General Rules, Regulations and Information for All Examinations

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OVERVIEW

Fees for All Examinations
Candidates with Disabilities
Candidates with Substance Abuse
Certification, CME Award & Revocation
Re-Application after Revocation
Re-Examinations
MOC Fellowship Waiver, Military Waiver and International Medical Graduates
Appeals and Review of Adverse Decisions
Diplomates in MOC Who Are Not Up To Date and At Risk Of Losing Their Certification
Privacy Policy
Explanation of Board Certificate Numbers
Written Verification of Board Certification
Expiration of MOC Certificate

Fees for All Examinations
The Directors of the Board serve without compensation. Fees are based on the actual expenses incurred in administration of the Board office and related activities, and on the costs of development and administration of the Board examinations. 

All fees are payable when the application for an examination is submitted and are applied to the first examination of that type given after approval of the application.

CURRENT FEES
In-Training Examination
(deadline Nov. 15):
   US/Canadian residents:  $100.00
   All others:                        $150.00 

Certifying Examination in Dermatology/Re-Examination (deadline Mar. 1):   $2,500.00 

MOC/Recertification SPRING Examination
(deadline Mar 15):  NO FEE (if currently enrolled in MOC)
                                                                                          $900.00 if not enrolled in MOC

MOC/Recertification FALL Examination (deadline Aug 15):  NO FEE (if currently enrolled in MOC)
                                                                                          $900.00 if not enrolled in MOC

Initial Dermatopathology Subcertification Examination (deadline May 15):   $1,800.00 

Recertification of Dermatopathology Subcertification Examination (deadline Nov. 1):  
$100.00 (if enrolled in MOC, or if synching subcertification with primary certification)
$450.00 (if not in MOC and NOT synching with primary certification)

Initial Pediatric Dermatology Subcertification Examination (deadline June 1):  $1,600.00 

Recertification of Pediatric Dermatology Subcertification Examination (deadline Nov. 1):    
$100.00 (if enrolled in MOC, or if synching subcertification with primary certification)
$450.00 (if not in MOC and NOT synching with primary certification)

MOC Annual Fee (deadline Dec. 31):   $150.00

OTHER FEES
Call the ABD office for details

Rescoring of an examination:  $35.00 (within 30 days of release of exam results)

Request for verification of certification:  $35.00 

Replacement certificate:   $75.00

Checks returned for insufficient funds: $35.00 

All checks are to be made payable to The American Board of Dermatology, Inc. The Board also accepts credit card payments (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express). Contact the Board office for details.

The ABD has a no refund policy. The Board retains an administrative fee of $150.00, and will refund the balance to the candidate only if a candidate's application is disapproved for any examination.

If a candidate withdraws within ten (10) days of an examination or fails to appear for the examination and does not provide verifiable evidence of extenuating circumstances that prevented the candidate from appearing for the examination, the candidate will forfeit their entire examination fee. On reapplying, such candidates will be required to again submit the examination fee in effect at the time of the application. Candidates must notify the Board office in writing regarding all withdrawals from examination. Withdrawals will not be accepted by phone. If a candidate withdraws prior to ten (10) days of the examination, the entire fee will be carried over to the following year for one examination only.

Candidates who do not successfully pass the certifying exam in Dermatology or the subspecialty examinations retain the right to reapply, submit the examination fee in effect at the time of the application, and retake the examination in any subsequent year, within 5 years of completing their residency training. Please refer to our Re-Examinations section for full details. 

Candidates who do not successfully pass the Maintenance of Certification examination must reapply to retake the examination and submit the examination fee in effect at the time of the application.

For further information concerning Board policy in effect and for the applicable examination fee, write or call the ABD office (617-910-6400).

All correspondence should be sent to:
Thomas D. Horn, MD, MBA - Executive Director
American Board of Dermatology, Inc.
2 Wells Avenue
Newton, MA 02459
Tel: 617-910-6400
abderm@hfhs.org

Candidates with Disabilities

The American Board of Dermatology adheres to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, therefore, will provide or allow the use of necessary auxiliary aids, services or testing conditions that do not fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge the Board assessment program is intended to test. In order to implement this policy, notification of the need for special testing circumstances must be submitted in writing to the American Board of Dermatology by a candidate prior at the time that he/she submits the application for the Board’s examination. This deadline is necessary in order to allow the Board to request the required documentation, to review the records and to verify the disability, if necessary.

