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 is the cost of an Initial Certification exam?

ABPN has lowered initial certification fees by 54 percent since 2007, and these fees are approximately 31 percent below the average of other ABMS boards. See the chart below for more information.

The cost of an initial certification exam fee is $1,945 and is non-refundable. Payments are made online in the Physician Portal account at the time of application.

ABPN Initial Certification Fees by year

The ABPN initial certification examination fees remain in the bottom half of the 24 ABMS Member Boards.  The current examination fee is $1,945 and candidates are offed the option of selecting a split payment when submitting the applications. This fee covers the cost of the examination and credentialing due to ongoing board eligibility requirements.

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.
  • For example, individuals who completed an accredited residency program prior to January 1, 2012 had until January 1, 2019 to become board certified.
  • Individuals who do not become certified during the 7-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 block of Continuing Certification (CC)/MOC requirements [(90 CME credits, 24 self-assessment CME credits, and 1 PIP activity (includes a clinical module or feedback module)] in order to apply and be credentialed to take the ABPN Certification Examination. CC/MOC block requirements are valid for three years and must be completed at the time of the application.
  • Diplomates must obtain initial certification in an ABPN primary specialty prior to obtaining subspecialty certification. Physicians who do not pass the subspecialty certification examination within seven years of graduating from an ACGME-accredited subspecialty program will be required to complete one block of CC/MOC activities (90 CME credits, 24 self-assessment CME credits, and one PIP activity) in order to apply and be credentialed to take an ABPN subspecialty certification examination. CC/MOC block requirements are valid for three years and must be completed at the time of the application.

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.

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.

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

The ABPN requires that all programs allow a minimum of four weeks of leave time (including vacation, sick time, maternity/paternity leave, etc.) during training per year. These four weeks should be averaged over the four-year training period. Leave or vacation time may NOT be used to reduce the total amount of required residency training or to make up deficiencies in training. Programs must allow a minimum of 6 weeks of time away from training for purposes of parental, caregiver, and medical leave at least once during training, without exhausting all other allowed time away from training and without extending training. Within ABPN and ACGME policy guidelines, it is up to the program director and the program clinical competency committee to determine whether a given resident has met training requirements or must extend their period of training.

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.

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.

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 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. Complete all training in either a U.S. program accredited by the ACGME or approved by the ABPN or in a Canadian program accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada as well as meet the other requirements specified in the reciprocity agreement.
  3. Have an active, full, unrestricted medical license* in the U.S. or Canada as defined in the separate General Information and Board Policies Manual on this website. Applicants are required to update their active, full, unrestricted medical licenses in their ABPN Physician Folios account.
  4. Have satisfactorily completed the Board’s specialized training requirements described on this website.
  5. Apply online and submit an application through ABPN Physician Folios. Required documents should be emailed, mailed or faxed to 847.229.6600 separately.


Maintenance of Certification
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.

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.

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 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.

What are the fees for participating in the CC Program?

The ABPN is introducing a new fee structure in 2022. Instead of a single fee at the time of the Continuing Certification examination, participants in the Continuing Certification (CC) Program pay an annual fee.

The current annual fee is $175 and is non-refundable. Payments are made online in the Physician Portal account ‘Annual Fee’ section.

For diplomates with multiple certifications, the fees are distributed over an annual basis instead of an additional lump sum examination fee paid per certification at the time of each exam administration.

CC Program* – 2022 Annual Fees
$175 one certification
$240 two certifications
$310 three+ certifications
*The CC Program began in 2012

The current ABPN $175 CC fees are approximately 43 percent below the average of other ABMS boards. See the chart* below to compare.

*Data taken from the ABMS Member Board Fee Summary table

Annual fees cover either assessment pathway (Article Based Continuing Certification (ABCC) pathway or Examination pathway) for all active certifications in the Continuing Certification (CC) Program.

Annual fees include development and administration of both CC assessment pathways, reporting of Board certification status, access to personalized Physician Portal account with customized CC tracker, ongoing credentialing, and verification of certification. Diplomates will no longer be required to submit a traditional recertification application and payment provided their certification(s) remain active.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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 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 to complete the PIP activity.

See this website for the available options.

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 CC Activities List or gain credit for up to two different types of Non-CME Self-Assessment Activity Options.

See this website for more information.

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 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.

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.