As the field of dermatology changes—with medical information and treatment options advancing—the American Board of Dermatology (ABD) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program helps to ensure that board-certified dermatologists are apprised of the latest developments and serves as a mechanism to attest to your efforts.
For the public, our goal is to ensure high standards of practice of ABD diplomates and assure that certified dermatologists have maintained their cognitive skills and kept up-to-date with new developments in the field.
For all practicing dermatologists, our goal is to provide valuable experiences for learning and practice improvement, by developing instruments for completing MOC requirements that are relevant, simple, low cost and user-friendly.
The ABD has made many changes to simplify MOC. For more details see What’s New in MOC.
For more details about all the above MOC Requirements, see MOC FAQs.
For a list of all options available for completing the various MOC Components, as well as feedback by other diplomates about them, see the MOC Resource Vendor List.
We ask that you verify annually by December 31 that you hold an active license to practice medicine or osteopathy in the United States or Canada and that there have been no adverse actions against any of the licenses you hold in the United States or Canada. Adverse actions against any state license you hold are reported to the ABD via the Disciplinary Action Notification Service (DANS) of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
In addition, we ask that you tell us annually whether or not you are clinically active. "Clinically Active" is defined as any amount of direct and/or consultative patient care, compensated or uncompensated, that has been provided in the preceding 12 months. If you check the box on your MyMOC Table or MyMOC List that you are not clinically active, you will be asked to contact the ABD. An ABD staff member will discuss the implications and provide information about how you can maintain your Board certification. For details, please see our Clinically Inactive Policy.
For more details, see MOC FAQs: Professional Standing.
Each year, you are responsible for attesting to having earned a minimum of 25 hours of Category I CME. Half of the credits must be within the physician's specialty area or practice (i.e., 50% in dermatology). These hours should be accumulated in dermatologic education, but hours directly related to your type of practice are acceptable. For example, CME related to internal medicine would be acceptable if your practice is primarily a hospital-based consultation practice. Ethics, office management, and physician-patient relations are appropriate subjects for CME, but are not considered specialty-specific education.
For more details, see MOC FAQs: Continuous Medical Education (CME).
If you participate in the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Transcript Program, your AAD-sponsored and self-reported CME and Self-Assessment credits can be automatically transferred to your ABD MOC Table. To activate this data sharing for your profile, you must provide your consent on the AAD’s website: AAD.org --> Education --> CME Transcript Program --> View/Edit Transcript --> Change/View My Privacy Status.
Patient Safety Exercise:
We have simplified the Patient Safety requirement.
A foundational patient safety course or equivalent learning experience must be performed only once in a diplomate’s career, either before or within the first two years of MOC participation. Approved options for completing this have been greatly expanded and now include:
- The existing online AAD Patient Safety Module
- The 2-Part CME Patient Safety Article published in the J Am Acad Dermatol in August, 2009. (Elston DM et al 2009 Part I; Elston DM et al 2009, Part II)
- An ACGME Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER)-approved patient safety curriculum during dermatology residency
- A patient safety course or curriculum completed in medical school
- A patient safety module performed for state licensure or hospital credentialing or employment
- Attendance at a live patient safety education session such as a specialty society CME course or symposium that has the objectives of broadly covering a range of dermatology patient safety topics
- Participation in any other ABD-approved foundational patient safety activity
Thereafter, fulfilling a new, streamlined PI activity every 10 years (once in each diplomate’s MOC cycle) will satisfy this requirement.
See the MOC Resource Vendor List for suggested resources for fulfilling this requirement.
For more details, see MOC FAQs: Patient Safety .
The Self-Assessment portion of MOC emphasizes learning based on self-assessment. The activities address relevant medical knowledge, ongoing advances, and competencies in our specialty, based on practice gaps identified within dermatology. In order to “meet MOC requirements” you will need to complete 100 self-assessment credits in Years 1-3, 4-6 and 7-10 of the 10-year cycle, for a total of 300 credits in the 10-year cycle.
