In 2000, the 24 Member Boards of ABMS made significant changes to their recertifiation programs.  The ABMS Maintenance of Certification® (MOC) was adopted to require continuous professional development over the career of a physician.  The MOC process aims to assure commitment to lifelong learning and competency in a specialty by requiring specific core competencies.  Measurement of these competencies vary by board, but there are six core competencies:

  • Professionalism—Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles and sensitivity to diverse patient populations.
  • Patient Care and Procedural Skills—Provide care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective treatment for health problems and to promote health.
  • Medical Knowledge—Demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical and cognate sciences and their application in patient care.
  • Practice-based Learning and Improvement—Able to investigate and evaluate their patient care practices, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence and improve their practice of medicine.
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills—Demonstrate skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their families and professional associates (e.g. fostering a therapeutic relationship that is ethically sound, uses effective listening skills with non-verbal and verbal communication; working as both a team member and at times as a leader).
  • Systems-based Practice—Demonstrate awareness of and responsibility to larger context and systems of healthcare. Be able to call on system resources to provide optimal care (e.g. coordinating care across sites or serving as the primary case manager when care involves multiple specialties, professions or sites).


MOC is a four part process that is designed by each member board.  Click here for an overview of the Requirements for ABMS Maintenance of Certification.  The process includes:

Part I —Licensure and Professional Standing 
Medical specialists must hold a valid, unrestricted medical license in at least one state or jurisdiction in the United States, its territories or Canada.

Part II—Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment 
Physicians participate in educational and self-assessment programs that meet specialty-specific standards that are set by their member board. To learn more about each of the ABMS Member Boards Part II requirements, please click here.

Part III—Cognitive Expertise 
They demonstrate, through formalized examination, that they have the fundamental, practice-related and practice environment-related knowledge to provide quality care in their specialty.

Part IV—Practice Performance Assessment 
They are evaluated in their clinical practice according to specialty-specific standards for patient care. They are asked to demonstrate that they can assess the quality of care they provide compared to peers and national benchmarks and then apply the best evidence or consensus recommendations to improve that care using follow-up assessments.

Find more information about Maintenance of Certification at or from one of the Member Boards.

Consumer Awareness

With the implementation of, consumers are more actively searching to find out if their physicians are board certified.  Quality care, outcomes, and cost effective treatments are important factors in selecting physicians.  Consumers are looking to board certifications, fellowship training, and other measures of physician competency to assist in their selection of physicians.