Continuous Certification

Based on your feedback, we are streamlining Continuous Certification to better align with your practice and your schedule

The new ABS Continuous Certification Program has been designed to be more flexible, convenient and practice-related. Continuous Certification documents a surgeon's ongoing commitment to professionalism, lifelong learning, and practice improvement following initial board certification.

New Assessment

As part of the new program, a new assessment process is being introduced in 2018 for general surgery, with other ABS specialties launching over the next few years, that will gradually replace the traditional recertification exam. Diplomates will use the new assessment process to demonstrate their surgical knowledge on a continual basis. The new assessment will focus on the latest and most important developments in practice to assist diplomates in staying up to date.

Registration for the 2018 general surgery assessment will open Aug. 1. The assessment will be available from Sept. 7 to Nov. 5.

While the traditional General Surgery Recertification Exam will be offered in 2018, diplomates who pass the 2018 exam will still be required to begin the new assessment process by 2020.

The new general surgery assessment is...

100% Online

  • 40 questions total: 20 core surgery, 20 practice-related
  • Use your own computer to access
  • Take it at a time and place of your choosing

Open Book

  • Topics and references will be provided in advance
  • Two weeks to complete once started
  • Save and continue when convenient


  • Receive immediate feedback and results
  • Two chances to answer - 80% correct required
  • Required every other year; can retake in following year without affecting certification status

Practice-Related Assessment Content

For 2018, general surgery diplomates will be able to select from four practice-related areas:

  • General Surgery
  • Abdomen
  • Alimentary Tract
  • Breast
  • These four areas were determined as most popular based on a review of diplomates' operative logs. More areas will be added in the future based on feedback from diplomates and surgical societies.

Staying in Touch

  • We will notify diplomates when registration opens, and also send regular updates regarding your status. Please keep your contact information up to date.
  • With the help of feedback from nearly 10,000 diplomates, we have designed our new program to support surgeons in providing high-quality care while upholding the high standards of ABS certification. We will continue to reach out to hear from diplomates as we proceed.
  • See our New Assessment Enrollment page for more about the new assessment.
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