Become Certified

Demonstrate to your patients and the public that you are committed to maintaining the higher standard of care throughout your career. Click the button below to learn more about the value of ABFM Board Certification!

At-A-Glance

Established by family physicians, board certification is a voluntary specialty credential beyond state medical licensure requirements.  As the mark of excellence, board certification demonstrates to your patients and the public that you have met specific family medicine residency training requirements and that you are committed to maintaining this high standard throughout your entire career. It demonstrates your professional and personal commitment to meeting the standards of ethics set by your peers, and to lifelong learning, continuous improvement, and assessments of knowledge.

The American Board of Family Medicine is home to more than 100,000 board-certified family physicians and has more than 50 years of experience providing certification. When you become a Diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine (DABFM), you receive the following benefits:

  • National recognition by employers, insurers, hospitals, peers, patients, and the public
  • Support of self-regulation with the specialty of family medicine
  • Access to a broad range of the most up-to-date assessment activities to support your lifelong learning
  • Distinguished expertise from non-certified physicians and other clinicians

Family Medicine Certification

Family medicine certification consists of four foundational components which board-certified family physicians are required to continuously demonstrate to maintain their certification.

Professionalism

Designed to assess professional standing, family physicians seeking board certification are subject to compliance with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct (Guidelines) and general adherence to professional standards while in residency training.

Self-Assessment

Designed to help family physicians identify gaps in knowledge through regular participation in self-assessment activities, this component enhances medical skills by reviewing the most up-to-date clinical content.

Performance Improvement

Designed to support high quality patient care, this component will help family physicians regularly identify an improvement opportunity or a performance gap, implement a change in care delivery, and measure the impact of that change to their patients or their practice.

Cognitive Expertise

Designed to regularly assess and measure clinical knowledge, the Family Medicine Certification Examination (one-day exam) serves to assure the public that you are up to date and aware of the best practices in medical care across the wide spectrum of illnesses treated by family physicians.


Initial Certification Process

The process for becoming a board-certified family physician begins with a set of initial education and training requirements. Depending on where you are in your medical career, we offer specific pathways to obtain initial certification.

The initial certification process ends when you have successfully completed all certification entry process requirements as defined by your specific pathway, including passing the initial certification exam, receiving program verification, and obtaining an active, full, and valid medical license. You will then begin participation in the continuous certification process, which includes completing ongoing requirements similar to the initial certification process.


Board Eligibility

The seven-year board eligibility period begins the day after the successful completion of an ACGME-accredited family medicine residency training program. Your board eligibility period expires on December 31 of the seventh calendar year after the training completion date.

To obtain and maintain board eligible status, you must be engaged in an initial certification process and continuously adhere to the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct. You can begin the process to obtain your initial certification by logging in to your MyABFM Portfolio.

Board Eligibility Period Expired – If your seven-year period of board eligibility has expired, you must complete one year of additional training in an ACGME-accredited family medicine residency training program (or an ABFM-approved alternative) to gain an additional board eligibility period and to qualify for board certification. Outside of this seven-year window, it is not permissible for you to refer to yourself as board eligible.

Please contact [email protected] if you have additional questions regarding your eligibility status.

Andrea Anderson, MD, M.Ed., FAAFP
"There's an incredible trust between a patient and their physician. Board certification demonstrates their physician is committed to a higher standard of care."
Andrea Anderson, MD, M.ED., DABFM, FAAFP Board Certified since 2003

Quick Links