Hand Surgery MOC Exam

  • The Hand Surgery MOC (Recertification) Examination is offered annually by the ABS in conjunction with the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery. An applicant may enter the exam process only through one certifying board and may not apply to a different board for additional exam opportunities.
  • The exam consists of multiple-choice questions designed to assess a surgeon's cognitive knowledge and clinical judgment in hand surgery. It lasts 5 hours and is offered over a 2-week window through Prometric testing services (www.prometric.com).
  • Active duty military personnel who may encounter difficulty taking the exam should contact the ABS as soon as possible.
    Next Exam: Sept. 12-25, 2017

When to Apply

  • ABS certificates expire on Dec. 31. Diplomates are eligible to apply for an MOC exam starting 3 years before their certificate's expiration; this includes the final year of certificate validity. Surgeons with lapsed certificates may also apply; see our Lapsed Certificate Policy.
  • Diplomates who apply for two MOC exams in the same year do not need to submit the application materials twice; however application and exam fees must be submitted for each exam.

General Requirements

To be eligible for this exam, diplomates must:

  • Certification/MOC: Be certified by the ABS in surgery of the hand. Certification may not be revoked. Current certification in general surgery is not required. Diplomates not meeting MOC requirements cannot apply for the exam until MOC re-entry requirements are met.
  • Professional Activity: Be in the active practice and/or teaching and/or research and/or administrative activities relevant to hand surgery. If diplomates are providing care to hospitalized patients, they must hold practice privileges at an accredited health care institution.
  • Professional References: Receive satisfactory references from two surgeons in the community familiar with the applicant's work related to hand surgery.
  • CME: Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning by completing 60 credits of Category 1 CME over the past two years or recent 24-month period.
  • Medical License: Have a currently registered full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada. Diplomates are required to immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold.
  • Adhere to the ABS policy on Ethics and Professionalism.

Exam Opportunities

  • Once your application is approved, you will be granted a maximum of 3 opportunities within a 5-year period to pass the examination. If you decide not to take the exam in a given year, it is a lost opportunity as the five-year limit is absolute. The 5-year exam admissibility period is independent of your certificate's expiration date.
  • During the five-year admissibility period, individuals who postponed or were unsuccessful will be contacted each year regarding the next exam. A new application is not necessary.
  • Readmissibility: Diplomates who exhaust this five-year period may re-apply for the exam, meeting all current application requirements. See our Lapsed Certificate Policy for additional details.

Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

  • Upon passing the exam, you will be mailed a new certificate in 3 to 6 months. The certificate will have an expiration date 10 years from the expiration date of your previous certificate. The ABS will also waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment toward MOC for this recertification; the waiver will appear automatically in your CME Repository.
  • Surgeons who achieve ABS recertification may also apply to the AMA to receive 60 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Please see the AMA website and the direct CME application (pdf) for details.

For application forms and additional information, please send an email to the exam coordinator.

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