Click the ABP Banner to return to the home page.

Login


If you do not have a Username and Password, click here

Contact Us       
Site Map


Subspecialty Certification Requirements

I. Medical School Education
II. Medical Licensure
III. GME Training Requirements

General Requirements
Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine
Chemical Pathology
Clinical Informatics
Cytopathology
Dermatopathology
Forensic Pathology
Hematology
Medical Microbiology
Molecular Genetic Pathology
Neuropathology
Pediatric Pathology

Combined Primary and Subspecialty Certification


Requirements for Subspecialty Certification

All applications for certification are evaluated by the Credentials Committee of the ABP. The evaluation process includes consideration of medical school education, medical licensure, and graduate medical education as detailed below.

I. MEDICAL SCHOOL EDUCATION

A. Medical School Requirement

Applicants for certification by the ABP must have graduated from:

a. a medical school in the United States or Canada accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, or

b. an osteopathic college of medicine accredited by the Bureau of Professional Education of the American Osteopathic Association, or

c. a medical school outside the United States or Canada acceptable to the ABP.

B. Medical School Documents Required with Application

1. Applicants must upload a copy of the medical school diploma (along with an English translation if issued outside the United States in a language other than English), showing the medical degree and the date that it was awarded, or if a copy is not available,

2. Graduates of United States or Canadian medical schools may upload a letter from the Dean’s office of their medical school certifying that they graduated from medical school. A certificate showing that the applicant has passed a final examination is not acceptable.

II. MEDICAL LICENSURE (There are no exceptions to the licensure requirements.)

A. Primary and Subspecialty Certification

1. Applicants must possess or have applied for a full and unrestricted license in a state or jurisdiction of the United States or Canada that will be valid at the time examination results are released.

2. Institutional or training licenses are not acceptable.

3. If the applicant has applied for but not yet received a medical license, he/she must upload a copy of a letter or email received from the medical licensing board stating they are in receipt of your application for licensure.

4. Applicants who upload the information required in II.A.3 will be allowed to sit for the examination, but their results will not be released until evidence of licensure is uploaded to the applicants “My Profile” tab in PATHway. If evidence of licensure is not uploaded within 2 years from the date of the examination, the examination results will be declared null and void.

B. Notification of action against medical license

1. Candidates and diplomates must notify the ABP in writing within 60 days of:

a. any revocation, suspension, or limitation of his/her license or right to practice by any licensing agency in the United States or Canada;

b. voluntary surrender of such a license or right in connection with any disciplinary action or consent decree; or

c. entry into a rehabilitation or diversionary program for chemical dependency.

2. The candidate or diplomate must also provide the ABP all relevant documentation relating to such action, including any administrative complaints or decisions, consent decrees, or settlement agreements.

3. Failure to report such an action may result in the denial of eligibility to sit for a certifying examination or the revocation of any and all certificates issued by the ABP, as applicable (see Booklet of Information Section VIII. H. Revocation of Certification).

4. Successful participation in a rehabilitation program for chemical dependency authorized by the applicable medical licensing board will not, by itself, disqualify an applicant from taking a certification examination.

III. GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION TRAINING REQUIREMENTS

A. General

1. Candidates must have 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 pathology program accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) (the ABP does not accept Canadian subspecialty training). Only pathology training obtained in the United States or Canada is acceptable toward meeting the ABP requirements.

2. For candidates who completed training in 2008 or later, certification must be obtained within 5 years of the completion of training. Otherwise, additional training will be required (see Booklet of Information Section IV.A.4 and IV.G.3. Qualification Period for Examination).

3. For candidates who finished residency prior to 2008, training should have been successfully completed during the 5-year period immediately preceding the final filing date for submission of the application. For these applicants, if training was completed 5–9 years prior to application, evidence of continuing medical education will be required (contact the ABP for details). Verification of the applicant’s qualifications by the pathology training program director is required.

a. The ABP will provide an on-line evaluation form to the most recent pathology training program director. The program director must complete this on-line evaluation, which verifies that ACGME/RCPSC-accredited training for the requested certification has been successfully completed and that the applicant has demonstrated sufficient competence to enter practice without direct supervision.

b. For applicants that have trained in more than one program, the ABP will provide an additional online evaluation form to each pathology training program director with responsibility for any portion of an individual’s training. Completing this form verifies satisfactory performance during the training in that program.

4. Each institution sponsoring a pathology training program should develop their own sick, vacation, parental, and other leave policies for the resident. Regardless of these policies, the ABP defines:

a. 1 year of credit for training to meet ABP certification requirements must be 52 weeks in duration, and the resident must document an average of 48 weeks per year of full-time pathology training over the course of the training program.

b. For 1-year fellowship programs, the applicant must document 48 weeks of full-time training.

c. Any additional leave must be made up.

d. Unused vacation and other leave time may not be accumulated to reduce the overall duration of training.

5. The ABP does not allow credit for student fellowships in pathology during medical school nor does it give "advanced credit" for either primary or subspecialty certification.

C. Subspecialty Certification

1. Requirements for All Subspecialty Certification

a. Candidates must have current primary or subspecialty certification from the ABP or another ABMS Board. Applicants may apply to take a subspecialty examination, but will not be declared an “eligible”/qualified candidate and not allowed to sit for the exam until primary certification is achieved.

b. Candidates with time-limited primary certificates must be participating in MOC and up to date with all MOC reporting requirements.

c. Candidates for combined AP/Neuropathology certification must have passed the AP primary examination before they will be allowed to sit for the NP subspecialty examination.

d. Applicants may not receive credit toward subspecialty certification for training that was used to satisfy the training requirement for primary certification.

e. Residents must complete at least 2 years of training in AP/CP, AP, or CP before beginning subspecialty training, except for Dermatopathology in which completion of all primary certification training requirements prior to the fellowship is required.

f. Applicants who completed subspecialty training 10 or more years prior to application must have successfully completed 6 months of additional pathology training in an ACGME-accredited training program in the area(s) in which certification is desired.

g. Modified training (part-time training) for subspecialty certification is acceptable if the part-time training occurs in an approved position in an ACGME-accredited program. The duration of training may not exceed twice that required for qualification.

2. Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine

a. Candidates must have a current certificate in AP/CP or CP only or from another ABMS board as noted below and must complete 1 full year of training in an ACGME accredited blood banking/transfusion medicine program.

b. Diplomates of the American Boards of Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery, Neurological Surgery, and Thoracic Surgery or any diplomate of an ABMS board who holds a subspecialty certificate in Hematology from an ABMS member board must complete 1 full year of training in an ACGME accredited blood banking/transfusion medicine program.

c. Applicants, other than those described in 2.a. or 2.b. above, who are certified by another ABMS member board must complete 1 full year of training in an ACGME accredited blood banking/transfusion medicine program and have 1 additional year in blood banking/transfusion medicine acceptable to the ABP (ABP approval for the additional year should be obtained before the individual begins the additional year).

3. Chemical Pathology

a. Candidates must be certified in AP/CP or CP only and must complete 1 full year of training in an ACGME accredited chemical pathology program.

b. Applicants, who are certified by another ABMS member board, must complete1 full year of training in an ACGME accredited chemical pathology program and 1 additional year in chemical pathology acceptable to the ABP (ABP approval for the additional year should be obtained before the individual begins the additional year).

4. Clinical Informatics

a. Certification in Clinical Informatics is a joint and equal function of the ABP and the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM). Such function relates to qualification of applicants, standards of examinations, and the form of the certificate.

b. All candidates for certification in Clinical Informatics must possess current certification by one of the ABMS member boards and meet the qualifications indicated in one of the following pathways to certification.

c. ACGME-accredited Fellowship Pathway. A physician must have successfully completed two years in an ACGME-accredited Clinical Informatics fellowship program. Until a sufficient number of training programs are accredited, the following additional pathways to certification will be available.

d. Practice Pathway. For a period of 5 years from the date when the American Board of Preventive Medicine begins receiving applications for certification in Clinical Informatics, an applicant may submit documentation of a 36-month period of time in which he or she spent a minimum of 25% of his or her time engaged in the practice of Clinical Informatics at the subspecialty level. These experiences must consist of broad-based professional activity with significant Clinical Informatics responsibility. Documentation of Clinical Informatics research and teaching activities may also be submitted for review. The practice experience may include a period of time spent in non-accredited fellowship training.

e. Non-Accredited Fellowship Pathway. For a period of 5 years from the date when the American Board of Preventive Medicine begins receiving applications for certification in Clinical Informatics, an applicant may request credit for training in a non-ACGME accredited fellowship program of equal duration to an accredited fellowship. Training in a non-ACGME accredited program of less than the required duration may be applied toward the practice pathway (see Section III.C.4.d. Practice Pathway). The fellowship training curriculum, as well as a description of the actual training experience, must be submitted. The training received in the non-accredited fellowship must have been substantially equivalent to, or exceed, the training required in ACGME accredited fellowships.

5. Cytopathology

a. Candidates must be certified in AP/CP or AP only, and must complete 1 full year of training in an ACGME accredited cytopathology program.

6. Dermatopathology

a. Certification in dermatopathology is a joint and equal function of the ABP and the American Board of Dermatology (ABD). Such function relates to qualifications of applicants, standards of examinations, and the form of the certificate.

b. Prerequisite

1) Candidates must have completed 1 full year of training in an ACGME accredited dermatopathology fellowship program. Fellowship training can only be taken after the applicant has met the full training requirements for certification in pathology or dermatology.

c. Training

1) Training programs in dermatopathology are a joint and equal function of departments of pathology and dermatology. A pathologist applicant must spend a portion of their training in clinical dermatology (as required by the ACGME Review Committee for Dermatopathology).

7. Forensic Pathology

a. Candidates must be certified in AP/CP or AP only and must complete 1 full year of training in an ACGME accredited forensic pathology program.

8. Hematology

a. Applicants who are certified in AP/CP, AP only or CP only or have a primary certificate plus a subspecialty certificate in hematology from another ABMS member board must complete 1 full year of additional training in an ACGME accredited hematology (pathology) program.

b. Applicants (other than those described in 8.a.) who are certified by another ABMS member board must complete 2 years of full-time training including one year in an ACGME accredited hematology (pathology) program and 1 additional year in hematology acceptable to the ABP (ABP approval for the additional year should be obtained before the individual begins the additional year).

9. Medical Microbiology

a. Applicants who are certified in AP/CP, AP only or CP only or have a primary certificate plus a subspecialty certificate in infectious disease from another ABMS member board must complete 1 full year of additional training in an ACGME accredited medical microbiology program.

b. Applicants (other than those described in 9.a.) who are certified by another ABMS member board must complete 2 years of full-time training including 1 full year of training in an ACGME approved medical microbiology program and 1 additional year in medical microbiology acceptable to the ABP (ABP approval for the additional year should be obtained before the individual begins the additional year).

10. Molecular Genetic Pathology

a. Certification in molecular genetic pathology is a joint function of the American Board of Medical Genetics (ABMG) and the ABP. Such function relates to qualifications of applicants and standards of examination.

b. Prerequisites

1) Candidates must be certified by the ABP (AP/CP, AP only or CP only) or the ABMG. Only ABMG physician diplomates may be candidates for this exam.

2) Applicants must complete at least 1 year of training in an ACGME accredited molecular genetic pathology program.

c. Training

1) Training programs in molecular genetic pathology are a joint and equal function of departments of pathology and departments or divisions of medical genetics. The pathologist applicant must gain an understanding of the principles involved in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of genetic disorders and of counseling the patient and the family.

11. Neuropathology

a. Applicants who are certified in AP/CP or AP only must complete 2 full years of training in an ACGME accredited neuropathology program.

b. Applicants who are certified in CP or are certified by another ABMS member board must complete 1 full year of ACGME accredited training in anatomic pathology, and 2 full years of ACGME accredited training in neuropathology

c. Combined Anatomic Pathology/Neuropathology

1) Applicants for combined AP/NP certification must obtain 2 full years of ACGME accredited training in anatomic pathology and 2 full years of ACGME accredited training in neuropathology.

2) Applicants for AP/NP certification must meet the autopsy requirements described under Section III.B.1 Primary Certification.

3) Applicants for combined AP/NP certification must pass the AP examination before they will be allowed to sit for the NP examination.

4) Applicants for combined AP/NP certification must complete the primary application for AP/NP and pay the required fee for the AP examination.

5) Applicants must complete a separate registration for the NP portion of the examination when subspecialty registration becomes available and pay the required fee for the NP examination.

12. Pediatric Pathology

a. Applicants who are certified by the ABP in AP/CP or AP only or in anatomic pathology or general pathology from the RCPSC must complete 1 full year of ACGME accredited training in pediatric pathology.

D. Combined Primary and Subspecialty Certification

1. General Information

a. Combined primary and subspecialty certification is only available in AP/NP. Residents who entered training prior to January 1, 2009 who planned to obtain combined primary/subspecialty certification in other areas can contact the ABP for information about how to use their training to meet criteria for separate certification in the areas of interest.