Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions are answered below pertaining to Board Certification, Credentials, ABPN preCERT® Credentialing System, Maintenance of Certification, and Pearson VUE testing. Complete details on specific training and credentialing requirements for admission to sit for Board examinations are included in the individual Information for Applicants (IFA) documents for each exam. Please see the related examination page on this website for more information.

Initial Certification
What are the Board's Requirements for Certification?

To be Board-certified in psychiatry, neurology or neurology with special qualification in child neurology, a candidate must:

  1. Be a graduate of an accredited medical school in the United States or Canada or of an international medical school listed by the World Health Organization.
  2. Hold an unrestricted license to practice medicine in at least one state, commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States or province of Canada. If licenses are held in more than one jurisdiction, all licenses held by the physician must meet this requirement. For more information on license restrictions, see the appropriate Information for Applicants publication that can be downloaded from this website.
  3. Have satisfactorily completed specialized training requirements in psychiatry, neurology or child neurology in programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or approved by the ABPN or certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. This training must adhere to all Board requirements.
  4. Submit a completed official application form including all required attachments and the appropriate application and examination fees by the specified deadlines. Only applications submitted on the current application form are accepted. Faxed copies of applications are not accepted.
  5. Pass the appropriate specialty certification examination(s).

Does Certification Expire?

Physicians certified in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, neurology, or neurology with special qualification in child neurology before October 1, 1994 were granted lifetime certificates.

Between October 1, 1994 and December 31, 2011 all individuals achieving specialty Board certification by the ABPN were issued time-limited certificates that expired December 31, ten years after they were issued. Certificates issued in all subspecialties except child and adolescent psychiatry have always been time-limited. Time-limited certificates for child and adolescent psychiatry began in 1995.

Beginning January 1, 2012, all certificates are dependent upon continuous maintenance of certification based on a three-year cycle of requirements with certificates being valid as long as they are maintained. The examination cycle remains at ten years.


What are the ABPN's Rules Regarding Transferring Between Programs?

To ensure continuity of training, the Board requires that two of the three years of residency training, excluding the PGY-1, be spent in a single program. The 36 months of full-time specialized residency training must be completed in no more than two blocks. If completed in two blocks, the blocks must not be more than ten years apart. In addition, credit is not given for less than one-year blocks of training (including the PGY-1). The ABPN Credentials Committee considers exceptions to these rules only under extraordinary circumstances. In such cases, respective program directors should contact the Board office, in writing, prior to the transfer. The letters must outline the resident’s training content, duties, and responsibilities, including exact dates (from month/day/year to month/day/year) of training, and indicate clearly that the resident will satisfy all ACGME program requirements. Each case is considered on an individual basis.


May Training be Completed on a Part-Time Basis?

Training may be completed on a part-time basis, provided that it is no less than half time.


May Vacation or Leave Time be Used to Complete Training Earlier?

Training programs may schedule individual leave or vacation time for residents in accordance with the overall institutional policy. Leave or vacation time may NOT be used to reduce the total amount of required residency training or to make up deficiencies in training.


May an Applicant with a Temporary Education or Training License Apply for Examination?

Applicants who do not yet have an unrestricted medical license because they are in training are not required to submit a copy of their medical license at the time of application for examination in psychiatry, neurology, or child neurology. However, such applicants must submit a copy of their unrestricted medical license(s) no later than the date specified in the appropriate Information for Applicants publication. These dates differ for different examinations and failure to meet the deadlines for licensure could result in delay of scheduling or invalidation of scores. Applicants holding more than one license must submit a copy of each license.


How Many Times May an Applicant Apply for the Board Certification Examinations?

There is currently no limit on the number of times an applicant may apply for examination.


What Does It Mean to Be "Board Eligible"?

The ABPN does not recognize or use the term “Board Eligible” and does not issue statements concerning “Board Eligibility.” The Board informs an applicant of admissibility to examination only when the applicant has an active, approved application on file in the Board office.

  • Effective January 1, 2012, ABPN will require a physician to become Board certified within seven years following successful completion of ACGME-accredited or ABPN-approved residency training in their primary specialty or ACGME-accredited subspecialty.
  • Graduates can take the ABPN Certification Examination as many times as allowed during the seven-year period.
  • Individuals who have completed an accredited residency program prior to January 1, 2012 will have until January 1, 2019 to become board certified.
  • Individuals who do not become certified during the seven-year period (or before January 1, 2019 for those who completed residency training before January 1, 2012) will be required to (1) repeat the required clinical skills evaluations; and (2) complete one stage of MOC (90 CME credits, 24 self-assessment CME credits, and one PIP Unit that includes a clinical module or feedback module) in order to be credentialed to take the ABPN Certification Examination.