Candidates with Substance Abuse

A candidate with chemical dependency or substance abuse will not be permitted to take the examination unless he/she can submit evidence, which must be verifiable, that the disorder is being treated and is under control. Individuals with such problems or a history thereof must provide the necessary documentation at the time of application to take the examination. A confirmatory letter from a licensed physician within one month of the examination stating that the disorder no longer exists or is currently controlled is also necessary.

Certification, CME Award & Revocation

After meeting the requirements and passing the examination, the candidate will be awarded a certificate which acknowledges that he or she has completed the required course of graduate study and clinical training, has met other required specific standards and qualifications, and has passed the examination conducted by the Board. The candidate is then referred to as a Diplomate of The American Board of Dermatology The names of diplomates of the Board appear in The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists, available online at www.abms.org as well as published by Saunders Elsevier in cooperation with the American Board of Medical Specialties. The certificate is issued for a 10-year period. Renewal is subject to successful completion of Maintenance of Certification requirements.

Individuals who successfully complete an ABD certifying, subspecialty, or recertification/MOC examination will automatically receive 60 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 CME credit.

The ABD has contracted with the AMA to offer this credit in order to assist diplomates in fulfilling licensure and MOC requirements. The AMA will send you a certificate for this credit after we notify you of your successful completion of the examination.

Each certificate is subject to revocation or suspension in the event that

(a) the diplomate was not eligible to receive the certificate, whether or not the facts concerning ineligibility were known to the Board at the time that the time certificate was issued;
(b) the diplomate has made any material misrepresentation or omission in the application for certification or in any other statement to the Board or has failed in timely fashion to supplement any response to any question on any application for certification or recertification with respect to criminal conduct, loss or suspension of a medical license, medical staff privileges, or medical society membership;
(c) the diplomate is convicted of, or pleads nolo contendere to a crime, which in the judgment of the Board relates to the practice of medicine;
(d) the diplomate fails to complete the dermatology maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements in a timely fashion and fails to make an effort to engage in the MOC process or to communicate with the ABD about the reasons for delay;
(e) the diplomate is found to have engaged in conduct which, in the judgment of the Board,

(i) reflects unethical activity relating to the practice of medicine, or
(ii) casts signficant doubt on the ability of the diplomate to practice medicine in the best interests of patients; or

(f) the diplomate is found by the Board to have

(i) engaged in irregular behavior in connection with the examination,
(ii) had a license to practice medicine revoked or suspended,
(iii) been expelled from a medical society for reasons other than non-payment of dues or failure to attend meetings,
(iv) has had medical staff privileges revoked or suspended for reasons relating to the practice of medicine,
(v) taken other action reasonably deemed by the Board to be inconsistent with diplomate status, or
(vi) willfully and materially violated any rule or policy of the Board, or

(g) the diplomate is uncooperative with the Board, particularly in failing to respond to multiple communications from the Board regarding certification, recertification, maintenance of certification, or licensure actions.

Re-Application after Revocation

A physician whose board certification or recertification has been revoked may apply for reinstatement as a Diplomate when the physician believes that the circumstances underlying the Board’s action have been satisfactorily resolved. The physician shall apply by providing a written statement setting forth in detail the changes in circumstances. The Board shall consider such statement and determine whether to reinstate the physician’s certification. The physician shall be promptly notified of the Board’s decision. The appeals process of the Board is described in Appeals and Review of Adverse Decisions.

Re-Examinations

Certification Exam
With their initial examination application, candidates have a five-year period during which they may take the examination or any necessary re-examination. For a re-examination, candidates must notify the Board office by March 1 of the year they plan to retake the examination.

Residents who complete an approved dermatology residency will not be permitted to take the certifying examination later than five years following the completion of their training. Physicians who completed dermatology residency training prior to 2012 will not be permitted to take the certifying examination after December 31, 2016. A dermatologist who has not met these requirements may not claim to be “board eligible” unless the American Board of Dermatology determines that that physician has been prevented from taking the examination within the applicable five year period by military deployment or by catastrophic illness. If either of these situations exists, a dermatologist wishing to claim to be “board eligible” or wishing to take the examination after the expiration of the five year period may be granted a one or two year deferral by making application to the Board. The decision to grant or deny a deferral will be at the sole discretion of the Board.

