities in which a physician may participate. Physicians self-designated Category 2 credits.

For more information, please contact:

Illinois State Medical Society

Department of Education and Licensure

20 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 700

Chicago, IL 60602

312-782-1654 ext. 4746

800-782-4767 ext. 4746

cme@isms.org

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

320 West Washington, 3rd Floor

Springfield, IL 62786

800-560-6420

IDFPR Resources

Medical licensure requirements in Illinois are developed by the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (IDFPR). To view the full list of medical licensure requirements as determined by the state agency, please visit the IDFPR website.

If you have specific questions about your medical license requirements, please contact IDFPR directly at 1-800-560-6420.

Overview on how IDFPR responds to requests for an investigation of a physician.

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