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Psychiatry Eligibility

Revised September 2008

To be eligible for certification in Psychiatry through the Board of Certification in Psychiatry, the applicant must:

  1. Submit a Psychiatry application form complete with required application processing fee, two (2) passport-size photographs taken within the last 90 days, and a notarized signature.
  2. Be in conformity with the Code of Ethics of the American Board of Physician Specialties, be known in his/her community as an ethical member of the profession, and be an active specialist in Psychiatry.
  3. Be a graduate of a recognized college of medicine, confirmed by a copy of an allopathic/osteopathic degree, or a letter of verification from the institution where the degree was earned. In the case of foreign medical schools, an English translation of the document is also required.
  4. Hold a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or its territories or in Canada and submit copies of all licenses. License(s) must include date of expiration.
  5. Submit current curriculum vitae which includes medical school experiences and degrees earned in chronological order.
  6. Complete an ACGME, AOA or RCPSC accredited residency in Psychiatry. Include a copy of a completed Psychiatry residency certificate.The ABPS now accepts all residencies accepted by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). ABPS therefore now accepts all residencies approved by ACGME, AOA, or RCPSC. It should be noted that the ABPS accepts ALL medical residencies approved by the RCPSC, including approved residencies outside Canada.
  7. Submit three (3) letters of recommendation from Diplomates of an ABPS, AOA, or ABMS-recognized board of certification. Letters of recommendation must be current and on letterhead stationery, which includes a telephone number. Letters submitted on plain paper with no address or telephone number of the signatory is not acceptable. The BCIM requires original letters; copies are not acceptable. The BCIM recommends that these letters be sent to the applicant to be included with other application documents.
  8. Submit verification of staff privileges by means of a letter from the administrator of each hospital at which privileges are held, confirming good standing at that hospital.
  9. Submit a documented report of a minimum of ten (10) Psychiatry cases, which an applicant had the lead role in managing. Case reports must be no older than twelve (12) months from the date the candidate’s application for certification is received by ABPS. Case reports should only include information on the care and services provided by the applicant. At the point where a patient’s care is transferred to another physician or facility, the applicant’s case presentation is complete.
  10. All U.S. physicians must do a self-Query of the national Practitioner Data Bank and submit a sealed (unopened envelope) copy of the report as part of the application process. The report need not be submitted with the application but must be provided in order for the applicant to be approved to take the written examination. For information on performing a self-query of the Bank, go to the website www.npdb-hipdb.hrsa.gov for information.
    All Canadian physicians must request and submit a testament statement from each province in which a license is held, verifying that there have been no disciplinary actions against the applicant.
  11. All physicians must allow AAPS to perform a background check, attested by initialing the appropriate line on the application form.
  12. All physicians must submit the signed candidate appeal form.
  13. Payment of appropriate fees. To view the fee schedule, click here

To have an application considered by the BCIM Credentials Committee, all application documents must be compiled in a notebook.  The BCIM recommends that the applicant keep a copy of all application documents submitted to the ABPS.

Case Report Requirements

The applicant must submit four (4) separately compiled copies of ten (10) diversified case reports in the following format:

  1. Case reports must be typewritten. Photocopies of typewritten case reports are acceptable.
  2. Case reports must be double-spaced on standard 8.5″ x 11″ white paper.
  3. Case reports must be in a hard, report style binder, or a three-ringed notebook.
  4. The applicant must sign each case report.
  5. An index shall be placed at the front of the reports indicating the type of case (diagnosis) and the page number on which the case can be found. To view sample index and verification form, click here.
  6. Confirmation of the validity of the reports by hospital administrator, medical records director, or whoever performs such duties at the facility. This must be on official letterhead verifying that you were the physician treating the patient in each case on the date stated. If the applicant’s cases reflect work at more than one institution, then separate letters must be submitted verifying the cases from each institution. This validation must be notarized and signed. (Refer to sample index/verification form.)
  7. Case reports shall contain the following information:
    • For patient #, list the same number as the case number (Refer to sample index and verification form.)
    • Date of admission and date of discharge
    • Admitting diagnosis – Axis I-IV acc to DSM-IV
    • Final diagnosis – Axis I-IV acc to DSM-IV
    • Chief complaint
    • Psychosocial and medical histories
    • Physical and laboratory findings; mental status exam
  8. Summarization of the important facts regarding the case, acts as the most essential part of the case report and must describe the case in such a manner as to convey to the BCIM Credentials Committee the vital facts regarding the diagnosis, care, end results obtained, etc.