Surgical Critical Care Certifying Exam
- The Surgical Critical Care (SCC) Certifying Examination is offered annually to achieve board certification in surgical critical care. The exam consists of about 200 multiple-choice questions designed to assess a surgeon's cognitive knowledge and clinical judgment in SCC. See also the exam's content outline (pdf).
- It is a one-day exam lasting approximately 5 hours and is held at computer-testing facilities across the U.S. The exam is administered in three 90-minute sessions, with optional 10-minute breaks between sessions. Once a session has concluded, you will not be able to revisit those questions.
- Results are posted approximately 4 to 8 weeks after the exam; you will be notified by email when they are available. The exam's contents are copyrighted and may not be reproduced or disclosed in any manner.
To be eligible for this exam, applicants must:
Examination While in Residency
- Applicants who complete an ACGME-accredited surgical critical care or anesthesiology critical care (ACC) fellowship after completing 3 progressive years of ACGME-accredited residency may apply for SCC certification and take the exam while still in residency.
A full and unrestricted medical license is not required at the time of application.
- The SCC certificate will not be awarded, however, until primary certification is achieved. Applicants must have a guaranteed categorical residency position in an ACGME-accredited residency program available to them upon completion of SCC or ACC training.
- Individuals who meet ABS requirements may apply for the exam through the online application process, which is posted in early spring (see How to Apply). After your application is approved, you will be sent instructions on how to register for this year's exam.
- Once you are registered for the exam, you will be mailed an exam admission authorization letter with final details and instructions on reserving a place at a computer-testing center. You must have this letter to reserve a testing center spot.
- Active duty military personnel who may encounter difficulty taking the exam due to their service should contact the ABS as soon as possible. Please see How to Apply for information about other exam accommodations.
- Once your application is approved, you will be granted a maximum of 5 opportunities within a 5-year period to pass the exam. If you decide not to take the exam in a given year, it is a lost opportunity as the five-year limit is absolute.
- During the five-year period, individuals who postponed or were unsuccessful will be contacted regarding the next exam; a new application is not necessary.
- Individuals who exhaust their five-year admissibility period should contact the ABS regarding the readmissibility requirements in effect at that time.
- If successful on the exam, and if already certified in general surgery or another specialty as noted above, you will be deemed certified in surgical critical care and receive your official certificate within 6 months. You must participate in the ABS Continuous Certification Program to maintain your certificate. The ABS will waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment toward Continuous Certification for this certification; the waiver will appear automatically in your CME Repository.
- Surgeons who achieve ABS certification may also apply to the AMA to receive 60 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Please see the AMA website and the direct CME application (pdf) for details.
For specific inquiries, please send an email to the exam coordinator.