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Candidates who have completed the training requirements as outlined are eligible to apply for examination by the Board. Applications are available online. A memorandum will be sent to the program directors to inform residents in their final year of training about the availability of the online application forms. The completed application must be filed online before March 1st of the year in which the candidate plans to take the examination. Physicians who complete their residency training in dermatology by July 1 are eligible to apply to take the examination in August 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.

A candidate is not considered an "active" candidate until his or her application has been received and approved by the Board. This approval includes a review of the application and annual evaluation reports from the candidate's training director. After the application is approved, the candidate is required to take the examination within two years. Candidates who do not exercise the examination privilege within two years of the date that they are declared eligible will be required to file a new application and have their eligibility for examination reviewed by the Requirements Committee. If the reapplication is approved by the Board, the candidate is again eligible to take the examination for another two-year period. It should be noted that candidates who have had an extended lapse in clinical practice or in other activities related to dermatology may be required to submit evidence of their continued involvement with the specialty of dermatology.

The Board does not use the term "Board-eligible" in any correspondence with organizations or individuals who send inquiries to the Board office. On written request by a candidate and payment of a fee, the Board will send the candidate a letter stating his or her status with the Board at any given time.

(An ABMS Maintenance of Certification Program)


Recertification is a process through which a diplomate's credentials, licensure, and professional standing are verified and his or her knowledge is evaluated. The American Board of Dermatology (ABD) began issuing time-limited certificates, valid for ten years, in 1991. The first Recertification examination was administered in 1999.  


The ABD is committed to the conversion of its current process of recertification to a process of maintenance of certification that is consistent with guidelines established by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and with the distinctive nature and elements of the specialty of dermatology. In so doing, the Board will strive to plan and implement maintenance of certification as a fair and credible process that will withstand public and professional scrutiny, will be properly considerate of the concerns and responsibilities of its diplomates and will preserve the high standards of the specialty of dermatology.  


Maintenance of Certification (MOC-D) is a program of education and professional development designed to assess the competence of physicians on an ongoing basis. The Maintenance of Certification-Dermatology 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. For Maintenance of Certification these 6 competencies are placed into 4 areas of assessment:

    1.      Evidence of Professional Standing

2.      Evidence of Commitment to Lifelong-Learning and Periodic Self-Assessment

    3.      Evidence of Cognitive Expertise

4.      Evaluation of Performance in Practice

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

All ABD diplomates certified (primary and subspecialty) or recertified since 2006 have entered the Maintenance of Certification-Dermatology (MOC-D) program.


The American Board of Dermatology has established certification and maintenance of certification processes for the subspecialties of Dermatopathology,Clinical and Laboratory Dermatological Immunology, and Pediatric Dermatology. These subspecialty certifications have been approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties and its 24 member boards. Surveillance and periodic reviews of the training programs are carried out by the respective RRCs (Dermatopathology), under the auspices of the Accreditation Council for Gradute Medical Education (ACGME), and/or by the ABD (Clinical and Laboratory Dermatological Immunology, and Pediatric Dermatology). Although all general dermatology residents receive comprehensive training in each of these subspecialties, candidates who pursue the additional year(s) of training in subspecialty fellowships will have met additional standards and qualifications that will prepare them for specialized careers in teaching, research, and/or the practice of these subspecialties. It is emphasized also that the additional year(s) of training in Clinical and Laboratory Dermatological Immunology and Pediatric Dermatology must be taken after the candidate has met the full training requirements for certification in the primary specialty of Dermatology. Similarly, the additional year(s) of training in Dermatopathology must be taken after the candidate has met the full training requirements for certification in the primary specialty of Dermatology or Pathology.

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