Continuous Certification

Continuous Certification documents a surgeon's ongoing commitment to professionalism, lifelong learning, and practice improvement following initial board certification. The new ABS Continuous Certification Program has been designed to provide flexible, high-quality, practice-related learning and assessment to support surgeons in their practice. As such, the ABS no longer issues 10-year certificates for general surgery.

How to Register

  • Log in to your ABS account.
  • Complete all required fields, remit payment and submit application.
  • You are now enrolled in the ABS Continuous Certification Program and registered for the assessment.
New Assessment

As part of this program, a new assessment process is being introduced in 2018 for general surgery, with other ABS specialties launching in 2019 and beyond, 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.

2018 General Surgery Timeline
  • Registration for the general surgery assessment will be open from Aug. 1 to Nov. 5. The assessment will be available from Sept. 7 to Nov. 5.
  • You will have two weeks to complete the assessment once you begin, with the opportunity to save your progress and continue at a later time during this two-week period. The last day to begin the assessment to ensure that you have the full two weeks is Monday, Oct. 22, 2018.
  • Once a diplomate registers for an assessment, they are enrolled in the Continuous Certification Program.

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 are provided in advance
  • Individual questions are untimed
  • Two weeks to complete once started
  • Save and continue when convenient


  • Receive immediate feedback and results
  • 80% required to pass with two chances to answer
  • 40% or higher required on first attempt to qualify for second attempt
  • Required every other year; grace year may be granted

Practice-Related Assessment Content

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

  • Comprehensive General Surgery
  • Abdomen
  • Alimentary Tract
  • Breast Surgery
  • These four areas were determined based on review of diplomates' operative logs submitted over the past few years. More areas will be added in the future based on feedback from diplomates and surgical societies.

Staying in Touch

  • Please keep your contact information up to date to ensure that you receive important ABS emails about your status.
  • 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.