Advanced Placement Credit Policy

Advanced Placement Credit: United States and Canada

You may be eligible to enter training with up to 12 months of advanced placement credit toward certification if you are transferring from a program that is:

  • An ACGME-accredited family medicine training program
  • Another ACGME-accredited specialty training program
  • An American Osteopathic Association (AOA) approved training program
  • A Canadian training program approved by the College of Family Physicians of Canada

This is accomplished through entry into the online RTM system by residency program staff. However, some advanced placement credits will require prior ABFM approval, including:

  • Requests for credit that exceeds 12 months
  • Transfers associated with the closing of a program
  • Transfers involving hardship circumstances
  • Advanced placement credit for international training.

Additional Details Regarding Credits

Before you begin your training, your residency program must advise ABFM of advanced placement credit authorized for prior training through ABFM’s Residency Training Management (RTM) system. Once you begin your training at a defined level, with a specified amount of credit, no additional credit toward certification for previous training will be authorized.

If it is the intention of your program to use a portion of your previous ACGME, AOA, or College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)-accredited postgraduate education to meet residency program requirements, but you will still be completing a full 36 months of education (e.g., applying the prior training to requirements to permit a greater amount of elective time), your program is not required to obtain authorization of credit from ABFM.

If your program recruits you for an entry level PGY-1 position, and you begin training at that level, you will be expected to complete the full residency program of 36 months regardless of the amount of prior training or your performance after entry.

Transfer from one accredited Family Medicine residency program to another after the beginning of the PGY-2 year will be considered only when your program closes or when there is evidence of a hardship. A hardship is defined as a medical condition or injury of an acute but temporary nature, or the existence of a threat to the integrity of the resident’s family, which impedes or prohibits the resident from making satisfactory progress toward the completion of the residency program’s requirements. In considering such transfers, ABFM is concerned primarily with the requirements for continuity of care during your second and third years of training as stipulated in the ACGME Program Requirements. All requests must demonstrate the nature and extent of the hardship.

Any change that has not been approved by ABFM and does not meet the requirement for continuity may affect your eligibility for the certification examination.

Advanced Placement Credit: International

If you are an internationally-trained physician with postgraduate training outside of the U.S. or Canada, you may be admitted to an ACGME-accredited Family Medicine program with advanced placement credit of 12 months or less. However, your program must obtain approval from ABFM prior to your entry. Advanced placement credit up to 12 calendar months may be awarded to your PGY-1 year of residency training. ABFM may award credit only for experiences which are equivalent to training in Family Medicine and only in the amount compatible with ACGME program requirements.

You must have completed a minimum of three years of international graduate medical education after receiving your medical degree to be considered for any credit. Requests for international advanced placement credit must include all of the following verifiable supporting documentation:

  • Licensure in the state, province, and/or country of practice
  • The medical school diploma (World Health Organization approved)
  • Documentation of internship and residency training or equivalent including a description of the clinical rotation schedule or the number of months of specialty training completed
  • Specialty and subspecialty certification
  • Receipt of a currently valid Standard ECFMG Certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates