Surgical Critical Care Exam Admissibility Policy

Policy outlining exam admissibility time limits for initial certification in surgical critical care.

Physicians who completed a surgical critical care fellowship as of June 2020 have seven (7) years following training to achieve certification in surgical critical care, i.e., become certified in surgery and pass the Surgical Critical Care Certifying Exam (SCC CE). Physicians who have a previously approved application for SCC CE certification and are already in the SCC examination process will have no changes to their current admissibility.

  • The seven-year period to obtain certification starts immediately upon completion of surgical critical care training.
  • Within the seven-year limit, the applicant has a maximum of five (5) opportunities to take and pass the SCC CE.
    • The five exam opportunities do not need to be taken in consecutive years.
    • Only one exam opportunity will be offered in each year.
    • The five-year exam limit is absolute.
  • Applicants who do not take the exam when offered will lose exam opportunities.
  • Applicants who delay in applying for the SCC CE following completion of training may not receive the maximum five opportunities to take the exam.
    • For example, if an applicant waits until year seven to apply, only one exam opportunity will be available to them.

During the five-year period, examinees who postponed or were unsuccessful will be able to register for the next exam without completing a new application; the original application will suffice. Active-duty military personnel who may encounter difficulty taking the exam due to their service should contact the ABS as soon as possible.

Applicants must attain primary certification before they will be considered certified in SCC and receive their SCC certificate. Delays in obtaining primary certification may result in the applicant not receiving their surgical critical care certificate. If the applicant is not successful in obtaining primary certification within seven years, their surgical critical care certificate will not be awarded.

Applicants who have exhausted their seven-year admissibility period should contact the exam manager regarding the readmissibility requirements in place at that time.

Two-Year Legacy Pathway

A two-year legacy pathway has been established for physicians who completed a surgical critical care fellowship prior to the 2018-2019 academic year and who have not previously applied for SCC CE certification. The legacy pathway is available to:

  • Individuals certified by the ABS in either general surgery or vascular surgery
  • Individuals certified by other qualifying ABMS surgical boards
  • Individuals certified by the ABEM and who completed a surgical critical care fellowship between July 2013 and July 2023
    • NOTE: The ABEM legacy pathway for individuals who completed a SCC fellowship prior to July 2013 ended in 2023.

The two-year legacy pathway rules are:

  • The applicant must have completed an ACGME-accredited SCC fellowship prior to the 2018-2019 academic year.
  • The applicant will have two opportunities to take the SCC CE, once in 2024 and once in 2025.
    • If unsuccessful on the 2024 examination, the applicant may take the exam in 2025.
    • If the examination is not taken in 2024, this counts as one of the two opportunities.
  • If the applicant does not take an examination in either 2024 or 2025 and/or is unsuccessful, completion of the readmissibility pathway will be required to regain admissibility.
  • The two-year limit is absolute.
Related Policies

The links posted within resources are provided for informational purposes only. ABS assumes no responsibility for the content of these websites.

Reading Progress

Related Policies

Replacement of Certificate

Policy outlining how a diplomate may request a replacement of their original ABS certificate.
Read More

Military Activation

Policy regarding active duty military as it relates to ABS examinations.
Read More

Exam Admissibility Policy – General Surgery & Vascular Surgery

Policy outlining examination admissibility time limits for initial certification in general and vascular surgery.
Read More
Contact Us
We are here to help answer any questions

Please submit your request through the contact form and our customer service team will get back to you as soon as possible.