Information on Continuing Competence

The Law

Section 2496 of the State Medical Practice Act specifies the continuing competence requirements for doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs) and authorizes the Podiatric Medical Board of California to adopt regulations to ensure the "continuing competence of persons licensed to practice podiatric medicine":

At each renewal, a DPM must certify compliance with one of the following under penalty of perjury, subject to audit.

  1. passage of an exam administered by the board (within past 10 years).
  2. passage of an exam administered by an approved specialty board (past 10 years).
  3. current diplomate, eligible, or qualified status with an approved specialty board (past 10 years).
  4. recertification by an approved specialty board (past 10 years).
  5. completion of an approved residency/fellowship (past 10 years).
  6. granting/renewing health care facility privileges (past 5 years).
  7. successful completion of an extended course of study approved by the board (past 5 years).
  8. passage of Part III exam administered by the National Boards (past 10 years).

The board's regulations require each licensee to complete at least fifty units of approved continuing medical education during each 2-year license period.  At least twelve units must be in subjects related to the lower extremity muscular skeletal system.  All courses must be scientific in content, and relate directly to patient care.

Licensees must maintain records of continuing education course attendance for a minimum of 4 years, in case of an audit.

What Courses Are Acceptable for Credit?

The following courses are approved for continuing medical education credit, providing they are scientific in content and relate directly to patient care:

  1. Programs approved by the California Podiatric Medical Association or the American Podiatric Medical Association and their affiliated organizations
  2. Programs approved for Category 1 credit of the American Medical Association, the California Medical Association, or their affiliated organizations, and programs approved by the American Osteopathic Association, Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California, or their affiliated organizations;
  3. Programs offered by approved colleges or schools of podiatric medicine, medicine, and osteopathic medicine;
  4. Completion of an approved residency or fellowship program (credited for fifty hours of continuing medical education).

Programs not included under items 1-4 above may be approved by the Podiatric Medical Board of California following an application and review process.  Courses approved by application to the board must meet several criteria, including documentation that the course material is scientific in content and directly related to patient care.  Courses in other subjects such as investments, tax planning, practice management, and risk management are not approved for credit.

Note: A maximum of one-third of continuing education hours may be satisfied by teaching courses offered by an approved continuing education provider.


The board may temporarily waive these requirements.  A waiver may be granted only for reasons of health, military service, or undue hardship.  A waiver must be applied for on a form provided by the board, and must be approved prior to issuance of the license renewal.

A temporary waiver permits an additional two-year license period for completion of deficient requirements, which must be documented at the following license renewal. If these are not completed, a license renewal will not be granted.

Any licensee granted a temporary waiver may not be granted another temporary waiver at the next license renewal. (California Code of Regulations Section 1399.678(e))

Random Audit

The Podiatric Medical Board of California annually audits a random sample of DPMs for compliance.  Licensees selected for audit must provide documentation of compliance. Licensees must maintain records of continuing education course attendance for a minimum of 4 years, in case of audit.

Revised March 2018


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