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Psychiatry Recertification

Updated November 2010

Beginning in 2006, all physicians who are newly certified will be required to meet the new ABPS Standards for Recertification.  See ABPS Standards for RecertificationClick here to download a PDF copy of the brochure.  Physicians who were initially certified prior to 2006 will not have to meet the new recertification requirements until after their next recertification.

ABPS will accept Diplomates certified by the Boards that are part of The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the Association Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (AOABOS) as candidates for recertification with ABPS in any specialty in which ABPS currently certifies physicians.  Click here for full details.

Please note that in addition to the recertification requirements listed, all applicants due for recertification in 2012 or later will be required to show proof of completion of an AAPS-approved course in Medical Ethics.  (To assist physicians in meeting this requirement, AAPS will periodically schedule for its members a one-day course in Medical Ethics.)  CMEs earned for attending the medical ethics course may also be applied to meeting the CME recertification requirements.

The Board recommends that all applicants keep a copy of all application materials sent to ABPS.

Requirements for Recertification

Recertification Requirements for Physicians who were Initially Certified in Psychiatry prior to 2006

Note:  The following requirements apply only to the next recertification.  After recertifying, the physician will be required to meet the new recertification requirements, listed below.

  1. Submit a completed recertification application, along with payment of appropriate fee.  Refer to the recertification fee schedule*. 
  2. Submit documentation of CME hours:  For the years since certified or last recertified through the year 2005—an average of 35 CMEs per year in the field of Psychiatry; and for the years 2006 and later:  an average of 50 hours per year with at least 25 CMEs in the field of Psychiatry.   At least 25 of the CME hours received during the eight years should be obtained through AAPS-sponsored programs.The ABPS CME form must be used, in compiling the CMEs – click here to download. Copies of an official printout or copies of certificates must be attached to the ABPS CME Form.
  3. Provide a copy of current medical license with expiration date.
  4. Successfully pass a written examination in Psychiatry.

New Recertification Requirements for Physicians Who are Initially Certified in Psychiatry after  2005 and for Physicians After Recertifying in 2006 or Later

The following resources are available for on-line CME and self-assessments:
A list of CME/Self Assessment Resources compiled by Dr. Bernard Sklar (Online Continuing Medical Education) is available at http://www.cmelist.com/list.htm .

Another resource for On-Line self assessments is NetCE at www.netce.com.

  1. Submit a completed recertification application, along with payment of appropriate fee.  Refer to the recertification fee schedule*.
  2. Submit documentation of CME hours: an average of 50 hours per year with at least 25 CMEs in the field of Psychiatry. At least 25 of the CME hours received during the eight years must be obtained through AAPS-sponsored programs. The ABPS CME form must be used, in compiling the CMEs, click here. Copies of an official printout or copies of certificates must be attached to the ABPS CME Form. At least 50 questions of self-assessment CME Examination(s) must be satisfactorily completed each year, except in the final year of the certification/recertification cycle. CMEs obtained from self-assessments may be used to meet the annual CME requirements specified in item 2 of this section.
  3. Provide a copy of current medical license with expiration date.
  4. Successfully pass a written examination in Psychiatry.

PDF IconDownload Board Recertification Application
(.pdf, 163 KB)

* NOTE: Recertification Application fee is non-refundable

When and Where the Examinations are Offered

The American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS), the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc. (AAPS), offers computer-based recertification examinations twice a year in testing centers across the United States and Canada,.  The recertification examination process in Psychiatry requires candidates to pass only a written examination.

Click Here for a full listing of upcoming ABPS Recertification Exam Dates.

The Written Examination—What to Expect

The written examination consists of approximately 100 multiple-choice questions of four choices.  (Experimental or non-scorable items may also appear on an examination.  These questions will not necessarily be identified as non-scorable.)  Each scorable question has only one correct answer.

Test Blueprint

The following table lists the approximate number of items in each domain included on each form of the examination:

Domain Approximate Number of Questions on the Examination
Adjustment Disorders 2
Amnestic Syndromes 2
Anxiety Disorders 4
Attention Deficit And Hyperactivity Disorders 2
Biological Bases Of Behavior 3
Communication Disorders 2
Community Psychiatry 3
Delirium 2
Dementia 3
Diagnostic Testing 3
Disorders Of Infancy, Childhood, And Adolescence 2
Eating Disorders 3
Electroconvulsive Therapy 2
Elimination Disorders 1
Ethical Issues In Psychiatry 3
Factitious Disorders 2
Geriatric Psychiatry 4
History of the Profession 1
Impulse Control Disorders 1
Learning Disorders 2
Legal Issues In Psychiatry 3
Mental Disorders Due To Medical Illnesses 2
Mental Retardation 2
Mood Disorders 4
Non-Biological Bases Of Behavior 2
Personality Disorders 3
Pervasive Developmental Disorders 2
Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders 4
Psychopharmacology 5
Psychotherapy 5
Sexual Disorders 3
Somatoform Disorders 3
Thought Disorders 4
Tic Disorders 2
Neurology 7
Sleep Disorders 2

Psychiatry Examination Study References

You may wish to use the study references to prepare for the written recertification examination.  The Examinations Committee uses these references to create questions for the examinations.

PDF Icon Download Study References

When Examination Results are Available

ABPS sends to candidates the results of their examinations within 75 days of the administration date.