How does a surgeon become board certified?
This website serves as primary source verification of a surgeon’s certification status with The American Board of Surgery. Surgeons may also be certified by other boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Please check the ABMS Certification Matters website for additional certification statuses. Note that while the ABS website is updated in real time, there may be a delay in updating certification status to the ABMS website.
Surgeons who are certified by the ABS have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge in the field of surgery. They have completed at least five years of training following medical school, met all ABS training requirements, and successfully completed the ABS examination process.
Board certification by the ABS is a voluntary process that demonstrates a surgeon’s commitment to:
The American Board of Surgery (ABS) is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 to assess the qualifications of individuals in the field of surgery. The ABS offers primary board certification in surgery (general surgery) and vascular surgery, and secondary certification in several related specialties. Approximately 34,000 surgeons are currently board certified by the ABS.
The ABS is one of 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Other ABMS member boards provide board certification in additional surgical specialties, such as plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery.
Board certification by the ABS recognizes individuals who have met ABS standards in their surgical specialty area. Board certification is different from possessing a medical license, which is the minimum required by law to practice medicine and is not specialty-specific.
Use our “Check a Certification” tool above to find out if your surgeon is certified by the ABS.
A total of approximately 34,000 surgeons, known as diplomates, are currently certified by the ABS.
ABS receives many data inquiries regarding examination pass rates over the years, residency and fellowship program statistics, and demographic information on our diplomates. We are pleased to be able to share this robust data with the public through our easy-to-use interactive tools.
In addition to general and vascular surgery, the ABS also offers board certification in pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, complex general surgical oncology, and hand surgery.
Board certification in these areas requires completion of an accredited training program in the specialty, a full application for certification, and successful completion of a written exam and, for most specialties, an oral exam. Prior certification in general surgery is also required for board certification in all secondary specialties.
Diplomates are required to hold a valid, full and unrestricted medical license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada. Diplomates must immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold.
If you would like to check the status of a physician’s medical license, please visit the Federation of State Medical Boards website.