New Report: US Physician Board Certification Continues to Grow

On January 24, 2022

Susan Morris
AVP, Communications
(312) 436-2624

A Record Number of Doctors are Certified by ABMS Member Boards

CHICAGO – January 24, 2022 — According to a new report from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a record number of U.S. physicians and medical specialists are board certified, benefitting patients and their families across the country.

The 2020-2021 ABMS Board Certification Report shows that more than 940,000 physicians are currently certified by an ABMS Member Board, representing an increase of more than 25,000 physicians over the previous year and an overall 10.3 percent increase since 2016.

“Now more than ever, it is critically important that patients have access to high-quality medical care,” stated ABMS Senior Vice President, Certification Standards and Programs Greg Ogrinc, MD, MS. “It is rewarding to see so many physicians nationwide reaching for the highest standard of specialty care, which is what board certification by an ABMS Member Board represents.”

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. While doctors are required to be licensed by the state in which they practice, board certification is a higher standard that doctors choose to attain and maintain. To verify that their doctor has taken that extra step to practice at the top of their profession and deliver high-quality and safe care, patients can visit

For more than 45 years, the annual ABMS Board Certification 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.

The 2020-2021 ABMS Board Certification Report offers a variety of information about the 40 specialty and 88 subspecialty certification programs administered by the 24 Member Boards that comprise ABMS. This 63-page report also includes a snapshot of the active certificates held by ABMS Member Board certified physicians.

Report highlights include:

  • In 2020, the 24 Member Boards awarded 23,694 new specialty certificates and 11,839 new subspecialty certificates.
  • Colorful charts and infographics that break down important data, such as the distribution of board certified diplomates by ABMS Member Board, state, age, and gender.

Published annually, the ABMS Board Certification Report can be downloaded 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, a free online tool that the public can use to verify that their doctors are board certified.

About ABMS

Established in 1933, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is the leading not-for-profit organization responsible for the creation of standards overseeing physician certification in the United States. Dedicated to improving the quality of care to the patients, families, and communities they serve, the 24 ABMS Member Boards’ appointed professional leadership and public members develop educational and professional standards and programs of assessment to certify physicians and medical specialists. More than 940,000 physicians and medical specialists are certified by one or more of the ABMS Member Boards in one or more 40 specialties and 88 subspecialties. For more information about ABMS, visit or call (312) 436-2600.

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