Physician Certification vs. Medical Licensure

Medical LicensePhysician certification and medical licensure are both vital for career advancement. Yet, the two are important for very different reasons. Here is the major difference: medical licensure is required, while physician board certification technically is a voluntary achievement. It is technically voluntary, because anyone who hopes to achieve meaningful advancement in the field of a particular specialty will almost certainly need to become board certified in that specialty. Whereas, everyone who practices medicine must receive a medical license from the state or states where they intend to practice.

One way to think about medical licensure and physician certification is to compare the process of becoming a practicing physician to that of becoming a professional racecar driver. At a certain point in your driving career, usually when you’re just starting out, you are required to earn a driver’s license in order to be on the road behind the wheel. But earning that license doesn’t mean you’re ready for NASCAR. Excelling at the highest levels of any profession requires experience and talent, and there are tried and true methods in place for measuring someone’s competence in a given field.

Similarly, once you have earned your medical license, there still is a lot of work to do in order to achieve physician board certification. And once you have accomplished the necessary work experience and training, you need a reliable, clinically based method of measuring your skill and knowledge in the core competencies associated with your chosen specialty. That’s where the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) comes into the picture. As one of the most respected multi-specialty board certification bodies in the United States, the ABPS provides licensed, qualified physicians the opportunity to prove their worth to potential employers, patients, and peers. To learn more about the ABPS board certification process, contact us today. The ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.

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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.

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