As part of Continuous Certification, the ABS requires diplomates to earn 150 credits of Category-1 CME over five years. The CME must be relevant to their practice, or if clinically inactive, to the broad discipline of surgery.
Category-1 CME activities are formal educational experiences accredited by the AMA, ACCME, RCPSC or EACCME. These may include seminars, conferences, grand rounds, webinars, podcasts, skills courses and departmental scientific meetings. Check with your CME provider or the ACCME’s CME Passport website to find CME activities that meet ABS Continuous Certification requirements.
CME courses completed for state licensing requirements and on topics such as ethics, patient safety, surgeon leadership, etc., are accepted. Diplomates who hold multiple ABS certificates do not have to repeat the CME requirement for each certificate.
The ABS expects that each CME credit corresponds to one hour of time spent on the activity. Therefore, the ABS will generally not accept more than 12 credits of CME earned in a single day.
Tracking CME: Use the ABS CME Repository to track CME earned within the current five-year period.
At least 50 of the 150 CME credits must include a self-assessment component. When you participate in a CME activity that includes self-assessment (SA), the SA credits will be transferred to ABS along with the Category-1 credits via the PARS system. Check the ACCME’s CME Passport website to find CME activities that meet ABS Continuous Certification requirements.
Activities with self-assessment will be denoted with “SA” (e.g., ABS Point: 1; ABS Credit Type(s) CME, SA).
The 150 CME credits/50 self-assessment requirement will change to 125 CME credits with no self-assessment required once a diplomate passes their first Continuous Certification Assessment. See below for additional information about the waiving of CME.
The 150 CME credits/50 self-assessment requirement will change to 125 CME credits with no self-assessment required once a diplomate passes their first Continuous Certification Assessment, beginning January 1 of the year following the first successful assessment attempt.
The ABS will also waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment for new diplomates who pass an initial certifying exam. A waiver for 60 credits will appear in their CME Repository.
If a diplomate achieves initial certification by another ABMS board, they may also waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment. These diplomates should contact the ABS to submit their request. Documentation must be provided if requested.
Diplomates in a fellowship are also exempt from the CME/self-assessment requirement during their time in training. The fellowship must be at least 12 months (and no more than 2 years) in duration and accredited by the ACGME or an organization with a formal accreditation process (e.g., ASTS, ACS, Fellowship Council, etc.). CME and self-assessment credits will be prorated based on the remaining time in the five-year period.
ABS’s collaboration with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) streamlines the process through which diplomates monitor and report their CME credits to fulfill ABS Continuous Certification Program requirements.
When a diplomate registers for an accredited CME activity, they should ask the CME provider if they will report their participation to ACCME. The diplomate will need to give the CME provider the following information:
Once the activity is completed, the CME provider will collect and submit the diplomate’s credit information to the ACCME. These credits will then automatically appear in their ABS CME repository – no transfer or manual entry is needed.
In order for this process to work, the diplomate must give the CME provider permission to share their learner data with the ABS. Providers may ask for the diplomate’s ABS ID# when registering for the activity, which can be found in the ABS Surgeon Portal by navigating to the Personal Profile page and then scrolling down to the Demographic Information section. For more information on this process, see our process overview, collaboration announcement, and CME FAQs.
Visit ACCME’s CME Passport to search the list of accredited CME activities that count towards ABS Continuous Certification and ongoing certification requirements.
NOTE: ACCME’s CME Passport website is hosted and maintained by the ACCME, not by the ABS. For questions or concerns related to any activities listed in the CME Passport, please contact the ACCME or the CME provider directly.
If the CME organization doesn’t know how to report credit, they should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the staff at the ACCME will help them get their activity registered and show them how to report CME credit.
Since 2021, the ABS collaboration with the ACCME has enabled ABS diplomates to have hundreds of thousands of CME credits automatically transferred into their ABS CME repositories – no manual entry required.
*Data as of 12/31/2023
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has recently launched an updated process to transmit CME credit from ACS MyCME to the ABS via the ACCME. The process to send credits from ACS MyCME to the ABS is nearly identical to the previous transfer process. ACS fellows should:
For help with this process, ACS fellows should contact ACS MyCME at email@example.com.
No documentation is required at the time when CME credits are logged by a diplomate in their portal using one of the above methods. However, please note that the ABS audits a percentage of diplomates each year. Diplomates who are selected for audit will need to supply documentation of completed CME activities.
Diplomates who pass an ABS Continuous Certification Assessment may also apply to the AMA to receive 12 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. The AMA will also grant credit for teaching at a live CME activity, being first author on a published article, and obtaining a medically related advanced degree. Please see the AMA website and the direct CME application for details.
Please note that it is not necessary to apply for formal AMA credit to get a CME waiver from the ABS. The ABS will waive a certain number of CME credits for various situations, such as when a diplomate achieves initial certification or passes an ABS Continuous Certification Assessment. These waivers are applied directly to the diplomate’s CME repository by the ABS. See above for additional information about the waiving of CME.
For more information on available CME activities that have been registered with the ACCME, please go to the CME Passport website.
You can also use CME Passport to find activities that include self-assessment. Simply filter the resources using the “Self-Assessment (ABS)” filter underneath “MOC Credit Types”. Each activity with self-assessment will be denoted with “SA” (e.g., ABS Point: 1; ABS Credit Type(s) CME, SA).
Please use the form below to contact the appropriate exam coordinator. They will respond as soon as possible.