 

Maintenance of Certification
What is the rationale for the ABPN MOC requirements?

ABPN has designed its MOC requirements so that its diplomates can document for the public, their patients, and the organizations that employ, credential, and/or pay them that they have acceptable professional standing, that they have the competence to provide quality patient care, and that they are actively engaged in quality improvement and performance improvement activities.


Do you require MOC participation by those who develop MOC requirements?

Yes, ABPN requires its directors, MOC committee members and President and CEO to participate in MOC.


Is there flexibility for diplomates to choose what activities they can do for self-assessment (SA), CME, and Performance-In-Practice (PIP)?

Yes, ABPN recognizes any relevant Category 1 CME activity, and diplomates may complete any ABPN-approved SA and PIP activity. See this website for more information.


Do diplomates have a range of approved CME and non-CME options that meet Self-Assessment (SA) requirements?

Yes, ABPN has approved a number of SA activities that provide CME credit, and CME credit earned from SA can count toward the total CME requirement.

Diplomates can select activities from the ABPN Approved Products List or gain credit for up to two different types of Non-CME Self-Assessment Activity Options.

See this website for more information.


Do diplomates have a range of approved options available that meet Improvement in Medical Practice (PIP) requirements?

Yes, this quality improvement exercise is designed to identify and implement areas for improvement based on the review of one’s own patient charts (Clinical Module) OR feedback from peers or patients via a questionnaire/survey (Feedback Module). Diplomates now choose ONE Clinical Module OR Feedback Module activity to complete the PIP Unit.

See this website for the available options.


Are the ABPN MOC examinations practice relevant and do they have reasonable pass rates?

Yes, ABPN MOC examinations are developed by clinically active diplomate peers, are practice relevant, and have pass rates of about 95 percent.


Do diplomates have more than one chance each year to take the MOC examinations?

Yes, beginning in 2016, ABPN gives diplomates two opportunities to take the MOC examinations in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, neurology, and child neurology.

ABPN gives all diplomates who fail an MOC examination a second opportunity within one year to pass before reporting them as “not certified”.


Do diplomates get credit for activities they already do in their own organizations and professional societies that meet MOC requirements?

Yes, ABPN gives diplomates MOC credit for approved institutional QI and feedback activities, approved registry participation, and “meaningful participation” in the ABMS Portfolio Program.


Does the ABPN avoid conflicts of interest by keeping out of the business of producing or selling MOC products to diplomates?

Yes, ABPN neither produces nor sells any MOC products other than it's MOC examinations.


Does the ABPN work closely with professional organizations to ensure that a range of low cost or free MOC products are available for diplomates?

Yes, ABPN has collaborated closely with professional organizations to encourage the development of a range of MOC products for SA, CME, and PIP.


Do you require diplomates with multiple certificates to duplicate their MOC activities?

No, ABPN only requires diplomates with multiple certificates to complete one set of MOC activities (SA, CME, and PIP).


Can diplomates with multiple certificates take all their MOC examinations at the same time?

Yes, ABPN permits diplomates with multiple certificates to take combined MOC examinations at reduced fees that cover up to 3 certificates.


Can you make the ABPN MOC fees reasonable?

ABPN has reduced the fee for its MOC examination by 30% over the last several years. The ABPN MOC fees are well below the average for all ABMS Member Boards.


Do you require diplomates to send any specific patient or MOC data to the ABPN?

No, the ABPN only requires that diplomates attest to the fact that they have completed MOC activities and audits about 5% of applicants for MOC examinations. If audited, ABPN diplomates will only be required to document what SA, CME, and PIP activities they did and when they did them. ABPN diplomates are not required to send any patient or MOC data to the ABPN.


Do you allow diplomates to count the MOC activities they do for other ABMS Member Boards toward the ABPN MOC requirements?

Yes, ABPN gives diplomates credit for any relevant MOC activity they have done for other ABMS Member Boards.


Do you require diplomates who are doing subspecialty fellowships to also do MOC at the same time?

No, ABPN awards 3 years of MOC credit (SA, CME, and PIP) to diplomates who graduate from an ACGME-accredited subspecialty fellowship and pass the ABPN subspecialty examination.


Does the ABPN website make it easy for diplomates to attest to what they do in MOC?

Yes, ABPN has redesigned its website with input from young members of the AAN and the APA. ABPN Physician Folios makes it easy for diplomates to update their participation in MOC by logging on and updating their account.


American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc.

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Phone 847.229.6500 | Fax 847.229.6600