Certification Examination Details

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How to Apply to Take the Certification Examination
To apply, log in to the restricted portion of the website using your user name and password, click on Residents & Fellows (at the top of the page), then select EXAMS from the right margin, followed by CERTIFICATION EXAM APPLICATION. 

Application Fee
The application fee is $2,500 and can be paid by check or credit card. American Express, Discover, Master Card, or VISA are accepted.

Application/Fee Deadline
March 1

Required application supporting documentation

1. Copy of currently valid, full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada. If you still have your educational license and do not yet have an unrestricted license, you will be allowed to take the examination and will receive your results, but are required to send us a copy of your new unrestricted license (showing an expiration date post-dating the exam) immediately upon receipt. You will receive your certificate after we receive a copy of your license.

2. Submission of online final year evaluation form signed by resident, and approved by program director. Note that your program director is also required to approve your application for the examination. The deadline for signed and approved evaluations is May 15. 

Seat Reservation
After your application is received and processed by the ABD, you will be assigned an examination date. Within 2-4 weeks of submitting your application, you will receive a request from the ABD to confirm your seat reservation for the exam. To confirm your seat at the exam center in Tampa, FL, return to the website and log in, using your user name and password. Next, click Residents & Fellows (at the top of the page), then select EXAMS from the right margin, followed by CERTIFICATION EXAM CONFIRMATION

Certificate Name
Confirm how your name should appear on your certificate by completing the form on the CERTIFICATE NAME screen. To access this screen, log in to our website, click MY ACCOUNT (directly below your name, on the right margin of the screen), followed by CERTIFICATE NAME.

A memorandum will be sent to program directors to inform residents in their final year of training about the availability of the online application forms. Physicians who complete their residency training in dermatology by July 1 are eligible to apply to take the examination in July of the same year. Under the special conditions described under Guidelines for Determining Adequacy of Clinical Training, candidates completing additional (make-up) training before September 1 may also be eligible to apply to take the certifying examination. It is emphasized that it is the candidate's responsibility to submit a completed application form online if he or she plans to take the certifying examination of the Board. Requests by candidates for special accommodations for the certifying examination must be received in the Board office by March 1st as well.

Examination Details

When: Please refer to the ABD Calendar

Where: American Board of Pathology Testing Center
            4830 W. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 690
            Tampa, FL 33609

What: The certifying examination in dermatology is administered in a single day (8 hour exam) comprised of two sections:

Examination in Dermatopathology:

In this section, candidates are questioned on 36 glass histopathologic slides that they examine on microscopes provided by the Board. Additional cases may be presented by virtual microscopy. This section of the examination encompasses the entire spectrum of dermatopathology.

Written Multiple Choice Examination in Dermatology:

This 300-question section tests the candidate's knowledge of the basic science and clinical aspects of dermatology, including all the related disciplines. Some questions have images associated with them. Topics in this part of the examination lnclude: clinical dermatology, pediatric dermatology, preventive dermatology, entomology, epidemiology, dermatopathology, cutaneous allergy and immunology, dermatologic surgery, cutaneous oncology, sexually transmitted diseases, internal medicine as it pertains to dermatology, medical ethics, photobiology and cutaneous microbiology as well as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, physical therapy, pharmacology and genetics, as related to dermatology. Considerable emphasis is placed on comprehensive knowledge of the literature.

Images used include photographs of patients, diagrams and illustrative drawings and pictures of histopathologic sections or surgical technquies, Tzanck preparations, skin scrapings and smears, histochemical and fluorescent photo-micrographs, drawings or photographs of organisms, including viruses, rickettsiae, bacteria and parasites that affect the skin.

Candidates must answer multiple choice type questions covering dermatologic surgical areas including, but not limited to, basic and advanced cutaneous surgery and repair, Mohs micrographic surgery, anesthesia, hair transplantation, lasers, dermabrasion, sclerotherapy, liposuction, chemical peels, tissue augmentation, and anatomy as it relates to dermatologic surgery.

For the 2015 certifying examination, the content distribution is as follows: basic science, 10%; dermatopathology, 18%; general dermatology, 41%; pediatric dermatology, 11%; and surgical dermatology, 19%.  

The results of the examination are reported as a single Pass/Fail score. Unsuccessful candidates who continue to seek certification will be required to reapply and repeat the entire examination. Candidates are eligible to re-take the certifying examination within five years after completion of residency training, or until 2016 if the physician completed training prior to 2012. Notification of performance on the examination will be emailed to candidates approximately 6-8 weeks following the final day of the examination.

Sample Proctor's Manual
Click here to read a sample of the ABD's proctor's manual, used during the administration of the Certification Exam in Tampa, FL. This guide is provided to offer candidates insight into the exam-day process. If you have questions concerning the information in this guide, please contact the ABD office.

Attached to the building housing the test facility is the InterContinental Hotel Tampa (4860 W. Kennedy Blvd.). Reservations can be made by calling 800-235-4670 or 813-286-4400.  Another hotel option (approximately 6-8 block away), at the opposite side of  the WestShore Plaza, is the Embassy Suites Tampa Airport/Westshore   (813-875-1555).

Airport Shuttle
Tampa International Airport is located approximately 3 miles (10-20 min.) from the ABP testing site. Taxi service is readily available and there is a complimentary airport shuttle to both hotels.

Please see also: General Rules, Regulations and Information For All Examinations

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)

Our Mission

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