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What Must a Physician do to become Board Certified?

Board Certified PhysicianIn order for a physician to become board certified through one of the Member Boards of the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS), he or she must meet the general ABPS eligibility requirements and the eligibility requirements that are specific to his or her chosen specialty. It is important for students who are just beginning their medical studies to understand that at some point, they will almost certainly want to seek board certification. Even though it might seem like a long time off, once you find your academic and professional track, the time to take the respective board certification exam will be here quicker than you imagined.

Here’s an important tip: Don’t reach the point in your career when it’s time to become board certified and be caught unaware by an eligibility requirement that you hadn’t considered. Research the requirements sooner, rather than later, and keep up with them in the years leading up to your board certification exam so that you know exactly what is expected of you at all times.

Each of the Member Boards of the ABPS has its own specific set of eligibility requirements, but there are several general requirements that they all have in common. These include:

  • Completing advanced specialty training or a residency or fellowship of three to five years
  • Possessing a full, unrestricted medical license for every state where you intend to practice
  • The willingness to become recertified after eight years, rather than the 10-year requirement imposed by other board certification bodies
  • Completing at least 50 hours of continuing medical education annually
  • Completing a non-remedial medical ethics course for recertification

To learn more about the general eligibility requirements for ABPS board certification, or to learn about the specific requirements for your chosen specialty, contact the ABPS. You also can find a comparison of the board certification requirements for the ABPS and other board certifying bodies at this link. The ABPS is the official board-certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.