How Specialty Certification Helps Physicians Differentiate Their Credentials

Specialty CertificationThe primary function of physician board certification is to provide a platform for physician specialists to demonstrate a mastery of the core competencies required to provide the best possible care in a given medical specialty. The American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) governs 18 specialty boards that allow physicians to prove they possess the skill and experience necessary to practice their chosen specialties. Naturally, there is more to specialty certification than a nice, framed certificate. In fact, very little else can help a physician differentiate his or her credentials for the purposes of career advancement.

How does specialty certification from the ABPS help a physician stand out? Consider the standard career path for many physicians − medical school, residency, perhaps a fellowship, then practice. Most physicians also seek board certification, typically in a broad field such as internal medicine or family medicine. As careers advance, however, some physicians find themselves gravitating toward more specific practices of medicine. These physicians might practice in an emergency department at a hospital, or move into a field such as Integrative Medicine. The job might lead them to work at an urgent care center, or move from an urban area into a rural area, where practitioners of specialties such as Family Medicine Obstetrics are less prevalent. In all of these cases, achieving specialty certification can serve to distinguish a physician from the competition. Specialties that fall into this category can include:

  • Hospital Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Urgent Care Medicine
  • Family Medicine Obstetrics
  • Disaster Medicine
  • Integrative Medicine
  • And others

To learn more about how specialty certification can differentiate a physician within a competitive job market, contact the ABPS. The ABPS is the official board-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 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
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