Guidelines for Stating Certification Status

The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is very proud of its diplomates who have achieved Board Certification, Hand Surgery subspecialty certification or recertification and those who are participating in the Maintenance of Certification in Plastic Surgery (MOC-PS®) Program.

Many diplomates include information about their certification status on letterhead, business cards and other materials. Board certification is an important marker of your competence and skill, and the ABPS encourages you to showcase this accomplishment with your patients, your colleagues and the public. We ask that you follow these guidelines throughout your career to accurately state your ABPS certification.

Diplomates of ABPS must accurately state their certification status at all times. This includes descriptions in Curriculum Vitae, advertisements, publications, directories, letterhead and websites.

Diplomates with expired time-limited certification or those whose certification is revoked may not claim Board certification by ABPS and must revise all descriptions of their qualifications accordingly.

When a physician misrepresents certification status, ABPS may notify local credentialing bodies, licensing bodies, law enforcement agencies and others.

Your certification status is reported publicly on the ABPS website and through the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) website. ABMS establishes standards for physician specialty certification for its 24 member boards, including ABPS. Note that ABPS does not authorize the use of its logo by others, so please do not use it in materials concerning your Board certification. However, diplomates participating in the MOC-PS® Program may display the following ABMS Starmark Logo available on the Board’s website when logged in to the physician profile:

StarMark Logo - full for web viewing


ABPS does not mandate the specifics of how diplomates state their certification, except to state that diplomates should not state or imply that they are certified if their certification has expired. If you have multiple certifications by ABMS member boards and allow one of them to lapse, you should revise your public materials (letterhead, business cards, advertisements, websites, etc.) to reflect those certifications that are currently valid.


Once you have successfully passed your initial certification examination or renewed your certification through the MOC-PS® Program, you may represent that you are “ABPS Board Certified in Plastic Surgery, Surgery” (with a sub-specialty certification in Hand Surgery – if applicable) or a “Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery”:


  • John Doe, M.D., ABPS Board Certified in Plastic Surgery


  • John Doe, M.D., a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery


Important: Please be sure to correctly state your certification status in your Medical Licensing Board Profile. In addition, pay close attention to your group practice listings. A blanket statement that everyone in a group is Board certified may be misleading if multiple specialties are listed and some group members are certified in certain specialties and others are not currently certified. ABPS expects that certifications will be listed individually or stated in a way that is not misleading. Aside from accuracy and ABPS requirements, inaccurate statements of certification may create embarrassment or legal issues. ABPS understands that maintaining currency in stating the certification status of groups of physicians may not be easy. We encourage you to work with your colleagues to be sure the certifications you represent to the public are current and accurate.


Refer to the Board's Advertising Policy.

Feel free to contact ABPS whenever you have a question about stating your certification.

Call the Board Office at 215-587-9322, or send an e-mail to