Live CME Course vs Online CME Course. Which One to Choose?

A Continuing Medical Education (CME) Course is designed for doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician associates and other healthcare professionals who want to learn more about certain topics in medicine. 


The primary goal of CME is to improve the quality of healthcare. It provides participants with unique opportunities to add to their knowledge and gain up-to-date information on topics that are of current interest in the healthcare industry. Physicians thus become aware of recent advances in clinical care and can apply their newfound knowledge in their day-to-day practices.

CME courses are mandatory for healthcare personnel who are granted licenses to work. To renew their licenses, they must earn CME credits from continuing education providers that are recognized by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education or ACCME.

If you want to enroll in a CME program, you have two basic options: to attend live classes which are more personal and dynamic or to attend an online program that offers greater flexibility.

Allow us to help you decide which is right for you by exploring each in greater detail and recounting the pros and cons of both.

Differences Between a Live CME Course and an Online CME Course

There are numerous distinctions between live and online CME courses for physicians. The most obvious is how they’re conducted. However, different platforms can also affect a user’s experience in subtle ways such as having technical issues or different content formats.

Live CME courses are offered on-site using a combination of lectures, clinical case reviews, and discussions. Online CME courses rely on recorded lectures, written materials, and discussion forums to impart knowledge.

In a live CME course, you attend a live class with other doctors and can ask questions face-to-face. With an online CME course, you have access to much of the same content and can watch videos and read through the material on your own time and at your own pace.

Are There Courses That Are Preferable To Take In One Modality?

Technology has advanced to such a degree that almost anything can be learned online. Charts, diagrams, videos, and animation make it easier for learners to grasp complex concepts even if they’re studying on their own. With online learning, they can rewind and review materials as many times as they need to. 

Meanwhile, traditional classroom-based programs offer richer interactions with peers and instructors. Students can compare notes, receive encouragement, and directly ask their lecturers for additional support. They also offer opportunities to network with fellow healthcare professionals as they learn together.

The only thing that you need to consider is which learning methods are most useful and relevant to your needs and situation. Do you have time to attend face-to-face lectures? Do you prefer to explore and learn lessons on your own? Under which method can you learn faster and better?

CME courses often contain technical matters and not everyone learns them the same way. If you’ve tried an online course before and it worked for you, there’s a good chance that a digital CME course is for you. However, if you believe that personal interactions are invaluable, you should look into traditional classroom-based learning.

To further help you decide, we discuss the pros and cons of each method in the next section.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Live and Online CME Courses

Whether you choose to attend live or online, both methods of instruction have their own share of advantages and disadvantages. Find out which is right for you by examining which aspects matter most:

Advantages of Live CME Courses

  • Live classes provide opportunities to learn and improve your skills via simulation-based labs alongside other professionals.
  • You can practice real-world scenarios under the supervision of experienced instructors. You’ll then receive personalized feedback based on how well you did. Live simulation-based learning is the best way to learn medical procedures to develop the muscle memory and procedural competence for live patients.
  • Students can enjoy more interaction and a more immersive experience compared to an online course. 
  • You can ask questions directly and receive immediate answers. In an online course, questions are submitted online and answers can take a few hours to a few days.

Disadvantages of Live CME Courses

  • In most live courses, you cannot review the material and you may miss something. HPC offers 12-month access to our Online lectures and videos so you can review the material as much as you need even after the live procedural training.
  • It takes time and money to travel to and from class.
  • The quality of instruction varies based on who is teaching. 
  • They’re more expensive.
  • Class schedules may be difficult for busy professionals to attend.

Advantages of Online CME Courses

  • They’re more convenient and affordable than live classes with many of the same benefits.
  • Online courses may have a wider range of subjects.
  • Classes are standardized. All participants get the exact same modules.
  • You can study at your own pace in the comfort of your home or anywhere else you prefer.
  • They’re often cheaper and easier to attend.

Disadvantages of Online CME Courses

  • You have limited options for interaction and may not be able to consult peers or your instructor.
  • The delivery of online training is dependent on the quality and speed of your internet, laptop, and the platform the course provider is using.
  • Some online courses have poor-quality video and sub-par instructors. 
  • Certain programs may be incohesive and may ask you to refer to materials and websites that have not been integrated into the course. Looking for and consulting these references may take more time and effort on your part.

Where To Take Live and Online Medical Courses

For quality technical training, consider our live and online medical courses at Hospital Procedures Consultants (HPC). You can also enroll in programs that combine traditional and online learning through programs like the HPC Hospitalist, Trauma, and Emergency Procedures CME Course.  This live course features 100% hands-on skills lab training in a positive, low-stress environment with low student-to-faculty ratios and includes training in airway management like endotracheal intubation, vascular access including central line placement or intraosseous line placement, point-of-care ultrasound including E-FAST exams and RUSH exams, and bedside procedures including lumbar puncture, thoracentesis, paracentesis and chest tube placement. among other procedures.


Our live, accredited CME courses are available in San Antonio, Las Vegas, San Diego, Chicago, Washington DC, Denver, Seattle, and New Orleans. With our live classes, you can fulfill the 30 hours of CME procedures required for ENP certification, get 16 hours of trauma CME credit, enjoy hands-on training, have low student-to-instructor ratios, and more.

If you prefer online CME programs, our curriculum features evidence-based instruction on 20 of the most often used bedside procedures in hospital wards, the ER, and ICU. You will learn how to perform these tests and optimize clinical data-based management. 

One of our most popular courses is the Hospitalist and Emergency Procedures ONLINE CME Course. It includes 19 online modules that discuss indications, contraindications, complications, fluid analysis, techniches, and the coding of these procedures. 

The Takeaway

Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses are useful and necessary among healthcare professionals who want to advance and continue their practices. Hospital Procedures Consultants offers you the flexibility to choose between live and online classes. Whichever you choose, you can be assured that you’ll receive professional and quality instruction that’s packed with relevant lessons for your practice.

You can explore our website to learn more about our wide range of courses. We offer live instruction, online programs, and custom courses to meet the needs of modern healthcare professionals.

Read all articles in Cardiovascular diseases, Central line, Chest Tube, Emergency Procedures, Endotracheal Intubation, Events, FAST Exam, Intraosseous line, King Tube, Lumbar Puncture, Medical General, medical procedures, Paracentesis, RUSH Exam, Thoracentesis
Tags: central line placement, chest tube placement, E-FAST, featured, HPC updates, intraosseous line placement, intubation, live cme, lumbar puncture, paracentesis, POCUS, RUSH Exams, thoracentesis, tube thoracostomy, Vascular access

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