About the CE

Vascular Surgery Certifying Exam

  • The Vascular Surgery Certifying Examination (CE) is the last step toward board certification in vascular surgery. It is an oral exam consisting of 3 consecutive 30-minute sessions, each conducted by a team of 2 examiners.
  • Its purpose is to evaluate a candidate's clinical skills in organizing the diagnostic evaluation and management of common problems in vascular surgery. Emphasis is placed on candidates' ability to use their knowledge and training to safely, effectively and promptly manage a broad range of clinical problems.
  • The exam is designed to measure a candidate's surgical judgment, clinical reasoning skills and problem-solving ability. Technical details of operations may also be evaluated, as well as issues related to a candidate's ethical behavior and humanistic qualities. The exam's contents are copyrighted and may not be reproduced or disclosed in any manner.
    Next Exam: May 22-23, 2017 - Dallas

Exam Registration

  • Upon passing the Vascular Surgery Qualifying Exam, candidates are admissible to the Vascular Surgery Certifying Exam and will be sent registration information for the next exam. It is held annually in the spring in a major U.S. city (see Dates & Fees).
  • Active duty military personnel who may encounter difficulty taking the exam due to their service should contact the ABS as soon as possible.

Medical License Requirement

  • To register for the CE, a candidate must hold a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada. The license must be valid through the date of the examination. Temporary, limited, educational or institutional licenses will not be accepted, even if you are currently pursuing additional training.
  • It may take several months to obtain a full and unrestricted state medical license—please plan ahead! You will not be admitted to the exam without one.

The Examiners

  • The exam is conducted by members of the Vascular Surgery Board of the American Board of Surgery and by other nationally recognized experts in vascular surgery. All examiners are in active practice, currently certified in vascular surgery, and participating in the ABS MOC Program. The ABS makes every effort to avoid any conflicts of interest between candidates and their examiners.

Exam Opportunities

Candidates who completed vascular surgery training after July 1, 2012:

  • Candidates who completed vascular surgery training after July 1, 2012, will have no more than 7 academic years following this training to complete the certification process. The seven-year period begins immediately upon completion of vascular surgery training.
  • They will be granted up to 3 opportunities within a 3-year period to pass the Vascular Surgery CE, immediately following successful completion of the Vascular Surgery QE. If an applicant decides not to take the exam in a given year, it is a lost opportunity.
  • The granting of 3 opportunities in 3 years is contingent on sufficient years being left in the applicant's seven-year eligibility period. See the ABS' exam admissibility policy for further details.

Candidates who completed vascular surgery training prior to July 1, 2012:

  • Candidates who completed vascular surgery training before July 1, 2012, will be granted up to 5 opportunities within a 5-year period to pass the Vascular Surgery CE. If a candidate decides not to take the exam in a given year, it is a lost opportunity.
  • All of the above limits are absolute; exceptions will only be made for active duty military service outside the United States.
  • Individuals who exceed any of the above restrictions will lose their admissibility and must pursue a readmissibility pathway to re-enter the certification process.

Exam Results & Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

  • Results are mailed and posted the day after the last day of the exam. Successful examinees will be deemed certified in vascular surgery and will receive their official certificate in 3 to 6 months. They must thereafter participate in the ABS MOC Program to maintain their certificate. The ABS will waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment toward MOC 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.
  • Unsuccessful examinees with remaining opportunities will be contacted prior to the next exam; a new application is not necessary.

The Vascular Surgery CE follows a format similar to that of the General Surgery CE: See What to Expect and Candidate Video.

For specific inquiries, please send an email to the exam coordinator.

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