Common questions about specialty certification

FAQs - Certification in Other Specialties

In general, you must have completed an accredited training program in the specialty, hold a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine, hold full surgical privileges in the discipline at approved hospitals, and fulfill the application requirements in place at the time of application.
Visit the ACGME website at and click on "Search Programs and Institutions" in the top right of the homepage.
A primary certificate in vascular surgery took effect on July 1, 2006, allowing vascular surgery certification to be achieved without prior certification in general surgery.

To become certified in vascular surgery, you must either complete an ACGME-accredited integrated vascular surgery program, an accredited early specialization program, or a minimum of two years of accredited vascular surgery training following completion of a five-year general surgery residency. For more details on these pathways and their associated requirements, see Training Pathways.
Yes. Applicants may either submit the ABS online operative experience report via the ABS website or mail a paper copy of their entire ACGME operative report, signed by both applicant and program director, to the ABS office (original signatures only—no faxes, scans or photocopies). You do not need to complete the ABS operative report if you are sending the ACGME form.
If you have completed an ACGME-accredited SCC fellowship following completion of three years of general surgery residency, you may apply for the SCC Certifying Examination upon finishing the fellowship and take the exam while still in residency. Note that you must have a guaranteed categorical residency position in an accredited surgery program available to you upon completion of the fellowship. A full and unrestricted medical license is not required at time of the application. If you are successful on the exam, the certification in SCC is not awarded until you have become certified in general surgery.
No. Once your application is approved, you receive a specific number of opportunities to pass the exam within a given a time period. If you fail or postpone during this period, you will subsequently be contacted with registration information for the next exam. A new application is not necessary until this period is exhausted.
Trainees' performance on ABS examinations is one factor evaluated by the ACGME when reviewing a fellowship program's accreditation. Your program thus needs to continuously monitor the examination performance of its fellows.
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