Information for Credentialing Professionals

As a credentialing professional, gathering information about a physician’s training, certification, and experience is an important part of your work in building a professional summary to assess qualifications. This page provides information about key components of the ABMS Member Board certification process and how they appear within the ABMS Board Certification Credentials Profile.

Board Eligibility

ABMS defines board eligibility as the period of time between when a physician completes an ACGME-accredited residency program and when initial certification in a specialty or subspecialty is achieved.

The ABMS Board Eligibility Policy for Specialty Certification (effective January 1, 2012) and the ABMS Eligibility Policy for Subspecialty Certification (effective January 1, 2018) places limits on this time period. These policies enable the ABMS Member Boards to set parameters for how candidates can use the term board eligible as a way to signal their preparations for certification while at the same time closing off the potential for abuse through using the term indefinitely.

See the ABMS Board Eligibility Policies FAQs[PDF] document.

Focused Practice

The Focused Practice designation, approved by ABMS in March 2017, recognizes the value that physicians who devote a substantial portion or their practice to a specific area of a specialty and/or subspecialty can provide to improving health care. It reflects an evolution of practice that occurs following initial certification and is relevant to continuing certification. For example, a physician may focus his or her practice on work in the hospital setting or concentrate on specific patient populations, conditions, and/or specialized procedures that emerge as medicine evolves.

Focused Practice designation enables Member Boards to set standards for, assess, and acknowledge additional expertise that physicians gain through clinical experience. It allows physicians to concentrate their continuing certification efforts in the very area on which much of their professional practice is based.

See the ABMS Focused Practice Designation FAQs[PDF] document.

Display of Board Certification and MOC Status

The “Certification” display includes the status of all a physician’s specialty (and subspecialty, if any) certificates from an ABMS Member Board. For each certificate listed, the status is shown as either “certified” or “not certified”.

The “Participating in Maintenance of Certification (MOC)” display includes the status of all a physician’s specialty (and subspecialty, if any) certificates from an ABMS Member Board. For each certificate listed, either “Yes”, “No” or “Not Required” is shown to indicate status.

  • “Yes” status indicates the physician is engaged in the MOC assessment and learning activities required by his or her certifying Member Board(s).
  • “No” status may be listed due to a variety of reasons. For example, a physician may have chosen not to participate in MOC. Or, the physician may be participating, but not meeting the Member Board(s) MOC program requirements. More information is available from the particular ABMS Member Board.
  • “Not required” status indicates that the physician became board certified before the Member Board established its MOC program and is therefore not required to participate. This is noted in a disclaimer at the bottom of the profile page.

If the participation status information is missing, the physician’s certifying Member Board(s) has not made it available to ABMS. Examples of why the information has not been provided to ABMS could include technical issues, delays in confirming the MOC status of a board certified physician, or other factors specific to the physician. ABMS will display publicly whether that physician is participating in MOC as soon as it receives the information from his or her certifying board(s).

See the ABMS Board Certification Credentials Profile Display of Board Certification and MOC Participation FAQs[PDF] document.