ABMS Board Certification Report
The ABMS Board Certification Report[PDF] is the only publication dedicated to information about ABMS Member Board certified physicians and medical specialists (known as diplomates). It includes the official list of the specialty and subspecialty certificates approved by ABMS, the number of new specialty and subspecialty certificates issued in the last 10 years, and the distribution of board certified diplomates by ABMS Member Board, specialty, and state.
- A companion publication, the ABMS Guide to Medical Specialties contains a list of the areas where physicians and medical specialists can be certified by an ABMS Member Board, and descriptions of each specialty and subspecialty area, including the types of conditions commonly treated.
Download Previous Reports
ABMS Board Certified Diplomates: A Population Overview
The 2022-2023 ABMS Board Certification Report[PDF] reflects a growing population of board certified physicians and medical specialists (also known as diplomates) who use board certification to demonstrate their specialty expertise and continued commitment to provide safe, high-quality, and effective care.
The report shows that as of June 30, 2023, there were 988,737 diplomates with an active certification from an ABMS Member Board. Tables 1A and 1B in the report list the specialty and subspecialty certificates approved by ABMS.
Geographic Distribution of ABMS Member Board Diplomates
Geographic distribution of the ABMS Member Board diplomates was computed using data from the ABMS Board Certification Database, along with United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 2022 population estimate (as of July 1). Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division Release date: December 22, 2022.
The state totals as of June 30, 2023, in Table 2C of the report provide information about the distribution of diplomates by Member Board and state. The figure below shows the diplomate distribution per 10,000 at the state level.
Age and Gender Breakdown
The breakdown of age and gender for the diplomate population continues to change over time. As shown below, the younger cohort shows an even distribution between men and women in contrast to older cohorts. At this time, 33.4% of all active diplomates are women, while 60.4% are men. Note that 6.2% of diplomates are unknown. Currently, the median age of an ABMS board certified diplomate is 56 and the mean age is 57. The figure below shows the distribution of ABMS Member Board diplomates across gender and age groups.
Distribution of ABMS Member Board diplomates across gender and age groups
ABMS Member Boards awarded 33,600 new specialty certificates and 16,972 new subspecialty certificates (see Table 2A and Table 2B in the report) to physicians and medical specialists during 2022. In looking at the number of active certifications held, many ABMS Member Board diplomates choose to maintain more than one certification to further demonstrate additional specialized medical expertise. About 25% of ABMS Member Board diplomates have at least two active certificates.
The ABMS Board Certification Database shows that as of June 30, 2023, there were 698,314 diplomates participating in continuing certification. Continuing certification is the ongoing process of board certification that simultaneously supports diplomates in keeping their knowledge and skills current while validating their increasing expertise in a specialty.
The process has developed during the last 20 years. Initial certification is the entry point for diplomates to participate in continuing professional development through focused, relevant, and accessible activities and assessments. Board certified diplomates are required to participate in ongoing activities to maintain certification. Some do not however, because the requirement was not in place when they were first certified. The ABMS Member Boards strongly encourage these individuals to participate voluntarily. The figure below shows the increase of the number of ABMS Member Board diplomates participating in continuing certification.