Medical License Requirement Policy

Policy outlining the different medical license requirements for initial certification and Continuous Certification.

Initial Certification

Medical licensure requirements for candidates applying to any ABS Qualifying Examination (QE) or Certifying Examination (CE).

General Surgery and Vascular Surgery

A full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada is not required to apply to the General Surgery QE or Vascular Surgery QE, nor to register for the General Surgery CE or Vascular Surgery CE. However, a full and unrestricted state medical license will be required before a candidate will be considered certified by the ABS. Candidates must provide proof of medical license before they will be issued their certificate and will be listed in the ABS verification system as “in the examination process” until proof is submitted. Temporary, limited, educational, or institutional licenses will not be accepted, even if a candidate is currently in a fellowship. All requirements for certification must be met within 7 years of completing training.

Pediatric Surgery, Complex General Surgical Oncology, Hand Surgery

A full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada is required to register for the Pediatric Surgery QE, Complex General Surgical Oncology QE, and Hand Surgery CE. The license must be valid through the date of the examination. Temporary, limited, educational or institutional licenses will not be accepted, even if the candidate is currently pursuing additional training. Candidates will not be able to register for any of these examinations without a full license.

Surgical Critical Care

A full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada is not required to apply for the Surgical Critical Care Certifying Examination for applicants who are residents or who are in the process of obtaining primary certification. Candidates must show proof of medical license and primary certification before they will be issued their certificate. A full and unrestricted medical license is required for all applicants who are certified in their primary specialty.

Continuous Certification

Diplomates are required to possess a valid, full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada to be considered certified by the ABS. This information should be kept current in the diplomate’s ABS surgeon portal at all times.

Diplomates enrolled in the ABS Continuous Certification Program will not be able to register for a Continuous Certification Assessment without a valid license. Diplomates who hold a time-limited certificate and are not yet enrolled in the Continuous Certification Program for any specialty must also keep this information up-to-date to remain in good standing and be considered “Meeting Requirements.”

Diplomates must immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold.

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