Continuous Certification

Continuous Certification documents a surgeon's ongoing commitment to professionalism, lifelong learning, and practice improvement following initial board certification. The new ABS Continuous Certification Program has been designed to provide flexible, high-quality, practice-related learning and assessment to support surgeons in their practice. As such, the ABS no longer issues 10-year certificates for general surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, complex general surgical oncology, hand surgery or hospice and palliative medicine.

Continuous Certification Assessment

As part of this program, an online assessment process has been introduced to replace the traditional recertification exam.

Diplomates will use the new assessment process to demonstrate their surgical knowledge on a continual basis. The assessments focus on the latest and most important developments in practice to assist diplomates in staying up to date.

Once a diplomate registers for their first assessment, they are enrolled in the Continuous Certification Program.

Diplomates will have up to two weeks to complete the assessment once they begin, with the opportunity to save their progress and continue at a later time during this two-week period.

Once a diplomate registers for their first assessment, they are enrolled in the Continuous Certification Program.

The Continuous Certification Assessment is...

100% Online

  • 40 questions total: mix of core and practice-related
  • Use your own computer to access
  • Take it at a time and place of your choosing

Open Book

  • Topics and references are provided in advance
  • Individual questions are untimed
  • Two weeks to complete once started
  • Save and continue when convenient


  • Receive immediate feedback and results
  • 80% required to pass with two chances to answer
  • 40% or higher required on first attempt to qualify for second attempt
  • Required every other year; grace year may be granted

Staying in Touch

  • Please keep your contact information up to date to ensure that you receive important ABS emails about your status.
  • With the help of feedback from nearly 10,000 diplomates, we have designed the Continuous Certification Program to support surgeons in providing high-quality care while upholding the high standards of ABS certification. We will continue to reach out to hear from diplomates as we proceed.
  • See our New Assessment Enrollment page for more about these assessments.