When a physician is board-certified, he/she meets nationally recognized standards for experience, education, knowledge and skills. Certification is voluntary and is maintained through continuing medical education (CME) and practice improvement to provide the highest quality patient care in a given specialty or subspecialty.

To be eligible for board certification one must: complete four years of premedical education, earn a medical degree (MD or DO) from a qualified medical school, complete residency in an accredited program, provide letters of attestation from the program director or faculty and obtain an unrestricted medical license to practice in the US or Canada. Eligible candidates for certification then must pass an exam by the specialty board. Currently, there are 24 certified member boards.