Earn honorarium from paid medical surveys

Modern MedEd partners with MD for Lives to bring you paid online surveys.
Get a $20 bonus just for signing up. For medical professionals only.

Earn unlimited CME on your phone at the point-of-care

Modern MedEd partners with MDCalc to bring you no-hassle CME that you can earn on your phone at the point of care. Earn CME just for using clinical calculators. No post-test required!

Get up to 100 quick & easy category 1 CME credits

Modern MedEd partners with Board Vitals to bring you up to 100 AMA PRA Category 1™ CME Credits in over 30 specialties. Save $125 with promo code MODERN125 before your CME stipend expires!

Get Unlimited Category 1 CME credits for up to 3 years

Modern MedEd partners with VisualDx to bring you unlimited AMA PRA Category 1™ CME Credits in over a dozen specialties. Get our exclusive deal of 2 years for $999 or 3 years for $1,499 before your CME stipend expires!

4 Effective Techniques to Stretch Your CME Fund Further Than Ever

The CME fund. It’s not uncommon for employed clinicians to have one that renews annually. And you should want to get the most value out this pool of money. Here's how your colleagues do just that - and how you can, too.

Last Updated: February 21, 2024
By Jordan P. Roberts, PA-C

CME Fund Regulations

Many employed clinicians with a CME allowance face the same problems year after year. What is the best way to spend CME money? And; how can I spend it before the end of the year so I don't lose my CME fund?

If you are employed, you might have an annual fund specifically for continuing medical education. Because your CME fund usually won't carry over to next year, you'd be wise to make the most of your CME money every year.

The mad dash to spend your remaining CME money before year's end catalyzes the many CME special offers (including CME with gift cards) appearing that time of year.

Your CME allowance poses two problems. First is finding the best way to spend your CME money. The other is ensuring you don't go irreparably over budget.

The only thing even more disheartening than leaving CME money on the table is going thousands over budget and getting stuck with the rest of the bill. We never want a fellow clinician to experience either injustice. 

Subscribe to Modern MedEd

Creative Ideas for Spending CME Money

Fortunately, there are many more tried-and-true methods healthcare providers use to maximize their CME allowance than we can cover here.

There are even ways that make spending thousands more than your CME fund a financial win for you.

The four we'll discuss today are:

1.  CME with gift card offers

2.  Point of care medical apps / CME with free iPad bundles

3.  Speak at a CME conference

4.  Create your own CME

Any of those links will take you a more detailed breakdown of that specific topic.

If you haven't heard of some of these, fear not.

All the strategies we describe here are established, above-board, and widely acceptable ways your colleagues make the most of their CME allowance year after year.

Furthermore, each of these techniques will leave you with a stronger clinical knowledge base and easy-to-earn category 1 CME credits.

That said, be sure to know your institution's policy on certain CME opportunities so you do get reimbursed. 

How many techniques should I try?

It can be a challenge, if not impossible, to combine all the major techniques in a single  CME year.

The beauty of some of these offers (especially the multi-year CME subscriptions) is that you don't need to. Here's how.

Quick question about your CME fund...

We'd really appreciate if you'd answer this anonymous, one-question survey about your CME fund if it's applicable to you. Thanks!

CME Stipend Expiration Date Poll
Answer based on current (or most recent) place of employment

How Much Should Your CME Allowance Be?

We've written a more detailed answer to this question in a new post. We are also conducting our own survey to get 2021 data on your CME allowances. If you participate, you can choose to receive early access to the results before they are published. 

1. Take Advantage of CME with Gift Card Bonus Offers

Before we get too far into it, know that we keep track of the top updates to CME with gift card incentive offers each year.

A select few CME providers will effectively subsidize your CME fund by offering truly generous gift cards with your CME purchase.

We're talking about bundles that include as many as 100 CME hours plus an Amazon gift card worth up to $3,200.

Often, CME with gift cards can also come in other forms like Visa, American Express, Home Depot, or Apple.

CME with Gift Card Offer - MDCalc

  • Category 1 CME Hours: potentially unlimited AMA PRA Category 1™ Credits
  • Gift Card Offer: $400 / $1,000 / $1,500 / $3,500 (Amazon)

There are many other offers of CME with gift cards to help you maximize your CME allowance.

MDCalc offers clinicians the choice of CME with an Amazon gift card worth up to $3,500 when you purchase an unlimited CME subscription.

