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Board Certification

Board certification status is the culmination of a physician's training and says to the public and to your colleagues that you have achieved the "gold standard" of accomplishment as you begin practice in your chosen specialty. Being "Board Certified" in today's world of the practice of medicine is also looked at by credentialing organizations, hospitals, medical groups, insurers and the public as a surrogate for measuring competence in your field.

The ABPM certifies in three specialties:

Aerospace Medicine

Aerospace medicine focuses on the clinical care, research, and operational support of the health, safety, and performance of crewmembers and passengers of air and space vehicles, together with the support personnel who assist operation of such vehicles. This population often works and lives in remote, isolated, extreme, or enclosed environments under conditions of physical and psychological stress. Practitioners strive for an optimal human-machine match in occupational settings rich with environmental hazards and engineering countermeasures.

Occupational Medicine

Occupational medicine focuses on the health of workers, including the ability to perform work; the physical, chemical, biological, and social environments of the workplace; and the health outcomes of environmental exposures. Practitioners in this field address the promotion of health in the work place, and the prevention and management of occupational and environmental injury, illness, and disability.

Public Health and General Preventive Medicine

Public health and general preventive medicine focuses on promoting health, preventing disease, and managing the health of communities and defined populations. These practitioners combine population-based public health skills with knowledge of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention-oriented clinical practice in a wide variety of settings.

The Application/Certification Process

The certification process begins with the online application. Applications with appropriate fees are due by June 1 each year and can be submitted before all requirements are fulfilled. Although online applications are accepted until one week prior to the Board meeting, substantial late fees are applied to any application submitted after June 1st. All documentation is due by July 15th, unless the requirement is completed after July 15th deadline. If the requirement is completed after the July 15th deadline, documentation should be submitted to the Board office immediately upon completion. The application/certification process is summarized below.

Data is collected through the online application. At the end of the online application, you will be prompted to pay the appropriate fees by credit card or check. If you pay by credit card and your payment goes through, you have completed the application and do not need to mail the application to the Board office. If you choose to pay by check, you will be prompted to print the signature page and send that along with your check to the Board office postmarked by June 1.

Once the Board office receives your application, it will be processed and you will receive a receipt and checklist of missing documentation via email (or first class mail if no email is provided). You will receive periodic updates via email as additional documentation is received at the Board office.

Your application will be reviewed by the Board and you will be notified on the status of your application in mid August. Your application will be either approved, pending (needs additional documentation), or not approved (does not fulfill requirements at this time).

If your application is approved and your examination fee has already been paid, you will contact Pearson to select your examination site upon receipt of your approval letter.

The 2016 exam will be offered over a two week period from October 3 - 7 and October 10 - 14 at Pearson VUE Professional Centers. Examination results will be sent via first class mail in December.

Board Eligibility

The term 'board eligible' has never been recognized by member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), including the ABPM, but the term continues to be used by credentialing organizations and others to recognize non-certified physicians as having equivalent status. In an effort to resolve this confusion for credentialers and patients, all member boards of the ABMS agreed to establish parameters under which non-certified physicians could actually be recognized as being board eligible and to further define the time limit for such board eligible status.

The ABPM has defined board eligibility as the first seven years after the completion of ACGME-accredited residency training in a Preventive Medicine specialty area. This policy became effective on January 1, 2012; therefore, the 7 year eligibility period began on January 1, 2012 for any physician who did their residency prior to the effective date of the policy. During the 7-year eligibility period, physicians must continue to meet all of the ongoing requirements to sit for the examination, such as the maintenance of a full, valid, and unrestricted license. After the 7-year eligibility period, beginning in 2019, the residency trained physician will lose the ability to refer to himself or herself as board eligible and will need to fulfill additional requirements before he or she will be allowed to sit for the examination. To see a listing of the additional requirements for re-entry, click here.