Impact of Board Certification

Choosing a Board Certified Physician

Specialized Expertise

Many factors help patients select a physician. An essential element in choosing a doctor is to ensure that board certification has been achieved and maintained.

In order to practice, a doctor is required by law to hold a general medical license in all states where they practice. Physicians who achieve and maintain board certification, however, have gone beyond state licensure to complete rigorous and specialized training requirements within the field of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery. They have successfully met the specialty’s standards through a thorough examination process that tests the entire breadth and depth of their knowledge in the field, and its application to patient care. This achievement is what designates them as a diplomate of the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Board certification indicates to the public, including patients, colleagues, hospital credentialers, insurers, and others that those otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons have met or exceeded the standards of the specialty.

American Board of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery certification is a voluntary program in which specialists demonstrate a commitment to meeting the highest standards established for their profession. Board certification is more than successfully passing initial examinations. It is a continuum beginning with entry into accredited residency training and ending with retirement. Board certified physicians are committed to a higher standard that involves being up to date with the knowledge and skills to meet the current demands of their specialty, and to demonstrate that proficiency throughout their career. 

Some doctors specialize even further, gaining a subspecialty certification within otolaryngology - head and neck surgery (see About Our Certifications for details). To do so, they complete additional accredited training and pass further examinations within an even more specialized field within otolaryngology - head and neck surgery. Once completing this process, these diplomates are additionally board certified in their selected subspecialty.

Benefits of Continuing Certification

Through the Continuing Certification program, board certified physicians continue to demonstrate that they meet the standards of the profession that define their specialty to remain board certified. When the ABOHNS was formed in 1924, the medical knowledge obtained at the completion of training was thought to be sufficient to last throughout a physician’s career. However, in today’s rapidly evolving health care environment, a lifelong learning and assessment process is essential for otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to stay up-to-date and ensure best patient care.

Through educational activities, AOBHNS diplomates keep up with new and emerging developments in their field -- both practical and conceptual. These educational activities are available from a variety of sources including specialty societies. The ABOHNS continuing certification program assures that diplomates are meeting standards in professionalism, lifelong learning, self-assessment, maintaining their knowledge-base, as well as staying up to date.