There are many options for fulfilling the Periodic Self-Assessment (SA) requirement, including:
Journals: CUTIS, JAAD, and JAMA Dermatology SA activities
Meetings: ABD-approved SA sessions at local, regional, and national dermatology society meetings
Online: AAD Question of the Week, AAD Case Challenges, and ABD Focused Practice Improvement exercises
See the MOC Resource Vendor List for suggested resources for fulfilling this requirement.
For more details, see MOC FAQs: Periodic Self-Assessment.
If you need assistance or have additional questions, please contact the ABD office.
These activities are an opportunity to reflect on what might be improved in the care you deliver, whether organized around a specific disease or an important patient care function (such as improved access to health care, improved patient outcomes or an improved patient experience).
One QI activity must be completed in the first 5 years of each 10-year MOC cycle and another in the second 5 years of the cycle.
The American Board of Dermatology has a library of more than 40 Focused Practice Improvement exercises for diplomates to use to fulfill this requirement, available on the MOC Educational Portal. Additional Focused PI exercises are under development. There is not a fee for these exercises; the cost is covered under the annual MOC fee. For more details, click here.
Other activities offered by the ABD:
Online BCC Registry
Patient Communication Survey *
Peer Comminucation Survey *
* Please note that surveys, formerly required, are now optional.
The ABD also participates in the Multi-Specialty Portfolio Program which grants institutional approval to conduct Component 4 Practice Assessment/Quality Improvement activities. If you practice in one of the approved institutions, you may wish to determine whether you can access such a resource.
Resources are also offered by the AAD to complete the Practice Improvement activity requirement. For more details, click here.
For more details, see MOC FAQs: Practice Improvement (PI).
Once per 10-year cycle, you will need to take and pass a closed-book proctored examination administered by the ABD. The examination is clinically-oriented and is representative of the challenges presented by individual patients seen in the clinical practice of dermatology. The exam does not replicate the original certifying examination. Exam questions are developed by clinical dermatologists in both academic and private practice in conjunction with the volunteer ABD Directors. The examination is administered at Pearson VUE testing centers near your home or office, or via remote proctoring.
The examination consists of two modules. Everyone must take and pass a general dermatology module that consists of 100 clinical images followed by a question asking for the most likely diagnosis among 5 possible choices. A list of diagnoses from which the images will be chosen is available within the MOC Question Pool portion of our website at least 6 months in advance of the examination.
Passing a second module is also required. Choices include medical dermatology, dermatopathology, surgical dermatology and pediatric dermatology. This second module consists of 50 questions taken from a published set of 100 questions available within the MOC Question Pool portion of our website. These questions are a mix of images and written questions all in the "one-best-answer" format.
There is no MOC examination fee for maintaining primary certification in dermatology; the cost is covered by the annual MOC fee.
If you hold certification in a subspecialty, you will need to take an additional module in that subspecialty. There is an examination fee for the subspecialty exam module.
Once you enter MOC, you may take the examination at any time during years 3-10 of the MOC cycle. By Year 10 of your MOC cycle, you will need to pass the examination in order to remain certified.
If you take and pass the examination early, no more than 12 years may elapse before taking and passing the examination again. Your MOC table needs to be completely up-to-date for you to take the MOC recertification examination or receive your new certificate. Passing the examination early does not mean that you begin the next 10-year MOC cycle early. You will enter the next 10-year cycle only when your current certificate expires. New certificates are mailed when your current certificate expires. (For example, if you take and pass the examination in 2018 but your certificate does not expire until 2020, you will not receive your new certificate until December, 2020.)
For more details, see MOC FAQs: MOC Examination.
The ABD is developing a longitudinal assessment as an alternative to the traditional MOC exam. A pilot to test this new type of assessment is planned for 2019.
Annual MOC Fee
Each year, the ABD will send you a reminder via email about the MOC $150 program fee that is due by December 31st of that year in order to "meet MOC requirements."
To view a summary of what your annual $150 pays for, see Where Do Your Fees Go?
For additional details, see MOC FAQS: Annual Fees.