Intersociety Council for Pathology Information, Inc.
Training Resources for Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Directory of Pathology
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Specialty certification for the medical practice of pathology in the United States is the responsibility of The American Board of Pathology. For the benefit of physicians planning to specialize in pathology, the ABP provides the following statement of its aims and requirements.
There are four steps in recognizing a pathologist by certification. The first step is completion of professional education in an approved medical school or college of osteopathic medicine and subsequent licensure in the United States or Canada.
The second step is specialty training in pathology of sufficient duration and quality to establish the required level of competence. The training must take place in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), which are responsible for inspecting and evaluating programs for quality and duration of the educational experience.
The third step is verification of the candidate’s qualifications by the pathology training program director. The program director has the opportunity to observe the candidate’s performance over the course of training and the responsibility to evaluate the candidate’s overall educational advancement. Therefore, the pathology training program director is asked to verify to the ABP that the training has been appropriate and successfully completed and that the candidate is ready to take the certifying examinations. The ABP solicits written evaluations of the candidate’s performance from the pathology training program director(s) and from other persons acceptable to the ABP for such evaluation. This evaluation is a critical factor considered by the ABP in determining the candidate’s qualification for examination and certification.
The fourth and final step is successful completion of the objective written and practical examinations, designed to evaluate the candidate’s factual knowledge of pathology and to assess practical problem solving skills, interpretive skills, and diagnostic abilities. The ABP offers three primary certificates: combined anatomic pathology and clinical pathology, anatomic pathology only, and clinical pathology only. The examinations for each are to establish general competence in pathology. In addition, the ABP offers a number of examinations to assess expertise in subspecialty areas of anatomic pathology and clinical pathology.
Prerequisites for Examination
All candidates must have either (1) graduated from a medical school in the United States or Canada accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, (2) graduated from a college of osteopathic medicine accredited by the Bureau of Professional Education of the American Osteopathic Association, or (3) graduated from a medical school outside the United States or Canada acceptable to the ABP. In addition, the candidate must hold a currently valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or osteopathy issued by one of the licensing agencies of the United States or Canada.
Pathology Training and Credentialing Requirements for Primary Certification
Pathology Training Requirements
A candidate must satisfactorily complete training in a program accredited by the ACGME or the RCPSC. The requirements are as follows:
a. For certification in combined anatomic pathology and clinical pathology (AP/CP) - four years of full-time, approved training in an accredited APCP-4 program that includes at least 18 months of structured training in anatomic pathology and 18 months of structured training in clinical pathology, plus a "flexible year (an additional 12 months of full-time, continued training in anatomic pathology and/or clinical pathology or 12 months full-time, approved training in other areas of pathology as part of the defined 4-year accredited AP/CP training program.
b. For certification in anatomic pathology (AP) only - Three years of full-time, approved training in anatomic pathology in an accredited APCP-4 or AP-3 program that includes at least 24 months of structured training in anatomic pathology, plus a "flexible year" that may be either an additional 12 months of full-time, continued training in anatomic pathology or 12 months of full-time, approved training in other areas of pathology as part of the defined accredited training program.
c. For certification in clinical pathology (CP) only - Three years of full-time, approved training in clinical pathology in an accredited APCP-4 program that includes at least 24 months of structured training in clinical pathology, plus a "flexible year" that may be either an additional 12 months of full-time, continued training in clinical pathology or 12 months of full-time, approved training in other areas of pathology as part of the defined accredited training program.
Candidates holding a primary certificate from the ABP, or in certain specific situations, from another member medical specialty board of the American Board of Medical Specialties, may qualify after one to two years of appropriate training to sit for a subspecialty certification examination in blood banking/transfusion medicine, chemical pathology, cytopathology, dermatopathology, forensic pathology, hematology, medical microbiology, molecular genetic pathology, neuropathology or pediatric pathology.
Maintenance of Certification
All certificates issued by the ABP on or after January 1, 2006 are time-limited and the diplomates holding such certificates are required to participate in the ABP Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Each certificate is valid for 10-years provided that the diplomate meets all requirements of MOC during that 10 year period. Successful completion of the 10-year cycle will result in a new certificate which will also be time-limited and subject to the same conditions. Please see the MOC Booklet of Information on the ABP web site for the latest updates.
Mission and Purpose
The mission of The American Board of Pathology (ABP), as a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties, is to promote the health of the public by advancing the practice and science of pathology.
The ABP accomplishes its mission through the following principal activities:
The ABP does not seek special privileges for its diplomates, nor does it:
1. Confer an academic degree.
2. Confer a legal qualification or license to practice pathology.
3. Define hospital privileges.
4. Define the scope of specialty practice.
5. Delineate who may or may not engage in the practice of pathology.
For more detailed and specific information on the requirements for certification, consult either the “Requirements for Certification” published in the Directory of Graduate Medical Education Programs or the Booklet of Information, FAQs, and Instructions for Candidates on the ABP web site (www.abpath.org). Additional questions may be directed to email@example.com or send in writing to:
The American Board of Pathology
PO Box 25915, Tampa, Florida 33622-5915
Phone: (813) 286-2444
Fax: (813) 289-5279
Web site: www.abpath.org