Board of Certification in Orthopedic Surgery (BCOS)

Board of Certification in Orthopedic Surgery (BCOS)The orthopedic surgery board certification exams offered by American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) enables successful candidates to present themselves to the public as qualified medical specialists in orthopedic surgery. Completing the orthopedic surgery board certification exams indicates mastery of orthopedic surgery skills and knowledge, as well as a professional commitment to adhere to the ABPS Medical Code of Ethics.

To be eligible to apply for initial board certification in orthopedic surgery, an applicant must first satisfy the general requirements of the ABPS. These include being a graduate of a recognized U.S., Canadian, or international allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine, and holding a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, or Canada.

The Board of Certification in Orthopedic Surgery (BCOS) has its own eligibility requirements that include:

  • Completing a PGY-1 program or accredited internship and an ACGME- or AOA-accredited residency in orthopedic surgery, or an orthopedic surgery residency accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)
  • Demonstrating evidence of having performed at least 200 surgical procedures on one’s own initiative
  • Submitting a current curriculum vitae that includes medical school, degrees earned, and work experience, in chronological order
  • Submitting two letters of recommendation from Diplomates of an ABPS, ABMS, AOA, or RCPSC board of certification

After applicants are deemed eligible, they must pass both a written and an oral exam in order to earn board certification in orthopedic surgery. The written exam consists of 200 multiple-choice items and is administered over a four-hour session. The exams evaluate practical, or skill-based, principles utilized in orthopedic surgery, as opposed to knowledge gained through memorization. Candidates must pass the written exam in order to take the oral component. For information about dates and fees for the application and the exams, click here.

For the 2018 examination schedule, click here. For the 2019 schedule, click here.

Once granted, all ABPS certificates are good for a period of eight years, expiring on December 31 of the eighth year.

The ABPS invites qualified applicants to apply for certification in orthopedic surgery. BCOS certification carries weight in all 50 states, and BCOS Diplomates practice their specialty at some of the nation’s most prestigious healthcare institutions.

For more information about certification in orthopedic surgery through the BCOS, contact the ABPS today.

Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
New Approaches to Improve Patient Outcomes
June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

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

I value my ABPS certification very highly because it is one-of-a-kind certification in Urgent Care Medicine under the auspices of a larger, reputable organization. I really enjoy the professional and personal relationships I have formed with other individuals in the development of this new board and appreciate the great lengths that ABPS goes to ensure and enhance the recognition of it's component boards.
Joseph D. Toscano, MD
Urgent Care Medicine
ABPS provides a guarantee of a high level of competency. Not only has this been good for my professional development but it has assured my patients that the clinicians they see are trained to the highest degree.


Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC
Integrative Medicine
ABPS gives its members unique opportunities to learn and develop professionally. I have been practicing Emergency Medicine for over 27 years and have been privileged to be a member of this fabulous organization. Through ABPS I have developed tremendously in my professional career becoming a consummate practitioner of my trade, a physician leader locally at my hospital, in my region , at the state level, and a published clinical researcher.
Leslie Mukau, MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine