What Does it Mean to be a Board Certified Doctor?
Board certification is a useful credential that helps validate the expertise and experience of a physician specialist. This is beneficial to the physician from a personal satisfaction standpoint in that it formally recognizes a mastery of the core concepts that define the physician’s area of expertise, but beyond that, it is also a trusted barometer that patients, employers, and other groups use to identify the most highly qualified physicians in their area. In short, board certified physicians are leaders of the medical profession who have gone above and beyond the minimum requirements to establish themselves as board certified specialists.
To be eligible to practice medicine, a physician must be licensed by the state in which he or she wishes to practice. The limitation to licensure, however, is that it is not specialty specific. Being licensed is a minimum requirement that does not speak to the advanced training that many physicians have received. Board certification, on the other hand, is specialty specific, and goes well beyond the minimum requirements for licensure to identify the most knowledgeable and experienced physicians.
While the eligibility requirements for board certification vary depending on the specific member board and certifying organization, generally the candidate must:
- Meet various application eligibility requirements including completion of an accredited residency
- Pass a standardized written and/or oral examination
- Commit to continuing medical education
Additionally, board certification must be maintained over a set number of years. This helps ensure that board certified physicians make a commitment to continuing their training and stay up to date with the best practices in their specialty areas.
Today, patients increasingly rely on specialists for their various healthcare needs, and board certification is widely accepted as being a trusted indicator of a physician’s credentials as a specialist. At the American Board of Physician Specialties, we have physician Diplomates who practice medicine in all 50 states, as well as throughout Canada and Puerto Rico. To help patients verify the credentials of physicians, we offer a free online verification portal, which can be found here. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc®.