The Board Certification process includes the following components:


  • Must have graduated from an accredited medical school and passed all examinations necessary to receive and unrestricted medical license.
  • Must have satisfactorily completed five years of graduate orthopaedic surgery education in an accredited orthopaedic surgery residency program in the United States or Canada. The residency training must include experience with all age groups in operative and non-operative treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, diseases and deformities in pediatric orthopaedics, total joint and other arthritis surgery, sports medicine, the spine, foot and ankle, elbow and shoulder, hand rehabilitation, fractures and other injuries, benign and malignant tumors of bone, joints and muscles and arthroscopy.


After completing graduate orthopaedic surgery residency education a doctor must meet the following criteria to become Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery:

  • Have a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, government service or Canada.
  • Pass the Part I examination which is a written examination about the material taught during the residency training.
  • Have completed 22 months of practice of operative orthopaedic surgery after successfully completing graduate education.
  • Have demonstrated professional proficiency and ethical practice based on recommendations from physicians familiar with his/her practice.
  • Pass the Part II examination which is an oral examination based on a six month list of operative cases.

What Does it Mean to be Board Certified by the ABOS?

Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery means that the orthopaedic surgeon has met the specified educational evaluation, and examination requirements of the Board.

Maintenance of Certification:

Since 1986 the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery has issued time limited certificates. Those orthopaedic surgeons who were certified in 1986 and thereafter must maintain their certification by completing 120 hours of pertinent continuing medical education, undergoing a stringent peer review process to make certain they are respected by their peers and practicing ethical orthopaedic surgery, and taking and passing a written or oral examination. This maintenance of certification process must be performed every seven to ten years.