Family Medicine Certification (FMC) serves to ensure your patients and the public that you are highly skilled and effective at improving their health by having met the specific residency training requirements and continuing to maintain high professional standards. Established by family physicians, FMC is a voluntary specialty credential beyond state licensure that demonstrates your ongoing proficiency in the competencies required of a family physician.
Participating in the Family Medicine Certification process assures that you are critically evaluating your practice, acquiring new skills, and adapting your practice to changing patient health needs. As a family physician who is seeking to become board certified, benefits you will realize include:
Improved quality of care for your patients through participation in the Family Medicine Certification process
Recognition by patients, hospitals, insurers, caregivers and other physicians that you have met high standards of physician quality
Continuous self-assessment of medical knowledge that supports your dedication to lifelong learning and maintaining quality and safety in your practice
Support for professional self-regulation within the specialty of Family Medicine
Numerous studies have demonstrated the value of Family Medicine Certification in improving knowledge, improving the quality of care delivered, and evidence of professionalism.
Patients place faith in board certification and expect that it reflects ongoing education and practice improvement. They often seek information about their physician’s certification through ABFM’s Find a Physician or through the American Board of Medical Specialties Certification Matters website.
The American Board of Family Medicine is one of the member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The mission of the ABMS is to serve the public and the medical profession by improving the quality of health care through setting professional standards for lifelong certification in partnership with its Member Boards. More information about the Value of Board Certification can be found on the Value of Board Certification to Health Care website.
Residency Program Initial Certification Pass Rates
ABFM is pleased to offer a report of the performance of graduates from Family Medicine Residency Programs on the ABFM Certification Examination over the past five years. This report is intended for the prospective resident but may also be useful to others involved in Family Medicine training.
Appropriate Use of the Report: Weighting and Limitations
The information provided in this report should be viewed as one element among a number of potential indicators of overall program quality. Although it may be easy or tempting to simply use these values to rank programs, a robust comparison process for selecting a residency program will include a wider array of variables based on one's individual training needs and long-term goals. Thus, the ABFM discourages the exclusive use or overweighting of this report. For more information and ideas to assist you with your decision of selecting a family medicine training program, please visit the website of the AAFP Family Medicine Interest Group.
While reviewing the report's summary data, please bear in mind the variety of factors that go into these values. First, a "program's success" in terms of this report, is literally the composite success of the individuals who graduated from the program. This means that individual factors such as the specific amount of time put into study for the exam, personal life distractions, prior training experiences, as well as program training content, processes, and instruction, all play into the individual results, and consequently have a bearing on the program averages. The majority of these factors may be entirely uninfluenced by a residency program's training process. These issues limit the extent to which passing rates are a reflection of a program's training quality.
Understanding the Report: Structure and Content
Residency programs are listed in order by state. As with most Windows-based programs, any text in Adobe Acrobat can be located with the search function by hitting "F" while holding down the CTRL button. With the search function activated, program names, cities, and ACGME ID numbers can be located quickly.
Although there are various ways of dividing up certification candidates to create an "average" description of a program, there are two categories in which most prospective residents will be interested. First, a program's former residents may be grouped by cohort, based on their year of graduation. This report includes the cohort passing numbers and percentages for each of the last five years. Secondly, because many residents graduate "off-cycle," that is, following the certification exam application deadline, they may take their first certification exam in a year following their graduation year. For this reason, the report also describes the passing numbers and rates of "First-Time Takers," which includes any examinees who have never previously taken the exam.
The columns relevant to graduation year cohorts are numbered 2, 3, 4, and 5 on the report. They are indicated by the subtitle "New Grads." A specific description of the content of each column is listed as a footnote on each report page. The columns relevant to all "First-Time Takers" are numbered 5, 6, 7, and 8, and have labels indicating "First Taker."
Lastly, if a program has only one resident taking the examination in either the New Grad category or the First-Time Taker category, then the passing rate and passing tally will not be shown to protect the individual's confidential test outcome.
We appreciate your feedback on this report, which we believe will provide better service to Family Medicine Residency Programs. In turn, we hope that it will indirectly strengthen the field as a whole. For comments or questions, click here.
Residency Program Examination Performance Summary (Pass Rates):
Initial Certification Pass Rates 2020 [PDF, 2.5MB]