In stark contrast to older physicians, the gender breakdown is equal among physicians 44 years and younger.
CHICAGO – May 24, 2023—According to new data released by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), more doctors than ever are certified by its Member Boards, which benefits patients and their families across the country.
The 2021-2022 ABMS Board Certification Report shows that more than 975,000 physicians are currently certified by an ABMS Member Board, representing an increase of more than 35,000 physicians (3.7 percent) over the previous year. This data is current as of June 30, 2022.
“Certification by an ABMS Member Board is the cornerstone of physician quality,” stated ABMS Senior Vice President, Certification Standards and Programs Greg Ogrinc, MD, MS. “It is incredibly gratifying to see so many physicians nationwide using board certification to demonstrate their specialty expertise and commitment to provide safe, high-quality, and effective care.”
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, certification by an ABMS Member Board 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.
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. 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 www.CertificationMatters.org.
The 2021-2022 ABMS Board Certification Report offers a variety of information about the 40 specialty and 89 subspecialty certification programs administered by the 24 Member Boards that comprise ABMS. This 62-page report also includes a snapshot of the active certificates held by ABMS Member Board certified physicians, also known as “diplomates.”
The breakdown of age and gender for the diplomate population continues to change over time. The younger cohort (44 years old and younger) shows an even distribution between male (45.4 percent) and female (44.5 percent). This is in stark contrast to older cohorts, including the 65–74-year-old group, which is 74.4 percent male and 24.2 percent female. Currently, 30.2 percent of all active diplomates are women, while 64.8 percent are men, with approximately five percent of diplomates’ genders unknown. The median age of an ABMS board certified diplomate is 55 years old and the mean age is 56.9 years old.
Report highlights include:
- In 2021, the 24 Member Boards awarded 38,901 new specialty certificates and 16,100 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 www.CertificationMatters.org, a free online tool that the public can use to verify that their doctors are board certified.
Established in 1933, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is 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 develop educational and professional standards and programs of assessment to certify physicians and medical specialists. More than 975,000 physicians and medical specialists are certified by one or more of the ABMS Member Boards in one or more of 40 specialties and 89 subspecialties. For more information about ABMS, visit abms.org or call (312) 436-2600.
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