ABS MOC Requirements

  • The requirements of the ABS MOC Program run in three-year cycles (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). After each cycle, diplomates report on their MOC activities by completing a brief online form, the MOC Status Form. A secure MOC exam is also required at 10-year intervals.
  • Once enrolled, MOC applies to all certificates a surgeon holds. Diplomates must be meeting MOC requirements to certify or recertify in any ABS specialty. For diplomates with multiple ABS certificates, the secure exam (Part 3) is the only MOC requirement that must be repeated for each certificate.
  • MOC is an evolving process, meant to document a surgeon's commitment to lifelong learning and practice improvement. The ABS intends for MOC to be as flexible as possible so surgeons can participate in ways most compatible with their practice.
    Calendar Year: MOC three-year cycles now run Jan. 1-Dec. 31. However CME completed based on the former cycle of July 1-June 30 may still be used. If you are not yet in MOC, your first MOC cycle will begin the Jan. 1 following the academic year in which you pass the exam that enrolls you in MOC.
  • For easy reference, print this one-page MOC Summary (pdf). Or for a broader overview, view our MOC Slide Presentation (pdf). Check your MOC status at any time by going to moc.absurgery.org.


Professional Standing - Part 1
  • Medical License: Valid, full and unrestricted medical license (U.S. or Canada).

    Diplomates must immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold. Diplomates outside the U.S./Canada must maintain a full and unrestricted license in the country where they practice.

  • Hospital/Surgical Center Privileges: If clinically active.

    If you are clinically inactive or do not otherwise hold privileges, you must provide an explanation on the MOC Status Form.

  • Professional References: Contact information for the chief of surgery and chair of credentials at the institution where most work is performed, to be entered on the MOC Status Form. Completed reference forms are also required with the 10-year secure exam (Part 3).

    If you are clinically inactive, contact information for two supervisors or peers knowledgeable about your current activities is required.

  • Be an ABS diplomate in good standing. Diplomates with active sanctions on their certificate cannot participate in the ABS MOC Program.
Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment - Part 2
  • CME: Completion of 90 hours of Category I CME relevant to your practice over a three-year MOC cycle. Category I CME activities are formal educational experiences such as seminars, grand rounds, and skills courses.
  • Self-Assessment: At least 60 of the 90 CME hours must include self-assessment—a written or electronic question-and-answer exercise that assesses your understanding of the material in the CME program. A score of 75% or higher must be required on the activity; however there is no minimum number of questions required and repeated attempts are allowed.

    Certification Credit: The ABS will automatically waive 60 hours of CME with self-assessment for achieving ABS certification or recertification. This includes the one that enrolls you in MOC—it counts toward your first three-year cycle.

    See our MOC Part 2 page for more details and resources.

Cognitive Expertise - Part 3
  • Secure Examination: Successful completion of a secure MOC (recertification) exam in the specialty, which may first be taken three years before certificate expiration. A full exam application is required, including a 12-month operative log (case numbers only), reference forms, and CME documentation. Diplomates must be in compliance with MOC to apply.

    MOC exams are offered annually (Dates & Fees). These are the only fees charged for participation in MOC. For diplomates who hold multiple ABS certificates, this is the only requirement that must be repeated for each certificate.

Evaluating Performance in Practice - Part 4
  • Practice Assessment: Ongoing participation in a local, regional or national outcomes registry or quality assessment program, either individually or through your institution.

    When completing the MOC Status Form after a 3-year cycle, you will describe how you are meeting this requirement—no data is collected. See our MOC Part 4 page for more details and resources.

  • Diplomates who do not fulfill MOC requirements will be reported as "Not Meeting MOC Requirements" and cannot certify or recertify in any ABS specialty until MOC re-entry requirements are met.

MOC Timeline

  • A personalized MOC Timeline is available for diplomates enrolled in MOC to help you track your participation. Diplomates who recertify "early" (prior to their certificate's final year of validity) will have an extended timeline with additional years in MOC.
  • MOC Year = Jan. 1-Dec. 31

Example of MOC Timeline
Year 0
  • Diplomate successfully certifies or recertifies. Diplomates are enrolled in MOC upon certification or recertification in any specialty after July 2005.
MOC Year 1
  • MOC begins the Jan. 1 following the academic year in which the diplomate certified/recertified
  • CME, ongoing practice assessment
MOC Year 2
  • CME, ongoing practice assessment
MOC Year 3
  • CME, ongoing practice assessment
  • At end of year (Dec. 31), diplomate completes online form regarding Parts 1, 2 and 4 of MOC. Form must be submitted by March 1
MOC Years 4-6
  • Same as years 1-3
MOC Years 7-9
  • Same as years 1-3
MOC Years 8-10
  • Secure examination (full application required)

Multiple Certificates

  • Diplomates with multiple ABS certificates do not need to repeat Parts 2 and 4 for each certificate; these requirements may be fulfilled in whichever areas best reflect your practice. Only the MOC exam (Part 3) must be completed for each certificate you hold. You will report to the ABS every three years according to the timeline of your enrollment in the ABS MOC Program. The reporting does not have to be repeated for other ABS certificates.
  • Diplomates with certificates from other ABMS boards or RCPSC must still report to the ABS every three years. Activities completed for the MOC programs of other boards or RCPSC that meet ABS requirements may be listed on the ABS' online form for Parts 2 and 4. Please note other ABMS boards may have different MOC requirements; there is no automatic reciprocity among boards.

    The RCPSC has recognized ABS MOC as equivalent to its MOC program. ABS diplomates who belong to the RCPSC and practice in the U.S. may use the ABS MOC Program to maintain their RCPSC membership.

Other Situations

  • Fellowships: Diplomates in a fellowship are exempt from Part 2 and Part 4 requirements during their time in training. To qualify for this waiver, the fellowship must be at least 12 months in duration and accredited by the ACGME or a surgical organization with a formal accreditation process (e.g., SSO, ASTS, ACS, Fellowship Council). Details about the fellowship must be provided on the MOC Status Form required after each three-year cycle.

    Requirements for Parts 2 and 4 must be fulfilled for the remainder of the three-year MOC cycle. CME and self-assessments credits required for Part 2 will be prorated based on the remaining years/months in the three-year cycle.

  • Clinically Inactive: Diplomates who no longer see patients may still participate in MOC—see Clinically Inactive Policy.
  • Not Enrolled: Diplomates who are not enrolled in MOC may enroll by taking and passing an MOC (recertification) exam. All application requirements for the exam must be met. Diplomates with time-unlimited certificates will not have their certificate status affected by entering MOC.

Refer also to our MOC Program FAQs page. For specific inquiries, please contact the MOC coordinator.

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