Physicians Have Options When It Comes to Board Certification, According to Emmanuel Konstantakos, MD

Manny Konstantakos, MDUnlike what many residents believed during their residencies, physicians have several options for board certification. During the chief year of my orthopedic surgery residency, many of us learned that there are only three truly legitimate physician board certifying bodies in North America: the ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS).

Of these three boards, the ABMS is the largest and most well-known, and perhaps also the most monopolizing—nearly every resident is steered towards certifying with the ABMS after graduating. I remember that many residents never even considered another board simply because they had never heard of any other board.

So, let’s consider why the ABPS, a nationally recognized board may be a better option for you, as it has been for many qualified physicians practicing today. The ABPS certified its first physician in 1960. With 12 Member Boards, the ABPS takes a non-discriminatory approach and certifies both allopathic and osteopathic physicians in a wide range of specialties, from traditional fields like family medicine and general surgery to relatively new specialties like integrative medicine and disaster medicine. Truth be told, the ABPS is the only multi-specialty board that offers certification in these emerging fields.

The ABPS certification process is notably rigorous. This isn’t a quick online deal or a certification one “achieves” after attending a really nice dinner with a pharmaceutical representative. ABPS candidates for certification must meet several eligibility requirements and pass a challenging specialty exam. This helps to explain why only the most committed physicians achieve ABPS certification and why ABPS Diplomates practice medicine at some of the most respectable institutions in the country. If there’s one essential takeaway from the ABPS certification process, it’s that the ABPS is a time-tested, verified, and trusted source for both initial certification and recertification.

Remember, board certification is not a requirement. Instead, it’s a voluntary process and its achievement represents a deep commitment to patient care. In today’s medical industry, finding and keeping your dream job if you’re not board certified can be stressful because hospitals and other employers are increasingly hiring board-certified physicians only.

And in case you’re wondering, I don’t have anything to gain from informing you about any particular certification board. As a physician who has been through the process of choosing a board most consistent with my values and best fosters my career development, I simply want other physicians to know that regardless of what you’re made to believe during residency, you have other valid certification options!

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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.

Board certification through the American Board of Physician Specialties has served to substantiate my interest and additional training in several fields of medicine including Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, and Administrative Medicine. As a result, I have been able to serve my community in clinical, disaster response, and administrative medicine roles. Through the ABPS, I have become recognized as a leader in my various fields of interest.

Spencer Price MD, MPH, MBA
Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, Administrative Medicine
BCEM certification through ABPS has provided me with many opportunities. It has helped me demonstrate that I have special experience and expertise in Emergency Medicine beyond that obtained through my family medicine training. BCEM certification firmly established me as an emergency medicine specialist once I started working in emergency medicine full time. ABPS has also helped me network with other family physicians with a passion for improving rural and underserved emergency medicine practice.

Alex Beuning, MD, FAAEP
Emergency Medicine
Personal challenge and motivation compelled me to pass my ABPS board exam. Measurement and confirmation of my own knowledge base reinforced my self-confidence. The ABPS, with its history of inclusivity, has allowed me to have a voice in the organization, while permitting me to impact overall national patient safety and care through certification. Participation in exam development afforded me the opportunity to witness the rigorousness of the exam process and psychometrically sound product, while developing meaningful collegiality, professional life enrichment, and warding off burn out.

Elizabeth Maxwell-Schmidt MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine