What Does Board Certified Mean?

To practice medicine in the United States, all physicians must be licensed by the states in which they work. A license, however, does not indicate whether your physician is board-certified in his/her specialty of practice.

After a physician has completed premedical education, earned a 4 year M.D. or D.O. degree from a qualified medical school, and completed 3 to 5 years in an accredited residency training program, he/she may sit for a written and sometimes oral examination administered by one of the 24 member boards that are part of the not-for-profit American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

When a physician becomes board-certified, it means he/she has voluntarily met specific clinical standards and stays up to date with the latest advances in medicine. Each board specialty has its own recertification period.