Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

What is MOC?

  • The ABS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program documents a surgeon's ongoing commitment to professionalism, lifelong learning and practice improvement following initial certification.
  • The ABS MOC Program is intended to be as flexible as possible. The ABS is working with surgical specialty organizations to ensure ABS MOC is relevant to all practice areas, and is coordinating its requirements with those of other regulatory organizations.
    MOC Status: Check your MOC status anytime by going to (login required).

How Does it Work?

  • MOC requirements run in 3-year cycles (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). Briefly these requirements are:
  • Professional Standing: A full and unrestricted medical license, hospital privileges (if clinically active), and professional references
  • Lifelong Learning/Self-Assesssment: 90 hours of Category 1 CME over a 3-year cycle, with at least 60 of those hours including self-assessment (such as a test or quiz)
  • Practice Assessment: Ongoing participating in a local, regional or national outcomes registry or quality assessment program
  • See MOC Requirements for further details. After each cycle, diplomates report on how they are meeting these requirements by submitting information online. See Three-Year Reporting for more on that process.
  • A secure MOC (recertification) examination is also required at 10-year intervals, and may be taken starting 3 years before certificate expiration. See our MOC Exams section for more information.
  • For quick reference, print this one-page summary (pdf).

When Do I Start?

  • Diplomates are automatically enrolled in the ABS MOC Program once they successfuly complete any ABS certifying or recertification examination. MOC requirements begin the January 1 following the academic year of the exam that enrolled you in MOC. For example, if you passed a General Surgery Certifying Exam in October of 2015, MOC begins for you as of January 1, 2017.

Why Now?

  • Board certification is considered to be the gold standard in assuring a surgeon has acquired and is sustaining a certain level of knowledge, skill and professionalism. MOC will help ensure that board certification remains a recognized, surgeon-defined standard of quality. MOC will provide diplomates with greater opportunities for learning and assessment, while giving patients further assurance that an ABS-certified surgeon is providing safe, effective care.

Staying in Contact

  • The ABS will keep diplomates informed about MOC through its newsletters and email updates, and will contact you directly by mail and email when submission of information is due. Please keep your contact information up to date through My Records.
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