What Does it Mean to be a Board Certified Doctor?

Board Certified DoctorBoard 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®.

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June 10-15, 2022
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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.

On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine