Initial Certification / Residency

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    Board Eligibility

    The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) Board Eligibility Policy defines “Board Eligible” as having completed residency training but not yet attained initial certification. Board eligibility begins the first day after verified completion of ACGME-accredited Family Medicine residency training, and it expires exactly seven years from that date. A physician who wishes to be designated as board eligible must be active in the online certification Entry or Resident Entry Process and continuously adhere to the ABFM guidelines for professionalism, licensure, and personal conduct. These guidelines require physicians to maintain a current, valid, and unrestricted medical license, and report current license details through the online physician portfolio.

    After the 7-year period of board eligibility expires, a family physician can regain board eligibility status by completing one year of additional training in an ACGME-accredited Family Medicine residency training program (or an ABFM approved alternative) and by completing the ABFM certification Entry Process. This additional training is required to take the Family Medicine Certification Examination.

    ABFM-approved alternative training may consist of training at Family Medicine residency training programs in international locations. The ABFM may or may not have an established reciprocity agreement with an approved alternative. However, all proposals for alternative training must be submitted for review and approval by the ABFM. For additional information, please see the Board Eligibility FAQ and the Board Eligibility Policy.

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