CEs simplified – What are the CE requirements?
Continuing education requirements can be confusing. Let’s attempt to simplify the rules around them and find out where to obtain them.
Once certified by the American Board of Imaging Informatics (ABII), Certified Imaging Informatics Professionals (CIIPs) are required to keep up their credentials through Continuing Education (CE) credits. Typically, 1 hour of approved educational content = 1 continuing education credit.
The concept of keeping up with CEs is nothing new. In fact, those of you who also hold a Radiologic Technologist certification are very familiar with keeping up with bi-annual continuing education requirements. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) requires X-Ray, CT, US, NM and MR technologists to maintain 24 hours of approved CE credits in a 2 year period called a biennium. The ARRT accepts Category A and Category A+ activities. These activities are reviewed and approved by Recognized Continuing Education Evaluation Mechanisms (RCEEM for Cat A CEs and RCEEM+ for Cat A+ CEs).
Other accrediting boards have similar requirements. The Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) require Nuclear Medicine Technologists to maintain 24 hours of Category A+ credits or American Medical Association (AMA) approved continuing medical education credits (CMEs).
Interesting to note, all three organizations allow a grace period of 2 years post the initial board exam before the certificant is required to report CEs. Also both the ARRT and ABII organizations require additional renewal steps at the 10 year certification mark.
You get the idea at this point. Back to Imaging Informatics Professionals. The rules are not so different.
The continuing education requirement for the American Board of Imaging Informatics is for certified professionals to complete 24 hours of CEs within a 2 year period. The reason why the ARRT and NMTCB board was mentioned above is because some of these CEs overlap. For example, as long as a topic fits under the category requirements of an accrediting board, a Category A+ credit can be used to fulfill the same CE requirements for different certifications. Here are just a few examples of how this can be extremely helpful to know:
- Those who are dual or triple certified by the three governing boards (ABII, ARRT, NMTCB) may be able use the same credit to fulfill all three CE requirements. As long as it fits the appropriate criteria. Note that other accrediting boards may allow for similar continuing education credits.
- An ARRT certified radiologic technologist who wishes to learn about imaging informatics topics can take CEs about imaging informatics topics such as PACS or Post Processing software – as technologists are direct users of these applications. As long as these topics are approved Category A or Category A+ Credits.
- The NMTCB even accepts vendor applications training as long as it comes from an approved organization such as the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), American College of Radiology (ACR), American Medical Association (AMA), etc. Full list can be found on the NMTCB site. Technologists can learn about imaging informatics applications and earn CE credits for it.
- An imaging informatics professional who wishes to learn more about the clinical side can do so, and earn CEs while at it. As long as the topics align with the test content outline and provided by a professional organization, it will count as a CE towards the ABII continuing education requirement. Approved topics include Procurement, Project Management, Operations, Communications, Training and Education, Image Management, Information Technology, Systems Management, Clinical Engineering, and Medical Imaging Informatics. The rules for ABII continuing education credits can be found below.
- College credits or Academic courses can satisfy the ABII, ARRT and NMTCB CE requirements. If a technologist decides to obtain a masters in imaging informatics, some of the courses may satisfy the 3 organizations’ requirements.
These are just a few examples of how continuing education requirements can overlap. The bottom line is you can kill two birds with one stone – satisfying multiple requirements from one CE source.
Why does this matter to you?
Routine visitors of PACS Boot Camp are mostly ARRT certified radiologic technologists seeking an entry level career in imaging informatics. You are looking for your first job as a PACS administrator in Radiology or Cardiology. You may be seeking an analyst role in Enterprise Imaging. Whatever the case, one of your best chances is to become a Certified Imaging Informatics Professional. So. Why not kill multiple birds with one stone. You can take courses that satisfy your ARRT/NMTCB CE credits while learning about imaging informatics. In fact, you can take courses that directly prepare you for the ABII board exam, while satisfying CE credits.
PACS Boot Camp offers a Premium Imaging Informatics Professional Study Guide. A shortened summary of the ABII course content topics. This imaging informatics professional study guide has been approved by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) for 3.5 hours of Category A continuing education credits. The ASRT is a recognized approver of CE material (RCEEM). The study guide can be extremely helpful to those seeking certification. Additionally, the study guide can be helpful for CIIPs already certified by the ABII as it covers all the topics of the course content outline. At this point we’ve killed too many birds with stones - we might raise some eyebrows here.
Earn 3.5 CAT A CEs
Approved by the ASRT
Additional continuing education credits can be found here:
The Society of Imaging Informatics (SIIM) is an excellent resource for continuing education credits. SIIM provides lectures, webinars, interactive courses and a boot camp for informatics professionals. These are available on demand from the SIM U online portal. Members can purchase CEs at a discounted rate.
External link to SIIM
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) is a great source for all encompassing radiology CEs. The Category A and Category A+ content available from ASRT can satisfy CEs from many accrediting boards. Members of the ASRT can purchase CEs at a discounted rate.
External link to ASRT
Seeking membership at these CE providers is up to each individual’s discretion. Whatever works best for you. Just be sure to review the type of CE so you can save time and money by strategically purchasing one that fulfills various purposes.
Lastly it’s important to note, CEs can be audited. Typically, professionals must report their CEs during the annual renewal payment process. The number of CE hours, type of activity, CE sponsor, relevance to field may need to be reported. Like the IRS, it’s safe to assume no one is meticulously reading through every single one of these activities with a magnifying glass. However, it’s important that your CEs are RELEVANT to your field. You may be audited. Be sure to check the approved content of your accrediting body to ensure compliance. If you’re taking an academic course about political science, you most likely cannot report this as a CE. If you’re taking an academic course on medical radiation physics, it may qualify for the ARRT, NMTCB or ABII. Take a closer look here:
What’s approved for ARRT
What’s approved for NMTCB
What’s approved for ABII
Obtain at least 24 hours of approved and relevant CEs every 2 years. Strategically choose CEs that can fulfill various certification boards. Keep records of your certificates in case you are audited. Take the Premium IIP Study guide offered here at PACS Boot Camp. Check out SIIM and ASRT for other CEs.
This article only mentions the NMTCB and ARRT in addition to the ABII. However, CEs may overlap with other professional certs such as medical physics, radiation therapy, radiation dosimetry, nursing, etc. Do the due diligence of looking into your own accrediting body.
Overlapping CEs isn’t a hack or a short cut. It’s a feature. The purpose of continuing education is for professionals to keep up with the advancements in healthcare. All advancements. Not limited to only one niche but rather the all-encompassing interdisciplinary fields of radiology, cardiology, enterprise imaging. Including the impact of the physics, the medicine, the software, the instrumentation and supported architectures. The well rounded healthcare professional is open to cross discipline training. Continuing education is a tool to accomplish this need.