Continuous Certification Program


The American Board of Plastic Surgery, along with the 23 other ABMS member boards, will work to realign its Continuous Certification (CC) program to the new standards published by the ABMS, which become effective January 1, 2024.  The ABMS announced new standards for Continuous Certification based on the Vision for the Future Commission final report. (Found here)


Check out this video explaining the new format!


The current ABPS CC program already meets most of the newly published standards. The few changes necessary include a shortened certification cycle and annual verification of licensure. Below are the details. The changes do NOT result in increased requirements for ABPS Diplomates. The ABMS established the shorter 5-year or less certification cycle to allow the boards to more quickly identify and support those Diplomates with knowledge deficiencies or who may not be following current practice guidelines.



1. Transition from 10-year to 5-year Continuous Certification cycles with “undated” certificates.


All current certificates issued up to and including 2023 will remain valid through the current expiration date.  Starting in 2024, each new class of Diplomates will start a 5-year cycle of Continuous Certification. Current Diplomates with a 10-year certificate who recertify will transition to a 5-year cycle once their current certificate expires. Since this is a rolling transition, it will take the ABPS 10 years to transition all 7,000+ active Diplomates to the new 5-year cycle. 


Starting in 2024, all new ABPS certificates issued will NO LONGER include expiration dates. Any Diplomate recertifying in 2024 and beyond will receive a new paper certificate without an expiration date. Once a new or recertified Diplomate has received the non-dated ABPS Certificate, no additional paper certificates will be issued (unless duplicate copies are ordered).  Current certification status and historical certification dates of Diplomates will be maintained on the ABPS Website for patients, the public, and credentialers. 


The following statuses may be reported with a Diplomate’s certification history:


  • Certified-Active
  • Certified-Retired
  • Certified-On Probation
  • Expired Certificate
  • Suspended Certificate
  • Revoked Certificate



2. Requirements within the 5-year cycle: 


The current ABPS Continuous Certification requirements for the 10-year cycle easily divide into the new 5-year cycle. There will be NO additional requirements and none of the current requirements are changing.


  • One Professional Standing Update with supporting documentation for hospital privileges, medical licenses, outpatient facility accreditation, peer evaluations.
  • One Practice Improvement Activity. Diplomates may elect to complete a tracer procedure; or, receive credit if already participating in a QI activity such as QI Publication, Registry participation, or other ABPS-approved QI project.
  • Submit CME Report: 125 Category 1 Plastic Surgery Activities including 25 patient safety credits over the 5-year cycle.
  • Successful Completion of Four Online Annual Self-Assessments (30 questions each)
    • Annually, in April, the ABPS will open the administration window for all Diplomates to complete the 30-question self-assessment. The online assessment incorporates a rationale and allows two attempts to answer each question successfully. The assessment scores are based on “final response.”  Four successful annual assessments are required within each 5-year continuous certification cycle.  This allows each Diplomate to either skip one year or makeup a previously failed assessment without posing a risk to certification status.
  • Annual Fee of $410.00. 



3. Annual Primary Source Verification of Medical Licensure


The Board Office will verify Diplomates’ state medical license(s) status with the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) on an annual basis. 


The Diplomate remains responsible for reporting to the ABPS any actions taken by a state medical board against their license(s), including but not limited to, monitoring requirements, letters of reprimand, fines, additional CME, assigned courses, probation, suspension, revocation, non-renewal, relinquishment. 



4. ABPS-Awarded CME


Starting in 2022, the ABPS annual fee will include the granting of CME credits through the AMA for the completion of a Continuous Certification cycle. 30 Category I credits will be awarded for each 5-year cycle completed and 60 credits for each ten-year cycle. The Board will facilitate this process with the AMA on behalf of diplomates.  All requirements must be current in order to receive the credits.



See additional FAQs below 



Will any of the current Continuous Certification requirements change?

No, all of the current Continuous Certification requirements will remain the same and will be evenly distributed over two 5-year cycles.



Do I have to take the online assessment every year?

No, the requirement is to complete 4 annual assessments within the 5-year cycle.  If you have an unusually busy year or a significant life event, you can skip one year each 5-year cycle.



What happens if I fail an annual assessment?

Each item in the online assessment includes a rationale that explains the reasoning for the expected answer. After the first attempt and the presentation of the rationale, those who missed the item the first time will be given a second chance to answer the item at the end of the assessment. No studying is required. Diplomates must complete four successful assessments to renew certification. This allows for one year to either skip or to make-up an unsuccessful assessment attempt without affecting certification status.  Diplomates are encouraged to use every opportunity to take the online assessment. An unsuccessful result in the last year of a cycle may result in loss of certified status.



Do I need to purchase a study guide for the online assessments?

No, the assessments are designed to identify baseline knowledge.  The rationale provided for each item includes both the reasoning for the expected answer and also additional educational points related to the topic.  Additionally, links to educational resources are provided for those wishing for a deeper dive into the subject matter.



Do I need to do anything regarding Annual Verification of Licensure if my license hasn’t changed?

No, you only need to report your license status if you receive a new license, elect to not renew a license or receive an adverse action against any license.



If I have a non-dated certificate, how will patients know that I am current with my ABPS certification? 

The website has become the primary resource for the most current information regarding a physician’s certification status.  ABPS is acknowledging the times.



How will I know what my current requirements are each year for maintaining my certification?

The ABPS maintains a tracking page for each Diplomate that displays the requirements necessary for each year and links to activities to complete the requirements.  The tracking pages will be adjusted when a Diplomate transitions from a 10-year to a 5-year cycle.



If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact the Board Office at We appreciate your feedback.