Maintenance of Certification Exam
If the candidate does not successfully complete the MOC process prior to expiration of his/her time-limited certificate, he/she will remain eligible to participate in the process but will cease to be Board-certified until the process is successfully completed and a new time-limited certificate is issued. If the candidate successfully completes the MOC examination before expiration of his/her certificate, e.g., in years 3-10 of the 10-year cycle, the new certificate will be issued for 10 years commencing January 1 of the year immediately following the expiration date of the prior certificate.

Should a diplomate with a time-limited certificate not complete the requirements for MOC by the end of the tenth year, the certificate will expire and the physician will lose diplomate status. Once the certificate has expired, the physician may not represent himself/herself to the profession or the public as being certified until successfully recertified by the American Board of Dermatology. The physician may reapply for a future MOC examination, but must meet all the criteria in effect at that time. 

Diplomates with lifetime certification who choose to take the MOC/Recertification examination will receive a 10-year certificate. Expiration dates on subsequent 10-year certificates will be based on the initial MOC/Recertification certificate expiration date. For example, a diplomate who initially certified in 1980 (lifetime, no expiration date), and elected to take the MOC/Recertification examination in 2002, received a certificate with an expiration date of December 31, 2012. If the diplomate lets that certificate lapse and then takes the MOC/Recertification examination in 2014, the certificate will show an expiration date of December 31, 2022, based on the initial recertification.

MOC Fellowship Waiver, Military Waiver and International Medical Graduates

Fellowship Waiver
Diplomates in a dermatopathology, pediatric dermatology, or procedural dermatology fellowship training program, will be exempt from paying the annual $150 MOC fee, license attestation, and will not be required to report 25 hours of CME for the year in which the fellowship ends, if that fellowship began the year the residency training ended. If there is a gap of at least a year between residency and fellowship, then the $150 fee, license attestation and CME attesation requirement will be waived for the year in which the fellowship starts. A letter of attestation of fellowship status is required from the program director (please submit this electronically to abderm@hfhs.org). After the fellowship is complete, diplomates will be required to obtain 25 hours of CME credits (dermatology related, AAD or AMA approved) per year and begin paying the $150 fee. For example, for diplomates who took the certifying examination in July 2015 and whose fellowship is completed on June 30, 2016, CME accrual begins January 1, 2017 and the MOC annual fee is due December 31, 2017.

Diplomates are required to have a preliminary registration form on file in the ABD office at the beginning of their fellowship year. Contact the ABD office (313-874-1088) to verify that the fellowship and waiver are recorded in your profile.

Military Waiver
Military personnel with time-limited certificates who are serving overseas and unable to complete the maintenance of certification process before expiration of their certificate, will receive an extension and be allowed to take the examination at the next available opportunity upon their return from overseas duty.

Military personnel will be exempt from paying the annual $150 MOC fee, license attestation, and will not be required to collect 25 hours CME for one year during the time they are serving overseas.

International Medical Graduates
International medical graduates with expiring time-limited ABD certificates can take the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) examination. However, without a full, valid, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or osteopathy in either the United States or Canada, a certificate will not be issued. They will receive a formal letter stating that they successfully passed the MOC examination.

Appeals and Review of Adverse Decisions

The American Board of Dermatology recognizes a candidate's right of appeal following an adverse action at any stage of the certification process. Within the residency program, trainees must be accorded due process in compliance with provisions established by the parent institution and as stipulated in the Essentials of Accredited Residencies in Graduate Medical Education, (effective July 1, 1992) of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Any candidate for initial certification (primary specialty or subspecialty) or maintenance of certification shall be given prompt written notice of any adverse decision by the Board. Such notice shall briefly state the reason for the adverse decision. It shall advise whether or not the candidate has a right to appeal the decision and shall include a copy of this document.

A candidate found to have engaged in cheating or other irregular behavior in connection with an examination may appeal the Board's finding, any consequent invalidation of the candidate's examination and any disbarment from future examinations. Such appeal must be received in the Board office within 30 days of mailing the notification of the finding by the Board.

