Surgical Critical Care Certifying Examination - Overview
About the Exam
- The Surgical Critical Care (SCC) Certifying Examination is a computer-based examination offered annually by the ABS. It is required to achieve board certification in surgical critical care. The exam consists of approximately 200 multiple-choice questions designed to assess the applicant's cognitive knowledge and clinical judgment. It is a one-day exam lasting five hours and is held at computer-testing facilities across the U.S. Results are posted and mailed approximately four weeks after the examination.
- The exam is copyrighted and its contents may not be reproduced or disclosed in any manner (see Ethics and Professionalism Policy). Active duty military personnel who may encounter difficulty taking the exam due to their service should contact the ABS as soon as possible (see also Military Activation Policy).
- Next Exam: Sept. 15, 2014
- To be eligible for this exam, applicants must:
- Certification: Be currently certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery. The ABS will also accept applicants currently certified in vascular surgery who completed an integrated training program, as well as current diplomates of other ABMS surgical boards provided their primary certifying board supports their application.
ABEM Diplomates: The ABS has created a pathway for ABEM diplomates to achieve SCC certification.
- Medical License: Have a currently registered full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada. Applicants are required to immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold.
- Accredited Program: Have satisfactorily completed a training program in surgical critical care or anesthesiology critical care (48 weeks of full-time experience) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The ABS will also accept completion of a two-year training program in adult critical care medicine accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).
Part-Time Option: At the discretion of the program director, the ACGME-accredited fellowship may be completed over two consecutive years on a part-time basis. The completed training must be equal to 48 weeks of full-time experience.
- Professional Activity: Be actively and primarily engaged in the practice of surgical critical care as indicated by holding full surgical privileges in this discipline at an accredited health care institution, or be currently engaged in pursuing additional graduate education in another recognized surgical specialty. An exception to this requirement is active military duty.
- Case Log: Submit for the ABS' review a report of your critical care experience during the fellowship. Cases must be from the applicant's fellowship and verified by the program director.
- Adhere to the ABS Ethics and Professionalism Policy.
Examination While in ResidencyApplicants who complete an ACGME-accredited surgical critical care or anesthesiology critical care (ACC) fellowship after completing three progressive years of general surgery or integrated vascular surgery residency may apply for SCC certification and take the exam while still in residency. A full and unrestricted medical license is not required at time of application. The SCC certificate is not awarded, however, until certification in surgery or vascular surgery is achieved. When entering the SCC or ACC program, applicants must have a guaranteed categorical residency position in an accredited general surgery or vascular surgery program available to them upon completion.
How to Apply
- Individuals who meet ABS requirements may apply for the exam through the online application process, which is posted in early spring (Application Instructions).
- After your application is approved, you will be sent instructions on how to register for this year's examination and submit payment of the separate exam fee. Once you are registered, you will be mailed an exam admission authorization letter with final details about your exam and instructions on reserving a place at a computer-testing center.
Examination Opportunities and Admissibility
- Once an application is approved, the applicant has a maximum of five opportunities within a five-year period to pass the examination. If an applicant decides 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, examinees who postponed or were unsuccessful will be contacted each year regarding the next exam; a new application is not necessary.
- Applicants who have exhausted their five-year admissibility period should contact the ABS regarding the readmissibility requirements in effect at that time.
Maintenance of Certification (MOC)
- Candidates who successfully complete the examination are deemed certified in surgical critical care and must thereafter participate in the ABS MOC Program to maintain their certificate. MOC requirements begin the July 1 following certification. See ABS MOC Requirements for more details.
For more information regarding certification in surgical critical care, refer to the ABS Booklet on Specialty Certification (pdf).
- Application and Examination Dates
- Application and Examination Fees
- SCC Certifying Examination Content Outline (pdf)
- Guide to ABS Examinations (pdf) - exam development, scoring, how to prepare
- SCC Examination Statistics
- Computer-Based Examinations - What to Expect
- Frequently Asked Questions
For specific inquiries, please send an e-mail to the examination coordinator.