Just don't show up expecting a free lunch. They aren't pharmaceutical reps, after all (hey-oh). Check out the various CME packages at MDCalc

CME Fund Example

Let’s imagine you have $1,000 remaining in your CME fund.

If you buy a one-year subscription to CMEinfo Insider for $1,999, you are essentially getting an otherwise admittedly pricey CME program for free.

$1999 – $1000 CME money –> $999 out of pocket) + free $400 Amazon gift card = true cost of $599 instead of $1,999.

With $2,000 remaining of your CME allowance, it gets even better.

Your employer picks up the entire cost of your one-year MDCalc 65 CME credit subscription ($1999).

This time, your employer keeps the $1. Your overjoyed administration awards themselves massive bonuses.

Meanwhile, you walk away with $1,050 to spend on Amazon. Not to mention the adoration of your CFO.

Either way, you'll have access to high-quality, relevant category 1 CME for your specialty for one or two entire years.

Another advantage of online CME?

Learning at your own pace, via your media preferences, wherever you want. Anyone know a beach with Wi-Fi?

2. Use CME Money for iPad & Medical App Deals

In addition to everything else here; speaking at a conference, ordering online CME with a gift card option, and writing your own CME with an accredited provider, you can also use your CME money for certain point-of-care medical apps

One of these, VisualDx to be specific, will give you a free tablet (64GB 10th generation iPad, a $450 value) preinstalled with the app when you purchase their CME product. This offer is only available through Modern MedEd. Get your free iPad and unlimited CME here.

Using any of the CME with gift card offers can be combined to get you a free tablet, too.

Just spend the Amazon or Visa Prepaid card, which can be up to $3,200 (did I say that already?) on the piece of technology that works best for you.

Not only is getting an iPad with CME a pretty sweet perk, but it's also practical.

There are dozens of CME-awarding medical apps can be used on a tablet or smartphone at the point-of-care, which makes the gift card more utilitarian than luxurious. Our favorite for this purpose is VisualDx.

Feel free to use that in case you need to convince a hospital administrator that you're not the crook in this situation.

In addition to everything else here; speaking at a conference, ordering online CME with a gift card option, and writing your own CME with an accredited provider, you can also use your CME money for certain point-of-care medical apps

Using any of the CME with gift card offers can be combined to get you a free tablet.

Just spend the Amazon or Visa Prepaid card, which can be up to $3,500 (did I say that already?) on the piece of technology that works best for you.

Not only is getting an iPad with CME a pretty sweet perk, but it's also practical.

There are dozens of CME-awarding medical apps can be used on a tablet or smartphone at the point-of-care, which makes the gift card more utilitarian than luxurious. Our favorite for this purpose is VisualDx.

Feel free to use that in case you need to convince a hospital administrator that you're not the crook in this situation.

2a. Discounts & Seasonal CME Sales

With the rise of both the volume and quality of online medical education, competition has become fierce.

This is great for clinicians, because it means they have more choice in where to spend their CME allowance.

Not only are there more good online CME offers available, but the frequency of fun and innovate in-person CME events is also cautiously increasing.

But more to the point, many of the best online CME providers offer exclusive discounts for certain partner audiences.

This is like when your friend shares a discount link with you, and you both get something out of it.

Except we're your friend and you get to choose something that's actually useful.

Here's a good list of CME discounts to check out.

Referral Awards for CME

For example (and for a little self-promotion), we at Modern MedEd have various affiliate partnerships that benefit our readers (that's you!).

One way we do that is through our CME reviews series packed with helpful insights, because we actually tried the CME ourselves.

Want an audio CME option with dozens of specialties covered? Here's an extra $100 gift card from Audio Digest when you make your first purchase of $399 or more.

Full disclosure, we may earn a commission on any sales we generate. So it's a win-win.

And even if it's not the right time for you to purchase, we'll always be grateful that you've come here to read our work. Seriously, thank you.

Get a Free Trial Before Spending Your CME Fund

Most of these companies also offer a free trial or money-back guarantee for those who aren’t totally sure about making that big purchase. This is different from traditional free CME, as it's usually just a taste of the larger, paid program.

It's totally understandable, and just plain smart, if you ask us, especially for new customers.

This way you can try out the product and won’t kick yourself (or us) if it’s not up to your expectations. Worst case scenario: you get to log free category 1 CME hours.

Specifically, Board Vitals offers a free trial consisting of a limited selection of items from each of their CME question banks to ensure that it meets your needs before you commit.

Here's their collection of free board-review questions. You can also purchase CME with these question banks.

