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Certification by the ABP

I. The granting of a certificate
II. Subspecialty Certification
III. Maintenance of Certification
IV. Certification Status
V. Definitions

Certification By The ABP

The ABP issues primary certificates in the fields of Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Pathology. Subspecialty certificates are issued in Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine, Chemical Pathology, Clinical Informatics (in conjunction with the American Board of Preventive Medicine), Cytopathology, Hematology, Dermatopathology (in conjunction with the American Board of Dermatology), Forensic Pathology, Medical Microbiology, Molecular Genetic Pathology (in conjunction with the American Board of Medical Genetics), Neuropathology, and Pediatric Pathology. The ABP also issues certificates attesting to the voluntary recertification of previously certified Diplomates who hold a primary certificate by this Board.

Candidates for certification must possess qualifications as established and published annually by the ABP.

Recipients of the certificates of the ABP are designated as Diplomates of the ABP, and are entitled to so designate themselves in an ethical manner. All Diplomates are governed by such provisions for use and revocation of certificates as the Board may, from time to time, adopt.

I. The granting of a certificate to a physician by the ABP denotes that the pathologist is a physician who has:

A. Successfully completed a graduate medical education program in pathology or a pathology subspecialty accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or a program in pathology accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) (the ABP does not accept Canadian subspecialty training),
B. Had the Program Director verify that the resident has demonstrated sufficient competence to enter practice without direct supervision,
C. Successfully completed a voluntary evaluation process designed and administered by the ABP to assure the public and other physicians that, at the time of certification, the candidate had knowledge, skills, and other abilities that the ABP deems important for the practice of pathology.

II. Subspecialty Certification. Pathology is a broad discipline; therefore, it is appropriate that some certified pathologists seek greater knowledge and expertise in one of the component areas of pathology. Pathologists with subspecialty certification may choose to limit their activities entirely or in part to a specific area of competence or they may place special emphasis on it in their practices. The achievement of subspecialty certification does not reflect on the ability of other pathologists to practice in that area.

III. Maintenance of Certification (MOC). Primary and subspecialty certificates issued by the ABP after January 1, 2006 are time-limited (10 years). Diplomates with one or more time-limited certificates must participate in and successfully complete the ABP MOC process (see MOC Booklet of Information). Failure to meet the ongoing MOC requirements will result in early expiration of certification.

IV. Certification Status. Diplomates of the ABP are required to accurately state their certification status in curriculum vitae, publications, directories, letterhead, etc. A diplomate with a time-limited certificate whose certificate has expired must not claim to be board certified, and all descriptions of certification status must be modified accordingly. If an individual represents that he/she is certified by the ABP when such is not the case, the ABP will notify appropriate authorities, including but not limited to credentialing agencies, licensing boards, and law enforcement agencies.

V. Definitions

A. Applicant. An applicant is an individual who has never applied for a certifying examination, or whose application was previously not approved for that examination.
B. Board Eligibility. When an applicant has received notice from the ABP that the Credentials Committee has reviewed their application and that he/she is qualified to take the ABP examination, the applicant is now a candidate for certification can declare him/herself to be “board eligible”. The period of eligibility is 5 years from the completion of training.
C. Registration. Registration is required for any individual whose application for a specific examination was approved, but the individual did not take or pass the examination. Registration consists of completing the online registration form, certificate form and paying the required fee.