Successful completion of the Surgical Critical Care Certifying Exam (SCC CE) is required for board certification in surgical critical care (SCC). Applicants for certification in surgical critical care may complete the SCC CE prior to obtaining certification In general surgery but will not be considered certified in the specialty until primary certification in general surgery is obtained.
The SCC CE is a five-hour, multiple-choice examination held once per year on a single day at computer-testing centers across the U.S.
Individuals may complete an ACGME-accredited surgical critical care training program following three (3) progressive years of ACGME-accredited residency training and take the SCC CE while still in residency. A guaranteed categorical residency position must be available to the individual following completion of surgical critical care training. The certificate in SCC is not awarded, however, until the individual has achieved primary certification.
Individuals who have completed an ACGME-accredited residency training program may apply for and take the SCC CE while in the process of obtaining primary certification. The certificate in surgical critical care will not be awarded, however, until the individual has achieved primary certification.
Upon completion of surgical critical care training, a surgeon will have no more than seven academic years to achieve certification in SCC, i.e., pass the SCC CE.
The seven-year period starts immediately upon completion of training. Once an application is approved, the applicant has a maximum of five (5) opportunities within five (5) consecutive years to take and pass the SCC CE. Only one exam opportunity will be offered in each year of that five-year period. If an applicant decides not to take the exam in a given year, it is a lost opportunity as the five-year limit is absolute.
Primary certification in general surgery or vascular surgery is a requirement for certification in SCC, however, applicants may complete the SCC CE prior to obtaining primary certification. These individuals will not be considered certified in the specialty until primary certification is obtained.
The SCC CE is the single step toward board certification in SCC. The SCC CE’s purpose is to assess a surgeon’s cognitive knowledge and clinical judgment in SCC.
The accommodation policies below apply only to ABS examinations for initial certification.
ABS has partnered with the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) to provide a pathway to certification in neurocritical care (NCC) for ABS diplomates who are currently certified in SCC. During a six-year “legacy” or practice pathway period (2021-2026), eligible SCC diplomates may qualify to take the exam if they are certified in NCC by the UCNS or CAST, have completed a fellowship in NCC, or have documented a certain amount of post-training clinical practice specifically related to NCC.
Please use the form below to contact the appropriate exam coordinator. They will respond as soon as possible.