Oakstone offers a similar money-back “pass guarantee” on purchases of CMEinfo Insider (which can be used as a board review resource).

However, free trials mean you won't have access to the advanced analytics and CME tracking features, which – trust me – you'll want.

Of course, do your research, too. As boring as it may be to read the fine print, it could save us both a headache because the world is subject to change, nuance exists, yadda yadda yadda.

You can also sign up to get the super secret, extra exclusive offers that are only available to our email subscribers.

Ok, self-promotion time is over today. Thanks for indulging me.

3. Speak at a CME Conference

There are two types of people in this world: those who love speaking in front of a crowd, and those who’d rather be dead. The same is true of clinicians.

However, I encourage you to reject any personal dogma you hold telling you that public speaking is not for you

We’ve shown you how speaking can be a lucrative side gig in the past. Luckily enough, it can also be a nice way to (maybe) get your conference fees covered.

Most reputable conferences will at least waive the cost of registration for their speakers. Some might also pitch in for certain expenses like airfare, food, hotel, and an honorarium.

It is still a good idea to attend local and national CME conferences if you can, if you aren't speaking. The networking itself can earn you exponential returns for yourself and your career.

If you want to improve your public speaking skills before doing the real thing, get Dale Carnegie's timeless book on public speaking for less than the cost of a propranolol prescription.

4. Write Your Own CME

This one is a good option if you are the type who enjoys researchingwriting and teaching others about your areas of clinical expertise.

Clinicians are major sources of medical information for these CME providers.

Most of them are almost always looking for good healthcare professionals who can also write, speak, or deliver a good performance on camera.

Why not you?

Potential Drawbacks to CME Writing

One drawback is that you may earn category 2 CME credit for this work, even if you are creating what will eventually be category 1 CME.

Although physicians may qualify for self assessment CME credit for test item writing. Sorry PAs and NPs. 

I know, it seems a little illogical that creating awesome category 1 CME only nets you category 2. At least it did for me, but that’s life.

Check with your certifying body or licensing board for more details before claiming credit because they may tell you something else (or audit you!). 

However, you may be able to earn some category 2 CME now and claim the sweet category 1 CME for free at a later date.

That's because once your work becomes accredited, it's usually a part of a larger program. You may be granted access for free as an additional perk of being a (paid, usually) contributor.

For instance, I was on Hippo Education's Primary Care RAP CME podcast in the past, and enjoyed this exact set-up.

In fact, I still enjoy listening to my fellow contributors' work, as well as earning category 1 CME credit from it.

Here are a few CME companies that are pretty much always looking for qualified contributors.

Using Your CME Fund for Technology

Physicians, PAs, and NPs are increasingly using iPads and other technology to keep up with the demands of the job.

Not to mention technology is becoming more of a part of healthcare (in a good way) with the rise of point-of-care medical apps.

That means devices like iPads are important to learn to use, just like other technology like POCUS.

If you want an iPad instead of the gift card, you can find places that allow you to choose a free iPad as a thank-you bonus for purchasing their CME.

Although, why not just get the gift card with your CME and use that to get your iPad? Another win-win. We're all about that here.

You'd have the latest iPad, a year's worth of CME, and money left over on your Amazon gift card to do with as you please.

Plus, you'll be able to do your CME on your cool new iPad, really increasing the value (and pragmatism) of your purchases.

Make the Most of Your CME Fund

You now have a few tools and techniques that can stretch that measly CME budget a bit further.

Even if you have no CME allowance, you can now feel like you do!

You can travel to new places for those great destination CME medical conferences, use discounts to increase your CME fund’s value, or get paid to learn while creating CME for your colleagues. 

For a comprehensive listing of the offers in this article and more, check out our list of all the CME with gift card offers you could possibly want.

Re Re Published: November 2, 2022

Re Published: December 2020

Originally Published: July 22, 2018

Further Reading

medical writing

7 Steps to Take to Become a Successful Medical Writer

Learning how to become a medical writer – a successful medical writer – can be a challenge for anyone. Medical writing is a popular aspiration for healthcare professionals seeking a nonclinical career. This post will guide clinicians and other aspiring medical writers through seven steps to help you get started.

Read More »

CME with Gift Card Offer #1 - BoardVitals CME Pro Plus

With CME for physicians, as well as PAs and NPs, clinicians of all kind can find something that fits their needs.

Board Vitals' flagship specialty and general continuing medical education product, CME Pro Plus Self-Assessment with MOC activity, comes with your choice of an Amazon gift card or Prepaid Visa card – standard.

Board Vitals also has a “choose-your-own-price-tool” that allows you to…well, choose your own price (imagine that) based on your CME budget. MDCalc has a similar customizable CME budget tool as well.

You can also customize your CME subscription length (up to 24 months) and gift card value. This can get you up to 100 category 1 CME credits.

Use this tool to see how the price you choose affects your bonus gift card value, which can be as high as $3,500. Hint: Choosing the $6,350 option, while it may sound expensive, is actually a steal.

This has to be one of the best online CME with gift card offers ever. I haven't found anything better, and we owe half our existence to finding them.

How Does CME Pro Plus Work?

Great question. You answer board-quality, consistently updated, relevant-to-your-specialty questions at your own pace, accruing category 1 CME along the way.

This is completely online CME that you can do on your smartphone, tablet, or computer anytime you want.

The questions and explanations are updated in real time via cloud technology so you know you are always getting the latest information.

What's the catch? Like any quality product, it's the price tag.

Also like any quality product, you won't regret buying it. But we can help soften (or eliminate) that financial blow.

Purchase this $6,350 beast of a board review or CME product and get a free $3,500 Amazon gift card or Visa Prepaid card in return with your CME.

Follow the link to see if they offer CME in your specialty (which they probably do). 

Board Vitals Most Popular Specialty CME with Gift Card Bundles

This is just a small sampling of what Board Vitals has available to you.

We've also covered a few ourselves:

Because they have been working with us to help you get the best CME around, we consistently score our readers the best prices on their CME. You can currently use the promo code MODERN10 to take 10% off your purchase. That could save you as much as $635!

We encourage you to take a better discount if you find it, but there aren't many (if any) like those that intermittently appear at the top of the page. 

If you aren't sure how this fits into your CME budget, check out our end of year CME survival guide to find out.

On the other hand, if you want to learn more about their CME Pro Plus, visit BoardVitals for yourself.

There, you can view options for your specialty and remaining CME budget before purchasing.

Previous Years Featured Images

4 Effective Techniques to Stretch Your CME Fund Further than Ever
Maximize CME Money with 5 Techniques to Increase CME Allowance Spending Power with Medical Conference CME Gift Card or CME with iPad or Vacation for 2019 Modern MedEd
Maximize CME Allowance with CME with Gift Cards, Speaking, Travel CME, and CME with iPad

Quickly & Easily Find CME
Based on Your Learning Preferences

(18 modailties found)

Click the icon or title to go straight to the most relevant section of the website for that particular CME format.

Audio CME Courses

Listen to your CME while pretending you've found the secret to multitasking.

Clinical Decision Support CME

Experience next level CME with AI-powered clinical decision support tools.

CME Conferences

Miss CME meetings? Take a look at some real-life (and virtual) CME events!

CME with Gift Card Rewards

CME with gift cards and other rewards to stretch your CME allowance further than ever.

Medical Calculators that Earn CME

Earn CME credits at the point of care for using the tools you already know and trust.

Medical Spanish CME Tutoring

Take your communication to the next level and increase access to care for entire communities.

CME Subscriptions

Pay once, access CME for two or three years in dozens of specialties. Updates included.

Online CME Activities

Now that you know you don't HAVE to travel for CME anymore, why would you?

Psychedelic CME

Stay ahead of the game with the latest research in psychedelic medicine. Patients will be asking.

Procedural (Hands-On) CME

Learn essential procedures from home with the same professional materials more cost-effectively.

Question Bank CME

Engaging board-style vignettes with CME credit that adds up quickly and easily.

Travel CME

Learn about essential updates from somewhere you've never been before.

Unlimited CME Credits

Earn all the CME credits you could possibly need (or want) from one CME purchase.

Wilderness CME

Enhance your medical survival skills by practicing in real-life environments with experienced instructors.

Video CME

Visual learners have more options than ever for finding quality CME that speaks to their style.


Learn stuff. Ski. Repeat.
Get paid for claiming "SKI-M-E" credit.

CME Cruises

Earn CME on a river. Or earn CME credits at sea. Don't forget to claim your "SEA"-M-E.

Augmented Reality CME

Give it a few years and it'll be cool.
Just you watch.

Our CME Values: Quality Certified

We work with independent CME providers that do not accept industry funding.

ANy CME we recommend meets the following standards:

Providers not meeting these standards may be mentioned for sake of completeness or topic relevance.
Our relationship will be clearly disclosed.