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9 Unconventional CME Activities

Earning CME shouldn't be boring. Here are the most interesting, unique, & unconventional CME activities you may not have known about before.

Updated: March 19, 2024
By Jordan P. Roberts, PA-C
Unconventional CME

Unique Ways to Earn CME

Let’s face it. Sometimes the bureaucracy of CME can be, well…boring. Earning CME is probably just not something you spend a ton of time thinking about.

Until, that is, you realize you have a looming CME deadline.

That could be spending CME money before it expires, or earning and logging CME credits before your licensing body sends their goons after you.

Either way, CME can be a source of stress for many healthcare professionals.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some of the most interesting, unique, and unconventional CME activities, courses, subscriptions, and more that you’ll look forward to year round.

1. Medical Spanish CME to Communicate Better

Canopy Medical Spanish Logo

For DOs and PAs, the renowned medical Spanish courses from Canopy are also accredited for category 1 CME. Interested MDs and NPs can still take the courses without CME. Because this really is a unique and unconventional CME offer, I'll be waiting for full accreditation before too long.

Remember, if and when accreditation comes through for you guys, we’ll be sure to update this post!

Save 20% with our promo code MODERN20 at checkout. Learn more about Canopy medical Spanish CME courses.

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2. Question of the Day CME

When it comes to medical education, I’ve kept a valuable meta-lesson with me since I first heard it in PA school.

Learn at least one piece of new knowledge every day.

It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s the point. The amount of knowledge you amassed in training is a formidable neurological feat. Consider continuing (or starting) this habit in clinical practice, too.

However, rather than seek out a new fact in the literature (or your unintelligible notes), question of the day (QOD) apps deliver all of the goods without any of the hassle.

Personally, I like to do these types of activities first thing in the morning. It can serve as a reminder of why you are slogging to the hospital or clinic on those days you’d just rather not.

It’s also a fast way to earn a bunch of CME credits without even realizing it. If unconventional CME also means convenience, I’m all for it. You won't be disappointed by any of these:

3. Earn CME at the Point-of-Care

VisualDx Skin of Color Medical App Screenshots

There are a ton of great options out there for clinicians who want to learn and earn CME while they work. Point of care CME is convenient, practical, and has been shown to improve workflows and support your clinical decision making. Here are some of our favorites.

Don't forget to check out the clinical calculators you should be using in your practice. Also, VisualDx, one of the best point of car apps out there, is at its lowest price ever($199/year, down from $499/year) until Dec 8, 2023. So get it now!

4. CME with Gift Card Bundles

MDCalc CME Gift Card
audio digest cme with gift card
GibLib CME promotion

CME with gift cards are one of the most popular and worthwhile ways to spend your annual CME stipend. Not only does your money go about twice as far as it would otherwise, you also get high-quality, frequently-updated CME.

Here are a few of the most widely used options along with the maximum gift card value for each.

The incentive amount that comes with the CME is in the form of Amazon or other prepaid cards.

5. Procedural CME From... Home?

Master Clinicians Logo
CME Procedures Logo

After a year without in-person medical conferences, getting back to live CME meetings will be exciting at first. I’m sure once we collectively re-experience the tedium of the rest of the process, we’ll be itching for our online CME again.

However, one advantage in-person CME events traditionally held over online CME is the ability for learners to practice hands-on skills.

That’s not to say you can’t find online procedural CME. When researching this, I was thoroughly impressed with many of the options I found.

Some procedural CME is designed for mid-career and experienced clinicians, while other offers focus on skills critical for new physicians, PAs, and NPs to practice safely and effectively.

At least one urgent care laceration CME course also helps you cover the cost of materials with a free Amazon gift card.

All are approachable and, as far as I can tell, equally valid as the traditional classroom or lecture hall setting. Here are some interesting online procedural CME opportunities to consider.

Of course, live and in-person events are starting to reemerge, so you’ll want to keep an eye on these state of the art procedure labs once they can safely return.

6. Psychedelic CME

Microdose unconventional psychedelic CME

I feel like Microdose, a new and unconventional CME provider on the scene, has earned a spot here.

If you haven’t been following psychiatry lately, you are out of the loop with a lot of interesting and emerging science.

I won’t rehash the myriad of engaging debates on the usefulness of potential adjunctive therapies like MDMA in PTSD or ketamine for mood disorders.

