Board Certification: Do Physician Jobs Require It? What Are The Requirements?
Not all physician job opportunities require board certification. In fact, board certification is a voluntary process physicians take.
Once a physician graduates from medical school, the next step is to complete all residency requirements and then get licensed and approved by their State’s official medical board. All physicians must have a license in the state(s) they intend to practice.
After all these steps are completed, if a physician wants to acquire board certification, they must meet additional requirements and trainings required by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
About the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is national organization of 24 specialty medical boards in the U.S. It is considered the largest physician specialty certification organization due to having over 750K U.S. physicians achieve certification by one or more of its Member Boards.
The ABMS board certification process has been around for over 100 years. It is a comprehensive, independent evaluation of a physician specialist’s experience, knowledge and skills. After medical licensure is obtained, physicians undergo the board certification process which includes additional years of training at an accredited program and passing the board exam given by an ABMS Member Board.
Board Certification Requirements
Getting board certified is a thorough process not all physicians decide to go through.
Before a physician can become board certified, they must first:
- Complete 4 years of medical school
- Earn a medical degree (MD or DO) from a qualified medical school
- Complete 3-7 years of full-time experience from an accredited residency and/or fellowship program: While obtaining medical training, physicians become eligible for board certification.
- Provide “letters of attestation” from their program director and/or faculty
- Obtain an “unrestricted” medical license to practice medicine in the U.S.: After medical school, physicians must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination to then be able to the apply and obtain a medical license in the state in which they intend to practice. The medical licensure process (add link to cluster page 14) varies per state, and applicants should be well informed of all the requirements and processes.
- Pass all written and oral examinations administered by an ABMS Member Board: After the completion and passing of their specialty or subspecialty certification exam, physicians are now “diplomates” of their local Member Board.
Becoming board certified means, you are a leader in your medical specialty. Therefore, in addition to the 6 board certification requirements, all physicians must enroll in continuing education courses. Physicians must continue to learn and demonstrate commitment to providing high-quality patient care.
Board certifications are tailored specifically to specialties and subspecialties, each having its own set of requirements. To gather requirements for a specific medical specialty, reach out to your local ABMS Member Board.
Maintaining Your Board Certification
To maintain your board certification, physicians must fulfill their “ABMS Continuing Education” requirement.
Remember board certification represents a physicians’ highest professional credential.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the physician to gain more knowledge, participate in professional development, and demonstrate they are a leader in their field by building the “patient-physician” relationship – this assures patients their physicians have met all the proper trainings that make them a specialist and that they are able to provide safe, quality patient care.
To dig deeper into the ABMS and the specialty certifications they offer, check out their ABMS Guide to Medical Specialties.
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