The ABMS Board Eligibility Policy and the ABMS Eligibility Policy for Subspecialty Certification recognize physicians’ need to use the term "board eligible" as a way to signal their preparations for certification. At the same time, it closes off the potential for abuse through use of the term indefinitely. The establishment of this policy tightens the connection between training and certification.
Research has shown repeatedly that physicians lose knowledge and skills as the years pass after their training. The requirements of the ABMS MOC program address this problem through continuous professional development. The policies limit the time that can elapse before physicians are certified and therefore participating in MOC.
When a physician does not achieve initial certification within the board eligible period, that physician must cease from representing him / herself as being board eligible. The physician is no longer eligible for certification until completing all requirements of the ABMS Member Board that oversees certification in his or her specialty.
NOTE: While some Member Boards may not recognize the term “board eligible,” their policies appropriately limit the time that may elapse before a physician becomes board certified.
See the Board Eligible Periods, Transition Dates, and FAQs [PDF] document.