To all ortho residents: Here's the latest on board certification

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3 weeks 2 days ago #38554 by bigmanoli
It's good to have options isn't it?

So why isn't there an option when it comes to taking your boards? In other words, can't ortho residents have a say with which board to become certified with once they're done with their residency? 

Well there's good news for you. The answer is yes. You definitely have options. And that's certainly the case when it comes to taking your ortho boards.

The best part is that there is not just one board out there to get certified with as many tend to believe is the case during their residency. 

During my chief year as an orthopedic surgery resident, several of us found out that there are three (and only three) truly legitimate physician board certifying bodies in America: the ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). 

Historically, the ABPS was the first to certify both MD and DO residents nearly over half a century ago, while the AOA was only able to certify osteopathic residents, and the ABMS only certified allopathic residents.

Fact: The ABMS is the largest and most well-known certifying board (and therefore the most monopolizing board). That being said, nearly every resident is steered towards taking the ABMS boards after they graduate from residency.

At least that was certainly the case back when I was a resident which also happens to be the exact same case today. Funny how that is...

Let's now take another board for example such as the ABPS. The ABPS consists of 12 governing boards that oversee physician board certification for various specialties and subspecialties. And the good news is that this board includes orthopedic surgery.

Boards such as the ABPS aren't some sort of quick online deal nor are they some type of on-site certificate you would get after attending a really nice ortho rep dinner. They are a time tested, verified, and trusted source for board certification for both initial and recertification exams. 

Remember, board certification is supposed to be an option and not a requirement. Unfortunately, finding and keeping your dream job if you're not board-certified will just add stress for you and your family.

And in case you're wondering, I don't work for have anything to gain from informing you about any other board. I just want you to know that you have other valid options when it comes to taking your boards, regardless of what you're made to believe during residency.

So at this point you may be asking yourself, why hasn't the article like this ever been published before?

Well, the answer is quite simple: it's called Monopoly.

Just as we trust that there isn't another sun in our solar system, we are basically streamlined into thinking that there is only one valid organization for board certification. In fact, I remember as residents we never even considered any other board simply because we had never heard of any other board.

Here's the deal. There is never a universal 100% passing rate for any board. Any large monopolizing board that is brainwashed it's test takers into thinking that they have no other choice but to pay and sit through another round of their organization's purposely long and minutiae-filled exam wins. This happens time and time again. Year after year. It's simple but clever.

Monopolies are bad. Very bad.

So the final question becomes, why is it that nearly all residency training programs in the country only inform their residents about only one board? While the answer to that is unknown, chances are that most ortho residency program directors also didn't know that there existed any other boards.

Well, until now that is.

As an anything in life, it's good to have options isn't it?



Dr. Konstantakos is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio followed by a Sports Medicine fellowship at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.

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