Board certification is a voluntary process that goes above and beyond state licensing requirements for practicing medicine. It is an ongoing commitment by physicians to continuously expand their knowledge in a medical specialty, like pediatrics, or in a subspecialty, such as pediatric hematology-oncology. Once pediatricians are certified, they continue to demonstrate learning through a formal Maintenance of Certification program to remain certified. Therefore, not all pediatricians are board certified.
After physicians graduate from medical school, they enter a three-year accredited residency training program focused on pediatrics. After residency, some pediatricians also go on to complete further accredited training in pediatric subspecialty fellowship programs, while others enter into general pediatric practice. After completion of training, the training program director verifies to the ABP that the candidate is competent in all aspects of the practice of pediatrics (medical knowledge, patient care, communication skills, practice improvement, professionalism, and understanding how the medical system works). Once the ABP has received evidence of these competencies, the candidate is eligible to sit for the initial certifying examination of the ABP. Upon passing this exam, the candidate is awarded the title “Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics” and is designated as “board-certified”. You might see the certificate from the ABP hanging in your pediatrician’s office.