Pathways in vascular surgery

Training Pathways

  • A primary certificate in vascular surgery took effect July 1, 2006, giving vascular surgery a board certification pathway independent of general surgery. Its significance as a standard of skill and knowledge in vascular surgery and with regard to credentialing for vascular surgery procedures remains the same.
  • As of October 2014, successful completion of the Surgical Principles Exam or General Surgery Qualifying Exam is no longer required to enter the vascular surgery certification process. See below for details.

Approved Training Pathways

  • With the primary certificate, an individual may complete any of these three pathways toward board certification in vascular surgery.
  • Independent (5+2) Pathway: A 5-year general surgery residency program accredited by the ACGME or RCPSC, followed by a two-year independent vascular surgery training program accredited by the ACGME or RCPSC, leading to certification in both disciplines.
  • ESP (4+2) Pathway: An early specialization program (ESP) accredited by the ACGME of 4 years of general surgery training followed by 2 years of vascular surgery training at the same institution, leading to certification in both disciplines.
  • Integrated (0+5) Pathway: A 5-year integrated program accredited by the ACGME or RCPSC of vascular surgery combined with core surgical training, leading to certification only in vascular surgery.

Pathway-Specific Requirements

Independent and ESP Pathways
  • Successful completion of the General Surgery Qualifying Exam (QE) is no longer required as a prerequisite for vascular surgery certification.
  • However, graduates of independent and ESP pathways must have an approved application to the General Surgery QE, meeting all application requirements.
  • Once the General Surgery QE application is approved, individuals who wish to pursue both general surgery and vascular surgery certification may pursue these in whichever order they wish.
Integrated Pathway
  • Individuals who complete the integrated pathway are no longer required to take the Surgical Principles Exam. Instead, core surgery content has been integrated into the Vascular Surgery QE.

Seven-Year Limit

  • Regardless of pathway, individuals who graduate vascular surgery training in the 2012-2013 academic year or thereafter will have no more than 7 academic years following training to achieve certification in vascular surgery. The seven-year period begins upon completion of vascular surgery training, not when an application is approved. Full Policy

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

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