Certification and maintenance of certification is contingent upon medical licensure and in compliance with all applicable Board policies, rules and codes. Physicians must hold a valid, unrestricted allopathic and/or osteopathic medical license in at least one jurisdiction in the United States, its territories, or Canada. If more than one license is held in these jurisdictions, all licenses must meet the requirement of being unrestricted. Should any medical license become restricted at any time, the Board may undertake proceedings consistent with due process to revoke the certificate(s) and/or take other actions against the physician. Physicians are responsible for immediately notifying the ABP of any restriction placed on any medical license held. Upon successful reinstatement or remedy of the encumbered medical license(s), and upon the ABP being notified of such by the former diplomate, and subsequent verification of such by the ABP, certification may be regained by successful completion of the maintenance of certification process.
A physicians’ license may be deemed “restricted” for purposes of this policy if, as a result of action by a State or other legally constituted Medical Board (hereafter “State Medical Board”), the physician:
At the sole discretion of the ABP, the ABP may review instances of licensure actions to determine whether such actions constitute a restriction in violation of this policy.
Beginning in 2019, applicants for the initial general pediatrics certifying examination or an initial pediatric subspecialty certifying examination must provide a copy of a current, unrestricted medical license in the US or Canada. The option to fulfill the licensure requirement using a non-US or non-Canadian license will no longer exist for applicants for the 2019 initial certifying examinations or any initial certifying examination thereafter.
Diplomates practicing exclusively abroad, ie., who are not practicing in the US or Canada, and who do not continue to hold a US or Canadian license after initial certification, must provide proof of licensure in the country in which they practice in order to meet requirements for the Professional Standing and Licensure component of Maintenance of Certification.
Policy revised to apply to certification and maintenance of certification: 01/05
Approved by Board of Directors: 02/05
Revised by Credentials Committee 06/06
Approved by the Board of Directors 6/06 and 9/06 (Effective for the 2008 initial certification examinations)
Revised and Approved by the Board of Directors 9/12; 9/14; 10/15; 10/17
The ABP's Time-limited Eligibility for Initial Certification Examinations policy establishes a 7-year limit to the time that can elapse between a pediatrician's completion of training and achievement of certification. Once the 7-year period of eligibility ends, an applicant for certification must complete an additional period of supervised practice in order to regain eligibility to apply for certification.
Following expiration of the 7-year time limit period, a candidate must cease and desist from making any representation of board eligibility. Any violation of this rule is considered a breach of ethical standards of medical practice. A candidate's eligibility for board certification does not equate with acceptance for an examination. Acceptance to take an examination requires the review of an individual's credentials by the ABP, which does not occur until a formal application is submitted. Upon receipt of a signed release form provided by the ABP, information will be provided regarding the individual's certification history and whether an individual's application to take a general and/or subspecialty certification examination was accepted and when the acceptance expires.
If an individual has not yet applied for the examination, the ABP will be unable to verify satisfactory completion of training and suggests you seek this verification from the general pediatrics or subspecialty fellowship training program completed by the individual in question.
If an inquiry is made to the ABP regarding the status of an individual, the response will be only whether the individual is or is not certified. Upon receipt of a signed release form, provided by the ABP, information will be released regarding the individual's certification history and whether an individual's application to take a general or subspecialty certifying exam was accepted and when the acceptance expires. Click here for Guidelines for Stating Your Certification Status.
The ABP requires that applicants for certification in general pediatrics complete 3 years of training in programs accredited by ACGME or in programs in Canada accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. In light of the agreement between ACGME, the American Osteopathic Association and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine for a single accreditation system announced in February 2014, the ABP will accept applications from individuals who have completed osteopathic pediatric residency training only if the training has been accredited by ACGME for the entire duration of required training. Training completed while the osteopathic training program either has not applied for accreditation by ACGME or has applied and has the status of pre-accreditation cannot be used to fulfill the requirements for certification by the ABP.
Overview of the Requirement:
Beginning with the examination administered in 2014, the American Board of Pediatrics will require that applicants have completed the training required for initial certification in general pediatrics within the previous 7 years (eg, 2007 or later for examinations administered in 2014). If the required training was not successfully completed within the previous 7 years, the applicant must complete an additional period of supervised practice in a training program accredited by the ACGME in the US, or the RCPSC in Canada in order to apply for certification. The purpose of the requirement is to provide the ABP with an independent assessment of the individual’s contemporary competence to practice pediatrics without supervision. Such verification of contemporary competence is required before the ABP will allow an additional 7-year window of eligibility to sit for the certifying examination.
Details of the Requirement:
New applicants and re-registrants for the general pediatrics certifying examination who have completed residency training prior to the 7-year eligibility window must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 6 months of supervised general pediatrics practice in the environment of an accredited training program that offers a breadth of general pediatrics experience. This practice must be supervised such that the program director and faculty of the accredited program can assess the individual’s contemporary competence to practice pediatrics unsupervised. The program director of the accredited general pediatrics residency must submit the specifics of the planned experiences to the ABP for approval prior to initiation and then verify the individual’s competence at the conclusion of the supervised practice. The ABP allows flexibility in the design of the clinical experiences but they must include inpatient experience, newborn care, emergency care, recognition and stabilization of the ill child, and outpatient experience. Details of these requirements are outlined in an accompanying document, Plan for Supervised Practice and Assessment of Competence in General Pediatrics in the Accredited Training Program.
Following the satisfactory completion of the period of supervised practice, the candidate will have 7 years to become certified. If unsuccessful in becoming certified during the additional 7 years of eligibility, the applicant must enter an accredited general pediatrics residency program and complete 3 years of training in order to regain eligibility. When applying or re-applying for certification, the applicant must meet the requirements for acceptance in effect at that time.
Overview of the Requirement:
Beginning with the examinations administered in 2014, the American Board of Pediatrics will require that applicants have completed the training required for initial certification in the pediatric subspecialties within the previous 7 years (eg, 2007 or later for examinations administered in 2014) with one exception noted below.* If the required training was not successfully completed within the previous 7 years, the applicant must complete an additional period of supervised practice in a training program accredited by the ACGME in the US, or the RCPSC in Canada in order to apply for certification. The purpose of the requirement is to provide the ABP with an independent assessment of the individual’s contemporary competence to practice the pediatric subspecialty without supervision. Such verification of contemporary competence is required before the ABP will allow an additional 7-year window of eligibility to sit for the certifying examination.
Details of the Requirement:
New applicants and re-registrants for subspecialty certification who have completed fellowship (or were approved on the basis of practice) prior to the 7-year time limit must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 6 months of supervised clinical subspecialty practice in the environment of an accredited training program, with the breadth of experiences comparable to the clinical experiences in fellowship. The supervised practice must be in the discipline in which certification is sought. This practice must be supervised such that the program director and faculty of the accredited program can assess the individual’s contemporary competence to practice the subspecialty unsupervised. The program director of the accredited fellowship must submit the specifics of the planned experiences to the ABP for approval prior to initiation and then verify the individual’s competence at the conclusion of the supervised practice. The ABP allows flexibility in the design of the clinical experiences as long they allow comprehensive assessment in all aspects of the subspecialty discipline needed for unsupervised practice. Details of these requirements are outlined in an accompanying document, Plan for Supervised Practice and Assessment of Competence in a Subspecialty in the Accredited Training Program.
Following the satisfactory completion of the period of supervised practice, the candidate will have 7 years to become certified. If unsuccessful in becoming certified during the additional 7 years of eligibility, the applicant must enter an accredited subspecialty fellowship program and complete 2 years of training in order to regain eligibility. The requirement for scholarly activity is waived. When applying or re-applying for certification, the applicant must meet the requirements for acceptance in effect at that time.
*The following provision may apply to individuals who completed subspecialty training in the US or Canada before completing the accredited general pediatrics training required for certification by the ABP. Most of these individuals will have completed nonaccredited pediatrics training overseas or osteopathic pediatric training in the US. The provision is as follows:
Individuals who, solely because of their sequence of training, will not have an opportunity to take a subspecialty examination before their subspecialty eligibility has expired will be permitted one opportunity to take a subspecialty examination, provided that no more than 10 years have elapsed since their subspecialty training was completed and the individual is currently certified in general pediatrics.
Approved by BOD – 6/09
Edited – 3/10
Revision approved by ABP Executive Committee 11/14
For further information regarding both General Pediatrics and Subspecialty training and time-limited eligibility, visit this Questions and Answers Page.
If a certificate has an end date, the certificate will expire on December 31 of the year of expiration.
The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) expects residents and fellows in training, candidates for initial certification, and its diplomates to uphold fundamental moral and ethical principles. As specified by The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the American Board of Medical Specialties, residents, fellows, candidates and diplomates must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles and sensitivity to diverse patient populations.
The material developed by the ABP for its in-training, certification and maintenance of certification exams and other certification activities are copyrighted as the sole property of the ABP and may not be reproduced in any way. Reproduction of copyrighted material, in whole or in part, is a federal offense. Irrespective of copyright, any attempt to distribute ABP in-training, certification or maintenance of certification material, in whole or part, undermines the fairness of the certification process and will be considered unethical, unprofessional and dishonorable and will constitute grounds for the ABP to disqualify the resident, fellow, candidate or diplomate from future exams and/or other certification activities, invalidate current activities, revoke certificates or take any other action deemed appropriate by the ABP and its legal counsel.
Residents, fellows, candidates and diplomates must understand that unethical and unprofessional behavior, including but not limited to the listing below, may be sufficient cause for the ABP to deny admission to an exam for a period of up to 5 years, to terminate participation in an exam, to invalidate the result of an exam, to withhold scores or certificates, to require an individual to retake an entire activity or portions thereof, to revoke a certificate(s), or to take other appropriate action as deemed appropriate by the ABP and its legal counsel:
Candidates and diplomates must also understand that the ABP may withhold scores and may or may not require a candidate or diplomate to re-take one or more portions of an exam if the ABP is presented with sufficient evidence that the security of one or more portions of the exam has been compromised, notwithstanding the absence of any evidence of personal involvement in such activities. Candidates must agree that the ABP will not be liable for candidate travel and/or other losses or expenses incurred as a result of an exam cancellation or postponement for such cases.
All ABP examinations are administered in testing centers by test administrators who are responsible for maintaining the integrity and security of the certification process. All candidates taking an ABP examination will be monitored. Test administrators are required to report to ABP any irregular, improper or disruptive behavior by a candidate and have the authority to discontinue a candidate's testing and eject a candidate from a testing center. Irregular, improper or disruptive behavior is any behavior that undermines, disrupts or threatens the integrity or validity of the examination administration, whether it occurs before, during or after an examination. Examples of irregular or improper behavior include, but in no way is limited to, giving or obtaining information or aid, looking at the test material of others, excessive use or misuse of unscheduled breaks, bringing unauthorized items (eg, watches, cell phones) into the examination room, failing to comply with time limits or instructions or other improper behaviors.
In addition to reports provided by the test administrators, the ABP utilizes data forensic techniques to identify data patterns that indicate potential test irregularities. Any irregular or improper behavior that is observed, made apparent by data forensics or discovered by other means will constitute grounds for invalidation of a candidate's examination.
Depending on the potential breach and evidence reviewed, the ABP may exercise the following options:
The ABP is not liable for any expenses or associated losses incurred as a result of the investigation, invalidation and retesting efforts for such cases identified. Any subsequent appeal of a decision resulting from the application of this policy will be handled according to the established appeal process of the ABP.
Approved by Executive Committee - 11/12
Applicants for a certifying examination who are unable to appear for the examination due to the following circumstances may petition the ABP for an alternative test date. Alternative test dates must be scheduled no later than 6 weeks following the test date originally scheduled by the ABP.
Candidates must provide documentation of the circumstances that prevent them from appearing at their scheduled appointment. Candidates are urged to submit petitions to the ABP as soon as possible, but no later than 3 business days following the test date. Documentation of medical disabilities, medical emergencies, qualifying pregnancy or birth of child must be provided by the treating physician. Decisions as to whether a qualifying event results in a rescheduled exam are at the sole discretion of the ABP. If the alternative test date is missed, the ABP will not consider a second alternative date.
Alternatively, candidates may elect to delay the examination until the next scheduled administration and receive a full refund of all fees paid for the exam. However, the time-limited eligibility to achieve certification will not be extended.
*Immediate family member: spouse/partner, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, sibling or parent-in-law
Approved by the Board of Directors 6/2017
Consistent with the ABMS/ACGME general competencies, the ABP expects its candidates and diplomates to use information technology (including the use of personal computers, the Internet, and e-mail) to support patient care decisions and patient education, better manage medical information, maintain certification and support their continuing medical education efforts.
Becoming Certified Again Following Revocation or Surrender of Certification
Once a certificate issued by the ABP has been revoked or surrendered, that certificate ceases to exist. Former diplomates desiring to become certified again must complete all then-current requirements for maintenance of certification and any other requirements as deemed appropriate by the ABP in order to achieve certification.