What does Board Certified Really Mean?

Not all doctors are board certified. Being board certified means that a doctor has chosen to learn beyond the minimum standard established in their discipline. They have chosen to study and test in a particular specialty or subspecialty.


Choosing a board certified doctor means that you are working with a doctor who has met the national standard acceptable knowledge and practice. They are focused on enabling an optimal quality of care for their patients. 


It can take up to 6 years for a doctor to become certified after their medical school training. The process is arduous, inclusive of close supervision, in-practice training, as well as extensive written and oral exams. Doctors who commit to becoming board certified have greater medical knowledge and better clinical judgement than their peers.


Becoming board certified isn’t a one-time accomplishment. Doctors must apply for certification renewal every six to ten years, depending on the field of medicine. Each specialty board dictates the standards and requirements for that doctor’s certification and recertification. 


In addition to the test itself, a lot of time and preparation is put into preparing for the certification. Pre-tests, independent study, and focused application means some doctors may choose to take a brief hiatus from active practice to invest the proper time into preparation. 


A Board Certified doctor has made a commitment to the care of their patients. That care to become the best in their field is also a financial commitment. It can cost several thousands of dollars to become board certified and to recertify. Board Certified doctors are investing in their patients’ better outcomes. 


If you’re choosing between care providers, ask at your next appointment if the doctor is board certified - you may be surprised at the answer.

Dr. Donald Hope