Microdose has an online CME course that does a good job of presenting the current state of the science without trying to convince you to ‘join a side.' If you join the email list via the Microdose website, you'll also hear about live CME conferences related to this topic. 

Take a trip to learn more about Microdose psychedelic CME offers.

7. Get Lost in Wilderness CME

If you are the type of person who would rather hunt down and cook your own grizzly bear burger than eat another soggy pharma-sponsored sandwich, then wilderness medicine CME might be the adventure for you.

The Wilderness Medical Society will be your main source of information for these types of events. As always, be sure to shop around and make the right choice.

The good news is that these events all seem surprisingly affordable for such exciting destinations. I guess when you sleep on the moss you save on hotel bills (maybe). Here are a few other wild CME offers.

There are more wilderness CME companies and options than I ever imagined. This might need to become a spin off into its own post in the future.

But for now, just know there are many more wilderness and first responder, and adventure CME conferences and courses out there.

8. Travel, Destination, & Resorts with Unconventional CME

Destination CME has long been popular among clinicians and isn’t going away anytime soon, pandemic or not. Most in-person CME conferences take place in desirable locales, but we're talking next level here. 

Make sure you are following your institution’s CME policy before shelling out the money for a resort CME getaway.

We haven’t personally tried any of the offers below, but they’ve been around long enough for me to at least show you some of what’s out there.

Resort Destination Unconventional CME

In-Person Resort CME

After a year of lockdown, earning ‘destination CME’ at a nice resort sounds like the perfect escape. Here are a few with scheduled trips planned or some in the works.

Online Vacation CME

Similar to in-person resort CME, but presumably you choose the dates and location from a provider like Master Clinicians (Urgent Care travel CME conferences) while streaming the content from your connected device. You get to choose your location,  plus, you'll get a comparable amount of AMA PRA Category 1 ™ credits as a conference at a more traditional destination.


Just as it sounds, “ski-ME” is when you learn medical things, you ski, and you try not to become a case study for the next trauma session.

As the temperature drops, we're starting to see more postings for ski CME meetings. Anesthesiologists and folks practicing in the Colorado, Utah, Montana, and other snowy regions seem to have the most options.

CME Cruises

Aquatic-based continuing education, that is, CME cruises, CME river conference, and similar events, are a thriving sub niche of the CME world.

Because the boards taught me to associate cruise ships with legionella, I prefer my CME to be ground-based. Add COVID to the mix, and I guarantee you won’t catch me on any kind of boat for while.

But that won’t stop the rest of you detractors from thumbing your nose at the reaper on SS Outbreak. So in the spirit of comprehensiveness, I will acknowledge CME cruises’ legitimately deserved spot on this list.

Just don't say I didn't warn you if you become a patient vignette in a board question.

That said, some of these CME captains do offer land-based destination CME events as an alternative.

Lastly, I am disappointed that my search for an existing CME cruise company called ‘Sea-ME' was unsuccessful. So I call dibs on the name!

Anyway, here are a few popular CME voyages to research more yourself.

Bon voyage!

Wellness & Fitness Travel CME

If you are finally ready to address your chronic burnout, then you should read more hospital-curated, mandatory wellness powerpoint modules (on your own time, of course).

If reading that gave you a feeling of impending doom, maybe a real wellness CME conference would be better.

While you are at it, CME conferences are back on the calendar; virtual and live.

9. High-Tech Augmented Reality CME

Contrary to what your pager says about the current era, we are living in an amazing time for technology and human achievement. It’s too bad healthcare missed the memo until recently.

But who better to capitalize on machine learning, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence than radiology for CME? No one, that’s who.

Maybe you are a gamer who became a pulmonologist to support your Xbox habit. Well, now there is free CME you can earn while playing video games.

Alternatively, learn about simulation in healthcare and other medtech, while earning CME from StatPearls.

High Tech Unconventional CME

Discover More Unconventional CME

Search for unconventional cme

Want to search even more CME options? Try our new (and growing) CME finder that locates the top online and in-person CME activities and offers available.

CME Search Filters 2

Search CME by Provider or Specialty

Originally Published: June 28, 2021

Further Reading

VisualDx CME Disclaimer

*This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the ACCME through the joint providership of Med-IQ and VisualDx.

Med-IQ is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Med-IQ designates this point of care activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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

CME Subscriptions

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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.

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