Get Ready for the MOC: 8 Steps That Can Help Get You Prepared

April 14, 2008


By Ralph Józefowicz, MD, FAAN
Daniel B. Hier, MD, MBA, FAAN
Authors' Disclosures


Maintenance of Certification (MOC) from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology is a reality and will affect diplomates certified after October 1, 1994. Since the requirements are being phased in over a 10-year period–and since requirements vary according to the year of original certification–there has been some confusion as to what steps diplomates need to take now. Here are eight simple steps to help get you ready.

Step 1:

Visit the web area on the MOC.
Find regularly updated helpful information and resources to help you fulfill MOC requirements.

Step 2:

Visit the ABPN web area on the MOC.
Look for late-breaking information on the MOC. Remember, the ABPN is the best source for up-to-date information regarding MOC requirements, which are subject to change. Visit the ABPN website frequently for updated information and inquire with the ABPN directly if you have questions regarding specifics to your certification.

Step 3:

Determine whether you need to participate in the MOC process.

  • If you were certified after October 1, 1994, you have a 10-year, time-limited certificate and must participate in the MOC to maintain certification.
  • If were certified before October 1, 1994, participation in the MOC is voluntary and your certificate will not lapse.
Step 4:

Determine how many CME credits you need.
The CME requirement has been phased in over a nine-year period.

Year of Certification Number of CME hours needed
1997 30
1998 60
1999 90
2000 120
2001 150
2002 180
2003 210
2004 240
2005 270
2006 300
2007 300
2008 300

  • All CME hours must be AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits™.
  • For those required to complete 300 CME credits, 150 credits must be completed in each of the two 5-year blocks of the ten-year MOC cycle.
  • Track your CME hours (both AAN and non-AAN) at the CME tracker.
  • The AAN offers many ways to get Category 1 CME, including courses at the Annual Meeting, courses and workshops at the Regional Conferences, Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology®, Quintessentials®, online CME for readers of the journal Neurology® and listeners to Neurology podcasts.
Step 5:

Determine how many Self-Assessment (SA) activities you need.

Year of Certification Number of SA activities needed for MOC
1997 0
1998 0
1999 0
2000 0
2001 1
2002 1
2003 1
2004 2
2005 2
2006 2
2007 2
2008 2

Tips: The AAN offers three activities that meet Self-Assessment (SA) requirements: Tips:
  • Each SA activity must have at least 100 questions–for instance, there are 40 post-reading questions in each issue of Continuum; completing questions from three issues of Continuum would count as one SA activity.
  • SA requirements will be phased in for diplomates being recertified in 2011.
Step 5:

Determine how many Performance-In-Practice (PIP) units you need.

Year of Certification Number of PIP units needed
1997 0
1998 0
1999 0
2000 0
2001 0
2002 0
2003 0
2004 1
2005 1
2006 2
2007 3
2008 3

Tips: There are two types of PIP modules: Clinical Modules (Chart Review) and Feedback Modules (Patient/Peer Review). [NB: No PIP Clinical Modules are currently available for neurologists.]
  • Each Clinical Module must assess five clinical cases and compare treatment to best practices/clinical guidelines with feedback to the practitioner. Clinical Modules must reassess data from additional patients within a 24-month period.
  • Each Feedback Module must be based on feedback from either five patients or five peers.
  • Once PIP modules are fully phased in, diplomates will be required to complete at least one of each type of module.
  • Check in with the ABPN and AAN websites for more information on availability of Clinical Units that will meet the PIP requirements for MOC.
  • The Education Committee has established a work group to examine methods to help AAN members meet the PIP requirements of the MOC.
  • PIP units will phased in for diplomates being recertified in 2011.
  • The ABPN offers Peer Feedback and Patient Feedback forms as options for completion of Feedback Modules on their website.
Step 6:

Retain a current unrestricted medical license.
An unrestricted medical license is one of the requirements of the MOC.

Step 7:

Determine in what year you will need to take the ABPN’s MOC Cognitive Examination.

Year of Certification Year of MOC Cognitive Exam
1997 2007
1998 2008
1999 2009
2000 2010
2001 2011
2002 2012
2003 2013
2004 2014
2005 2015
2006 2016
2007 2017
2008 2018

  • You must complete licensure, CME, SA, and PIP requirements before taking the MOC Cognitive Examination.
  • CME, SA, and PIP requirements are being phased in over a 10-year period so check your requirements carefully.
  • As of 2008, fees for the MOC are $1600 (including $700 for the application and $900 for the Cognitive Examination).
Step 8:

For a handy guide, print out this document and highlight the requirements that you will need to meet, according to your year of certification.

Authors' Disclosures

Within the past 24 months, one or both of the authors received personal compensation from Medical Legal Consulting and/or Consulting to Legal Firms regarding medical malpractice issues. In addition, Dr. Hier served as Editor for MDnetguide, and provided expert testimony, prepared a deposition, or acted as a witness or consultant in medical malpractice cases.