Why Physician Board Certification?

Why Physician Board Certification?Becoming a physician is no easy feat. It’s a lengthy process that demands steadfast discipline and dedication, with years of medical school study followed by rigorous postgraduate training. Then, before doctors can become practicing physicians, they must earn a medical license, which requires candidates to pass a standardized exam. After a state grants a physician a medical license, that physician can practice medicine for one or two years, depending on the state, before needing to update the license.

Whereas licensure is required for medical practice, physician board certification is not. Certification is an extra step that physicians take to demonstrate that they have skills, knowledge, and experience to practice their specialty. To achieve board certification, physicians must do further work. They must complete a thorough application process, in which they must show proof of having extensive experience in their specialty, and, once again, they must pass a tough standardized exam.

How Board Certification Benefits Physicians and Patients

Certification can be a daunting prospect, so why do physicians attempt it? In other words, why has it become such a highly coveted distinction?

At the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we say it’s because effective health care matters. We are a nationally recognized multi-specialty certifying body that has been active since 1960, and as the medical marketplace grows more competitive, we have seen board certification gain increasing importance. For physicians, certification serves as a validation of world-class expertise that makes them leaders in their medical fields. For hospitals and other employers, certification helps to verify a physician’s credentials and identify physicians as ideal candidates for new career opportunities. Board certification also:

  • Assures patients that a certified physician has the skills to deliver outstanding medical care
  • Fosters recognition and respect from medical colleagues
  • Promotes ongoing education that helps to advance medical specialties
  • Provides opportunities for physicians to advocate for better patient care

How Is the ABPS Different From Other Certification Boards?

At ABPS, we take pride in being the sole multi-specialty certifying board in the United States to provide certification in emerging specialties such as family medicine obstetrics, disaster medicine, and integrative medicine. Additionally, we offer career emergency medicine physicians a unique pathway to obtain certification in this field. Previously, those specializing in primary care but seeking recognition for their emergency room expertise were ineligible for emergency medicine certification. However, our innovative emergency medicine fellowship program now offers these doctors an ideal track to achieve EM certification. At the ABPS, we are dedicated to advancing medical specialties and providing specialized recognition for exceptional physicians.

Apply for Board Certification With the ABPS

If you are a licensed physician who is seeking board certification, or if you are certified but have missed the application deadline for another organization, consider applying for certification with the ABPS. Recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as a choice for physician board certification, we offer qualified allopathic and osteopathic physicians a path toward board certification in a range of specialties.

Eligibility Requirements of the ABPS

The ABPS has maintained that board certification should be reserved for physicians who can demonstrate an exceptional level of expertise in their specialty. That’s why we maintain stringent eligibility requirements. The eligibility requirements of the ABPS differ from specialty to specialty, but all ABPS Member Boards share certain requirements, including:

  • Being in conformity with the Code of Ethics of the ABPS, being known in the community as an ethical member of the profession, and being an active practitioner in the specialty for which you’re seeking certification
  • Having graduated from a recognized U.S., Canadian, or international allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine. International graduates must also hold a valid Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Certificate.
  • Holding a valid and unrestricted license(s) to practice medicine in the United States, U.S. territories, or Canada.

For information about our mission and our eligibility requirements, contact us today. The ABPS is the official multi-specialty board certification body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®

Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
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.

On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
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
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