Regaining admissibility

Regaining Admissibility to General Surgery Examinations

  • Individuals who seek certification in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery may lose their admissibility for a variety of reasons. The following pathways have been established to allow such individuals to regain admissibility to the General Surgery Qualifying Examination (QE) and General Surgery Certifying Examination (CE).
  • For each examination, there are two types of pathways offered. The standard pathway requires a year of formal training in an accredited residency program. The alternative pathway allows individuals to demonstrate their surgical knowledge through a detailed application process and completion of a specific examination for readmissibility.

Time Limitations

  • If an individual has not actively pursued admissibility or readmissibility to the certification process within 10 years after completion of residency, he or she will be required to reenter formal residency training for PGY-4 and PGY-5 level training in a surgery program accredited by the ACGME or RCPSC to regain admissibility to the certification process.

QE Readmissibility Pathways

These pathways apply to individuals who:

  • Did not apply for certification within three years after completion of residency. (Applicable only to individuals who completed residency prior to July 1, 2012.)
  • Did not take the QE within two years of having an approved application. (Applicable only to individuals who completed residency prior to July 1, 2012.)
  • Exhausted their examination opportunities or time limit.

Individuals who wish to pursue one of the readmissibility pathways below must first contact the ABS coordinator to initiate the process.

QE Standard Pathway
  • 1. Requirements
  • The individual must complete an additional year (12 months) of structured education in surgery in an ACGME-accredited general surgery residency program, in which the program director has agreed to provide an educational program that meets ABS guidelines. The structured educational program must be submitted to the ABS in advance for approval and must be a full-time activity. The program director must also submit quarterly summaries to the ABS of the individual's progress. Upon completion of the year, the program director will provide written attestation that the candidate has successfully completed all requirements. The individual must then submit the Application for Readmissibility form and provide documentation of a current full and unrestricted medical license.
  • 2. Admissibility and Exam Opportunities
  • Upon application approval, the applicant will be admissible to the QE for four opportunities within four years and will be considered "in the examination process." The start of the four-year period of admissibility begins upon application approval and continues for four consecutive academic years thereafter.
  • If the individual does not pass the QE during this period, he or she must appeal to the Credentials Committee of the ABS for re-entry to the certification process.
QE Alternative Pathway
  • This pathway is under revision. The revised pathway is currently being finalized and will be posted as soon as possible - please watch this space.

CE Readmissibility Pathways

These pathways apply to individuals who:

  • Exhausted their examination opportunities or time limit.

Individuals who wish to pursue one of the readmissibility pathways below must first contact the ABS coordinator to initiate the process.

CE Standard Pathway
  • 1. Requirements
  • The individual must complete an additional year (12 months) of structured education in surgery in an ACGME-accredited general surgery residency program, in which the program director has agreed to provide an educational program that meets ABS guidelines. The structured educational program must be submitted to the ABS in advance for approval and must be a full-time activity. The program director must also submit quarterly summaries to the ABS of the individual's progress. Upon completion of the year, the program director will provide written attestation that the candidate has successfully completed all requirements. The individual must then submit the Application for Readmissibility form and provide documentation of a current full and unrestricted medical license.
  • 2. Admissibility and Exam Opportunities
  • Upon application approval, the applicant will be admissible to the CE for three opportunities within three years and will be considered "in the examination process." The start of the three-year period of admissibility begins upon application approval and continues for three consecutive academic years thereafter.
  • If the individual does not pass the CE during this period, he or she must appeal to the Credentials Committee of the ABS for re-entry to the certification process.
CE Alternative Pathway
  • This pathway is under revision. The revised pathway is currently being finalized and will be posted as soon as possible - please watch this space.

Updated: July 2016

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