Steps to Certification

About

What does ABPM do?

The American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM) offers a comprehensive podiatric board qualification and podiatric board certification process in podiatric medicine and orthopedics. Established in 1978, ABPM is the only board recognized by the Joint Committee on the Recognition of Specialty Boards (JCRSB) to provide podiatric board qualification and podiatric board certification in podiatric orthopedics and podiatric medicine, the specialty area that represents a significant portion of care in most podiatric practices.

Board certification provides the assurance to both the public and health professionals that the highest level of achievement has been attained in the specialty area.

While board certification does not guarantee competence in practice, it does indicate that the podiatric physician has been judged by his peers to have demonstrated, via a rigorous examination process, a fund of knowledge and competence in the areas being tested.

How do you become board certified?

Board certification is achieved through a combination of education, residency, experience, and passing both the podiatric board qualification exam (part 1) and the podiatric board certification exam (part 2).

Those who become board certified (credentialed) are required to maintain their board certification through the ABPM Maintenance of Certification Process.

Why is ABPM a valued credential?

Board Certification with the American Board of Podiatric Medicine is a step well beyond the mandatory education or state licensing requirements. Since its inception in 1978, ABPM’s goal has been to protect the health and welfare of the public by documenting and testing to a high level of competency. It is critical that the rigor of testing remain strong for a credential to retain respect and trust.

The ABPM Examinations Committee is committed to this goal and maintains the highest standards in developing the podiatric board certification exams. Examination applicants are assessed for the highest level of competency, thus commanding the utmost level of professional confidence and respect in our profession.

The Certificate of ABPM also provides credentialers (hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, insurance panels, or other third party payors) with documents to verify the board status of a particular podiatric physician. ABPM is well respected in the industry as one of the leading certifying boards in the podiatric profession.

Steps to Certification

Obtaining podiatric board certification with a well-established and well-recognized board is becoming increasingly important as hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, insurance carriers, and other managed care organizations look to the highest level of credentialing to participate in their programs or at their facilities.

The Steps to Certification outlines the steps you need to take to achieve ABPM certification. It includes the following requirements:

Education

All ABPM members must have completed both a four-year doctoral training program at one of the nine colleges of podiatric medicine accredited by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME) as well as a comprehensive podiatric medical and surgical residency.

The American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM) is the national organization representing these institutions. The AACPM serves as a resource to students, residents and practitioners by providing direct access to academic institutions; highlighting opportunities for clerkships and residencies; and linking students to mentors that guide their career development.

The Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME) is an autonomous accrediting agency for podiatric medical education. Deriving its authority from the House of Delegates of the American Podiatric Medical Association, the Council develops and adopts standards and policies as necessary to implement all aspects of its accreditation, approval, and recognition purview. This includes:

  • The accreditation of colleges of podiatric medicine, the approval of residency programs and sponsors of continuing education.
  • The recognition of specialty certifying boards for podiatric medical practice.
    • The ABPM is one of only two specialty boards recognized by CPME.

Training

The Council of Teaching Hospitals (COTH) of the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine is made up of over 200 institutions dedicated to excellence in post-graduate medical education through its podiatric residency programs.

After completing a four-year doctoral training program, candidates must have completed either a 36-month or 24-month CPME approved residency to take the ABPM exam.

Candidates who have completed a 24-month residency program must attempt board certification by 2018.

Experience (case documentation)

Submission of case documents is required for candidates with 24-month CPME-approved residency training.

Case documentation represents a key aspect of an applicant’s knowledge, and demonstrates practical experience and exposure in the required clinical areas.

Cases submitted for review will be evaluated with the following goals in mind:

  • Clear and concise documentation, including well-organized diagnostic, evaluative and therapeutic regimens;
  • Examples of interdisciplinary consultation and long-term preventative health care, where appropriate.

See Case Documentation Requirements.

Qualification (Part 1)

Candidates must first successfully pass the board qualification examination as a prerequisite for access to the certification process. Applicants for the qualification examination may apply ONLY at the conclusion of their residency training, or thereafter, as specified below.

With 36-month CPME-approved Residency
PMSR, PM&S-36, PM&S-24 + PPMR/POR
With 24-month CPME-approved Residency
PM&S-24, PSR + PPMR/POR, PPMR + POR
  • Applicants must pass the qualification examination (Part 1) in order to sit for the certification examination (Part 2).
  • Applicants are not required to submit case documentation as a pre-requisite to certification.
  • Applicants must pass the qualification examination (Part 1).
  • Applicants must pass the case review process to sit for the certification examination (Part 2).
  • All applicants must attempt board certification by 2018.

A RPR/PSR training sequence does not fulfill the criteria for application.

Applicants completing their residency training in 2015 or thereafter must take the qualification examination (Part 1) within 5 years of completing their residency training. Failure to attempt the qualification examination within the 5-year time period will render the individual ineligible to participate in the examination process thereafter.

Applicants who attempt but do not pass the qualification examination within the 5-year time frame will be granted an additional 5 years of access to the examination process. However, applicants in their second 5-year time frame must apply for full certification and pass both Part 1 (qualification examination) and Part 2 (certification examination) within the same examination year.

Applicants must achieve certification with ABPM within 10 years from their completion of residency training. Failure to achieve board certification within the 10-year time period will render the individual ineligible to participate in the examination process thereafter.

Certification (Part 2)

With 36-month CPME-approved Residency
PMSR, PM&S-36, PM&S-24 + PPMR/POR
With 24-month CPME-approved Residency
PM&S-24, PSR + PPMR/POR, PPMR + POR
  • Applicants must pass the qualification examination (Part 1) in order to sit for the certification examination (Part 2).
  • Applicants are not required to submit case documentation as a pre-requisite to certification.
  • Applicants must pass the qualification examination (Part 1).
  • Applicants must pass the case review process to sit for the certification examination (Part 2).
  • All applicants must attempt board certification by 2018.

Applicants must achieve board certification with ABPM within 10 years from their completion of residency training*. Failure to achieve board certification within the 10-year time period will render the individual ineligible to participate in the examination process thereafter.

*Applicants who completed residency prior to 2015 should refer to the guidelines set forth in the policy manual.

Applicants who pass Part 1 (qualification examination) and Part 2 (certification examination) must provide evidence of an active license to practice podiatric medicine to be granted board certified classification.

Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

Enrollment in the ABPM Maintenance of Certification program is required of all board certified members holding time-limited certificates (certified in 1994 or thereafter).

Board certified members holding lifetime certificates (1993 and prior) may enroll in the ABPM Maintenance of Certification program voluntarily, but are otherwise obligated to participate in the Self-Assessment Examination once every 10 years only.

The ABPM MOC Program is designed to regularly assess ongoing competency of its members podiatric certification. It has four key components:

  • Maintain an unrestricted medical license.
  • Maintain and report required Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits.
  • Participate in the Self-Assessment Examination once every 10 years.
  • Evaluation of performance in practice through outcome measures and quality improvement programs (case review), and options such as workshops, and/or special interest presentations and/or focused education modules and/or publications.

The MOC Program is designed to facilitate constant improvement in podiatric physicians' abilities, knowledge and skills in the rapidly growing and complex field of podiatric medicine. Through the MOC Program, diplomates are asked to demonstrate their ability to provide high-quality clinical outcomes for their patients through a responsive, patient-focused, medically current setting.

See the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) page for additional information and forms.