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About Board Certification

Richard J. Baron, MD ABIM President and CEO shares the history of ABIM Certification.

ABIM certification sets you apart and demonstrates to your peers and patients that you are an expert physician in your discipline. Research indicates that ABIM Board Certified physicians make fewer diagnostic errors, are more likely to adhere to recommended guidelines, have lower mortality rates in their patients and are current in their medical knowledge.

What Does ABIM Require for Certification?

  • A state medical license in  good standing, with no restrictions

  • Successful completion of a residency in the area in which the physician would like to specialize

  • Passing the Internal Medicine Certification Examination Read our Policies and Procedures 

Terms Explained

MOC = Maintenance of Certification

MOC provides board certified physicians with a structured pathway to demonstrate they are staying current in the medical knowledge they use to treat patients and make important care decisions daily. Once you pass the initial certification assessment, you must participate in MOC to stay certified.


CME = Continuing Medical Education

CME is the process by which health professionals engage in activities designed to support their continuing professional development. It can include attending conferences and seminars, taking classes or participating in Regularly Schedule Series or Grand Rounds.


What’s the difference between MOC and CME?

CME is required for licensure, MOC is required for certification.

MOC requires demonstration that knowledge has been gained. While some educational activities for physicians count for both CME and MOC, the standards for MOC generally remain more stringent as board certification is a higher standard of demonstrated knowledge than licensure.


What is the difference between licensure and certification?

Licensure is required by law to practice medicine in a specific state and is issued by the state medical board. Certification is not required to practice medicine, but board certification is required by many hospitals and health care systems because it shows physicians are committed to continued learning and evaluation.

You Are a Part of Something Big!

ABIM supports more than 200,000 board certified physicians through: