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What’s the Difference between Board Certification and Certificate Programs?

Board Certification If you’re currently trying to find the right physician to offer you or a member of your family care, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by the nomenclature. Physicians advertise their credentials, but what do they mean, exactly? What is the difference, for example, between board certification and certificate programs?

When a physician is board certified, it means that he or she went through an extensive process to demonstrate mastery of a particular medical specialty. While requirements and eligibility vary depending on the specific specialty, in general, board certified physicians have extensive firsthand experience and training in their field, successfully pass a formal examination, and commit themselves to continued professional medical training. In short, board certification is a helpful tool for identifying physicians who have risen to the top of their ranks and are highly qualified to provide you with the care you require.

Certificate programs, on the other hand, are training courses that are designed to provide specific working knowledge about a certain topic that usually concludes with some sort of evaluation to those who have grasped the concept and successfully completed the examination. Completing a certificate program can be extremely helpful and speaks to the physician’s willingness to learn new material or refresh their understanding, but it is relatively narrow in scope. Certificate programs may also be welcome to newcomers as well as experienced professionals, so a certificate does not necessarily indicate extensive firsthand experience.

While a certificate and certification may seem similar, it is important to understand the differences between the two. At the American Board of Physician Specialists, we provide board certification to qualified, experienced physicians who have mastered their specialty. Board certification isn’t a training program but a credential limited to only highly experienced physician leaders. To learn more about board certification, contact the ABPS today. You are also welcome to confirm the board certification of ABPS physicians using our online certification confirmation tool here.