A. APPEALABLE DECISIONS
1. Request for Appeal
Any physician (a) whose credentials for eligibility to sit for an ABD examination have not been approved, or (b) who has been denied certification for a reason other than receipt of a failing grade on the examination, or (c) whose certification or maintenance of certification has been revoked, or (d) whose application for reinstatement has been denied, shall have a right to appeal the adverse decision by submitting a written request for appeal in compliance with this policy on Review of Adverse Decisions. Such request must contain a concise statement of why the physician believes that the adverse decision was improper, must include any supporting material that the physician wishes to have considered, and must be received in the Office of the Board within 30 days after the date of the Board's notice of an adverse decision. The request may also include a request for a hearing. If a proper request for appeal is not received within 30 days, the adverse decision shall constitute the final decision of the Board
2. Review by Appeals Committee
Each proper and timely request for appeal will be reviewed by an Appeals Committee consisting of three individuals appointed by the President of the ABD. No member of the Appeals Committee shall have participated in the adverse decision under review unless that decision was made by the full Board of Directors. The Appeals Committee, after reviewing the request for appeal, shall either (a) affirm, reverse, or modify the adverse decision or (b) grant a hearing if one has been requested and the Committee determines that a hearing might be useful.

If the Appeals Committee determines that a hearing might be useful, it shall schedule a hearing within 60 days after that determination. Not less than 30 days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing, the Appeals Committee shall notify the physician in writing of the date, time, and place of the hearing. The Appeals Committee, at its sole discretion, may determine whether legal counsel for the physician may be present at the hearing and the extent to which such counsel may participate.

The physician's written intent to appear at the hearing must be received in the Office of the Board not later than 14 days before the scheduled date of the hearing. A physician who chooses to appear shall be given the opportunity to make a statement summarizing his/her position. The Appeals Committee shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence usually employed in legal proceedings, but may consider any evidence it deems appropriate. A record of the proceedings shall be kept. A copy of the hearing record shall be made available to the physician upon payment of the cost of reproduction. All expenses incurred by the physician in connection with the hearing shall be borne by the physician.

Following the hearing, the Appeals Committee shall determine whether to affirm, reverse, or modify the adverse decision. The physician shall be promptly notified in writing of the action of the Appeals Committee and the reason for the action. The Committee's action in affirming, reversing, or modifying the adverse decision shall be subject only to ratification by the Board of Directors.

3. Review by the Board of Directors

The action of the Appeals Committee shall be reviewed no later than the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall ratify the action of the Appeals Committee unless it finds that action to have been arbitrary, unreasonable, or not sustained by the record. The physician shall be promptly notified of the Board's decision. The decision of the Board of Directors shall constitute the final action of the Board on the matter.

B. NON-APPEALABLE DECISIONS
1. Decisions by Residency Program or Program Director
Decisions by a physician's Residency Program, Program Director, or sponsoring institution regarding credit for training or any other matter shall not be appealable to the Board. Any disagreement by a physician with such decisions should be communicated to the Residency Program, Program Director, or sponsoring institution. The Board will not second-guess judgments of these entities. However, the physician may contact the Board to determine what further steps, if any, may be available.

2. Decisions Based on Failure of a Certifying Examination

Adverse decisions based on a physician's receipt of a failing grade on an ABD examination shall not be appealable. Instead, the physician may, within 30 days after the mailing of the examination results, request rescoring of the examination by hand. Such request must be accompanied by payment of a fee of $35. Upon receipt of a proper and timely request for rescoring, the Board shall have the examination rescored by hand. It shall communicate the rescored results to the physician promptly after receiving those results.

Diplomates in MOC Who are Not Up To Date and At Risk of Losing Their Certification

The ABD office will send certified notices in January of years 8, 9 & 10 to diplomates with time-limited certification whose MOC program is not up to date. The notice will serve as a reminder that if their MOC program remains incomplete at the end of the 10th year their status as an ABD certified dermatologist will be discontinued. All components of MOC must be complete in order to be re-certified and begin the next 10 year MOC cycle.

Diplomates who are not up to date by the end of the 10th year of MOC due to extenuating circumstances and who can complete all remaining MOC requirements in an additional six months, may apply to ABD for a one-time extension, giving an explanation for the delay to ABD. 

