MOC Overview and History


Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is a program of educational and professional development designed to assess the competence of physicians on an ongoing basis throughout their professional career. The MOC program is based on the 6 general competencies identified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the ABMS: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice. The 6 competencies are represented in the 4 components of MOC:

  1. Evidence of Professional Standing:
    • License attestation
  2. Evidence of Commitment to Lifelong-Learning and Periodic Self-Assessment:
    • CME attestation
    • Periodic self-assessment of general knowledge
  3. Evidence of Cognitive Expertise:
    • Cognitive examination
  4. Evaluation of Performance in Practice:
    • Practice assessment/Quality Improvement
    • Patient or Peer communication surveys (optional)

MOC and You

If you certified before 1991, you hold a lifetime certificate and participation in MOC is entirely voluntary. If you hold a lifetime certificate, it cannot be revoked based upon your performance on a MOC examination that you have taken voluntarily or if you decide not to pursue all elements of the MOC program.

If you certified in or after 1991, you were issued a time-limited certificate.* Certificates issued during the period 1991-2005 were renewable by a process called “recertification”. Beginning in 2006, all time-limited certificates, whether for initial certification or for ongoing certification, are renewed through the MOC program. Diplomates with time-limited certificates are automatically enrolled in MOC.

For additional information on MOC, please see the MOC FAQs.

*The above timeline applies to dermatology specialty certification. Subspecialty certification in dermatopathology did not become time-limited until 2006.

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/Fax)

Our Mission

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