ABMS Releases 2018-2019 Board Certification Report

On November 4, 2019

Physician Board Certification is on the Rise: More than 900,000 are Certified in the US

CHICAGO – November 4, 2019 – More than 900,000 physicians in the United States are board certified—up 2.5% from 880,000 last year—and more than half of those are from just 10 states. These are just a few statistics found in the latest ABMS Board Certification Report released by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

The board certification process was created more than 100 years ago as a rigorous, independent evaluation of a physician’s experience, knowledge, and skills. Today, board certification supports continuous assessment and professional development activities.

For more than 45 years, this annual report has illustrated the continued importance of board certification as a public credential. Several entities use ABMS data as the definitive guide to specialties and board certification in the U.S. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services uses ABMS certification data for its popular “Physician Compare” web site and to determine specialties for residencies.

The 2018–2019 ABMS Board Certification Report offers a variety of information about the 40 specialty and 87 subspecialty certification programs administered by the 24 Member Boards that comprise ABMS. This 58-page report also includes a snapshot of the active certificates held by ABMS Member Board certified physicians by state.

Report highlights include:

  • In 2018, the 24 Member Boards awarded 30,408 new specialty certificates and 13,800 new subspecialty certificates, bringing their respective totals to 278,487 and 124,950 since 2009.
  • Colorful charts and infographics that break down important data, such as state-by-state listings of the number of board certified physicians in each specialty.
  • A table that illustrates Approved Focused Practice Designations by Member Board.

Published annually, the ABMS Board Certification Report can be downloaded for free from the ABMS website. This report reflects information reported by the 24 ABMS Member Boards and data from the ABMS certification database, which contains more than one million records. The database is updated daily with information received from Member Boards and is considered a primary source for professional certification verification. ABMS offers CertificationMatters.org, a free online tool that the public can use to verify that their doctors are board certified.

Top 10 States for Board Certified Physicians

  1. California (104,258)
  2. New York (70,849)
  3. Texas (59,208)
  4. Florida (48,140)
  5. Pennsylvania (40,975)
  6. Illinois (36,240)
  7. Ohio (32,101)
  8. Massachusetts (30,462)
  9. New Jersey (26,800)
  10. North Carolina (25,993)

Largest Specialty Certifying Boards

  1. Internal Medicine (238,913)
  2. Pediatrics (105,685)
  3. Family Medicine (91,208)
  4. Psychiatry and Neurology (71,561)
  5. Radiology (59,525)


About ABMS

Established in 1933, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is the leading not-for-profit organization overseeing physician certification in the United States. ABMS establishes the standards its 24 Member Boards use to develop and implement educational and professional evaluation, assessment, and certification of physician specialists, helping to improve the quality of care to the patients, families and communities we serve. More than 900,000 physicians are certified in one or more of the approved 40 specialties and 87 subspecialties offered by the ABMS Member Boards. For more information about ABMS, visit abms.org or call (312) 436-2600.

Download this news release in PDF form.

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