Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification

ABMS Board Certification and the ABMS Program for Maintenance of Certification (ABMS MOC®) are instrumental to the integrity of medical specialty care. They provide a trusted credential that is important to patients and relevant to physician practice.

  • Board Certification is a voluntary process, and one that is very different from medical licensure. Obtaining a medical license sets the minimum competency requirements to diagnose and treat patients, it is not specialty specific. Board Certification demonstrates a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice.
  • The ABMS Program for MOC is a system of ongoing professional development and practice assessment and improvement. It challenges physicians to focus on the continuous development of their skill set, especially those skills that enable them to function effectively in interprofessional teams, integrated systems of care, and community settings.

Board Certification and ABMS MOC are peer-developed, externally validated programs which serve as important markers for a higher standard of care. They reflect the critical core physician values of compassion, patient-centeredness, and a passion for education. Patients, physicians, health care providers, insurers, and quality organizations look for these markers as the best measure of a physician’s knowledge, experience and skills to provide quality health care within a given specialty.

The Certification and Maintenance of Certification Process Steps

Certification by an ABMS Member Board involves a rigorous process of testing and peer evaluation that is designed and administered by specialists in the specific area of medicine. Through collaboration between ABMS and the 24 Member Boards, standards for initial certification and keeping certification current through ABMS MOC are determined for continuous professional development as well as improvements to patient care.