Are All Physicians Certified in the Specialties They Practice?

Group of doctors use a computer tabletThere is no shortage of well-qualified and experienced physicians practicing today, but not all of them are certified in the specialties they practice. Does that mean that they are not as talented or dedicated as their board-certified colleagues? Hardly.

Keep in mind that board certification, unlike a state medical license, is not a requirement to practice medicine. Rather, board certification serves as a valuable tool for evaluating a physician’s expertise. Certification is a voluntary process that includes additional training, which helps to assure patients that their doct or indeed has the skills and knowledge to provide safe and effective health care. Considering how nerve-wracking visiting a doctor can be for many patients, it’s not hard to understand why board certification can give patients, as well as their loved ones, confidence in a physician’s treatment approach.

While better patient care is the ultimate goal of physician board certification, the hard-earned credential does provide several other benefits for physicians, their employers, and the community at large. Consider that board certification is:

  • One of the highest honors that a physician can receive in their field of study, validating years of hard work while boosting their careers and earning potential
  • Becoming increasingly prioritized by employers who are looking for ways to differentiate their medical centers from the competition

Board certification should not be the only factor to consider when assessing prospective physicians, but given the rigor of the process, which includes meeting stringent eligibility requirements and passing tough exams, it is a recognized indicator of the physician’s expertise.

At the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we offer board certification to both allopathic and osteopathic physicians in a variety of medical fields, from emerging specialties like integrative medicine and disaster medicine to primary care fields like internal medicine and family medicine. Our 12 Member Boards are recognized by the U.S Department of Labor as well as credentialing organizations such as Greely, HCPro, and the National Association of Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) as top options for physician certification.

If you would like to find out whether your physician is board certified through the ABPS, visit our online physician verification database here. If you’re unable to find your physician in the database, please call our Verification Department at (813) 433-2277.


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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

Board certification through the American Board of Physician Specialties has served to substantiate my interest and additional training in several fields of medicine including Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, and Administrative Medicine. As a result, I have been able to serve my community in clinical, disaster response, and administrative medicine roles. Through the ABPS, I have become recognized as a leader in my various fields of interest.

Spencer Price MD, MPH, MBA
Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, Administrative Medicine
BCEM certification through ABPS has provided me with many opportunities. It has helped me demonstrate that I have special experience and expertise in Emergency Medicine beyond that obtained through my family medicine training. BCEM certification firmly established me as an emergency medicine specialist once I started working in emergency medicine full time. ABPS has also helped me network with other family physicians with a passion for improving rural and underserved emergency medicine practice.

Alex Beuning, MD, FAAEP
Emergency Medicine
Personal challenge and motivation compelled me to pass my ABPS board exam. Measurement and confirmation of my own knowledge base reinforced my self-confidence. The ABPS, with its history of inclusivity, has allowed me to have a voice in the organization, while permitting me to impact overall national patient safety and care through certification. Participation in exam development afforded me the opportunity to witness the rigorousness of the exam process and psychometrically sound product, while developing meaningful collegiality, professional life enrichment, and warding off burn out.

Elizabeth Maxwell-Schmidt MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine