Course FAQs

Why should I take the Controlled Substances: Understanding Opioids & Pain course?

Physician Assistants (in CA)
The California Department of Consumer Affairs, Physician Assistant Board (Business and Professions Code section 3502.1) requires a physician assistant obtain patient specific authority prior to writing a drug order for a controlled substance (Schedule II). If a physician assistant completes an approved education course in controlled substances and if delegated by a supervising physician, this requirement is waived. This is an approved course.

Nurse Practitioners (in CA)
The Schedule II controlled substance (Business and Professions Code, Section 2836.1) added specialized educational requirements and additional requirements in the nurse practitioners approved Standardized Procedures for practice. Nurse Practitioners wishing to furnish Schedule II controlled substances are required to complete either a Board of Registered Nursing-approved continuing education course in Schedule II pharmacology which also includes content regarding the risks of addiction associated with the use of Schedule II controlled substances OR successfully completed the required pharmacological content for Schedule II controlled substances including risks of addiction associated with their use in a board-approved nurse practitioner program. This course satisfies the BRN requirement of a minimum 3-hour approved continuing education course.

Six (6) CE/CME credit hours are also awarded. (PAs: Category 1 CME)

Do I need to retake this course annually to renew the waiver of the PA/NP regulatory requirement (in CA)?

No, successful completion of the course allows a lifetime waiver.

Does my certificate of completion need to be submitted to the state board or other organization?

Physician Assistants (in CA)
Yes, physician assistants who hold an active license, who are authorized through a practice agreement to furnish Schedule II controlled substances, and who are registered with the DEA, are required to complete this course and submit a certificate of completion before renewing their license. This became effective January 1, 2020 per SB 697 (Chapter 707, Statutes of 2018).

For additional information, see the PA Board’s Information Bulletin with Frequently Asked Questions about SB 697 HERE.

*Note: some employers and/or supervising physicians may request a copy of the certificate of completion to maintain in your staff file.

Nurse Practitioners (in CA)
Yes, each nurse practitioner applying for Schedule II furnishing privileges must submit to the Board:

  • Written request for Schedule II furnishing privileges that includes your name, address, and nurse practitioner furnishing number
  • Copy of the continuing education completion
    • Mail to:
      Board of Registered Nursing
      Advanced Practice Unit
      1747 North Market Blvd, Suite 150
      Sacramento, CA 95834

Can I take the course if I don’t have my state license?

Yes, there’s nothing that prevents you from registering and learning the content included in the course. However, in order to satisfy regulatory requirements in California (Board Business and Professions Code section 3502.1 (PAs) and section 2836.1 (NPs)), and to properly assign CEs/CMEs, you must already have a valid license.

Can I take the course if I don’t have my DEA number assigned yet?

Yes, registrants only need a valid clinical license to satisfy the regulatory requirements in California (Board Business and Professions Code section 3502.1 (PAs) and section 2836.1 (NPs)), and to properly assign CEs/CMEs.

Is the controlled substances education course offered online or in-person?

As of mid-2020, all current and future courses will be virtual courses (e.g., webinars) offered online via Zoom.

Originally, all courses from 2013 – early 2020 were live, in-person courses only.

What is required to pass the post-test at the end of the course?

The post-test is a proctored, comprehensive written exam comprised of 30 multiple choice questions that covers that material presented. A passing score is considered 75% or better.

May I re-take the post-test if I did not initially pass?

Yes, you may re-take the exam for a $25 fee which covers the expense of re-administering the proctored exam.

Purchase a re-test HERE.

Do I have to be a member of APPex to take the controlled substances education course?

No, you do not need to be a member of APPex to register for the course.

APPex individual members do receive a 5% discount (corporate members receive a 10% discount).

APPex is a professional membership organization for APRN & PA executives, administrators, managers, and other leaders who are responsible for advanced practice operations, logistics, utilization, policy, and practice at academic medical centers, hospitals, and other healthcare institutions, and oversee large teams of advanced practice staff.

How long has APPex been offering controlled substances education courses?

APPex’s first course was offered in 2013.

APPex is the largest provider of controlled substances training that fulfills the prescribing/ordering regulatory requirement for PAs and NPs in California.

Who are the instructors for the controlled substances education courses?

Instructors are experienced physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists who often hold academic appointments and faculty positions and whose training and practice often involves opioids, other controlled substances, and pain management in the state of California.

Is Continuing Education (CE)/Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit offered for the course?

Yes, CE/CME is awarded for course attendance, a total of six (6) contact hours/credits.

APRN & RN CEs are certified through the California Board of Registered Nurse (CA BRN);
PA CMEs (Category 1) are certified through the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

Can I get an additional/replacement certificate of completion?

Yes, if you misplaced, lost, or require another certificate for any reason, you may order an additional copy for $20.

Purchase a replacement HERE.

When can I register for an upcoming course?

Registration for all courses is open until the day prior to the course (typically Friday, but occasionally Thursday). If registering within seven (7) days of the course, a late fee of $25 will be assessed.

Is there an additional fee for late registration?

Yes, an additional $25 late fee will be added at checkout if registering within one (1) week of the course.

Are course materials provided?

Yes, prior to the course registrants will receive an email with additional course information and a link to a Google Drive shared folder that includes the course flyer, agenda, and presentations. Registrants can print or download these materials to take notes during the course and for later reference. Course materials are typically available a few days prior to the course and one (1) week after the conclusion of the course.

Are refunds offered for registrants unable to attend the course for unanticipated or extenuating circumstances?

Registration for the course is final and not refundable. In certain extenuating circumstances, APPex may offer a refund – minus a $75 processing fee – if a request is submitted in writing prior to one (1) week before the scheduled course date.