If the extension is approved by ABD, the diplomate must complete all remaining components of the first 10 year cycle during that six month period. If their MOC program remains incomplete at the end of the six month extension the diplomate will no longer be certified. 

Successful completion of all components of MOC by the end of the six month extension will not result in a delay of the next 10 year MOC cycle. Requirements for completing all components of the next 10 year MOC cycle must be completed without delay. Therefore, in addition to completing all delinquent components during the six month extension, the requirements of year one for the next MOC cycle must be completed in that same calendar year.

Privacy Policy

The American Board of Dermatology will collect mail and email addresses in order to communicate with individuals and notify them of important information relating to examinations, registration, certification, maintenance of certification, and other ABD activities that may affect them. The ABD will not disclose personal information to any third parties, except when required by law or as described below for the American Board of Medical Specialties, Pearson VUE testing centers, Arbet Consulting (for exam scoring) and the American Academy of Dermatology. ABD does not share personal information about its applicants or diplomates with companies or third parties outside of ABD for marketing purposes. 

Upon certification and recertification, ABD provides basic biographical and demographic diplomate data to the American Board of Medical Specialties, including social security numbers, which publishes The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists. The ABMS will directly contact diplomates regarding the publication of diplomate information in its directory. ABD diplomates will communicate directly to the ABMS the personal information that they wish to appear in the directory.

For identification purposes, ABD also provides basic biographic and demographic data to Arbet Consulting (the ABD examination and psychometric organization) and Pearson VUE testing centers regarding candidates taking ABD examinations.

The ABD also shares personal information such as mail and email addresses with the American Academy of Dermatology to help maintain currency and accuracy of diplomate records and so that the AAD can provide materials to diplomates that are designed to assist them in remaining current in their specialty.

(Updated February 2011)

Explanation of Board Certificate Numbers

Prior to 2003, the American Board of Dermatology did not use certificate numbers. Dermatologists certified before 2003 who are completing forms for hospitals, government agencies, etc. should answer questions relating to a certificate number as "Not Applicable".

Written Verification of Board Certification

The American Board of Dermatology provides written verification of Board status for a fee of $35. Send a check or money order (payable to the American Board of Dermatology), signed release from the physician in question, and the address to whom the verification should be sent, to:

American Board of Dermatology, Inc.
2 Wells Avenue
Newton, MA 02459

The ABD also accepts payment by credit card (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or VISA). Send credit card number, expiration date, billing address, and name as it appears on the card to the address above.

If you do not require written verification, the American Board of Medical Specialties provides web listings and verbal verification of Board certification. You may call 1-866-ASK-ABMS (275-2267) to receive verbal verification.

Expiration of MOC Certificate

If the candidate does not successfully complete the MOC process prior to expiration of his/her time-limited certificate, he/she will remain eligible to participate in the process but will cease to be Board-certified until the process is successfully completed and a new time-limited certificate is issued. If the candidate successfully completes the MOC process before expiration of his/her certificate, e.g., in year 8, 9 or 10 of the 10-year cycle, the new certificate will be issued for 10 years commencing January 1 of the year immediately following the expiration date of the prior certificate.

Should a diplomate with a time-limited certificate not complete the requirements for MOC by the end of the tenth year, the certificate will expire and the physician will lose diplomate status. Once the certificate has expired, the physician may not represent himself/herself to the profession or the public as being certified until successfully recertified by the American Board of Dermatology. The physician may reapply for a future MOC examination, but must meet all the criteria in effect at that time.

Diplomates with lifetime certification who choose to take the MOC/Recertification examination will receive a 10-year certificate. Expiration dates on subsequent 10-year certificates will be based on the initial MOC/Recertification certificate expiration date. For example, a diplomate who initially certified in 1980 (lifetime, no expiration date), and elected to take the MOC/Recertification examination in 2002, received a certificate with an expiration date of December 31, 2012. If the diplomate lets that certificate lapse and then takes the MOC/Recertification examination in 2014, the certificate will show an expiration date of December 31, 2022, based on the initial recertification.

Contact Us

American Board of Dermatology
2 Wells Avenue
Newton, Massachusetts 02459
Office Hours: Mon-Fri,
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET
(617) 910-6400 (Phone)
abderm@hfhs.org

Our Mission

To serve the public and profession by setting high standards for dermatologists to earn and maintain Board certification.