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Continuing Certification 
(formerly known as Maintenance of Certification)

In order to meet the new Continuing Certification Standards required of all member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Board of Thoracic Surgery replaced its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process with Continuing Certification starting in January 2024. Continuing Certification is intended to give the public assurance that certified specialty physicians are maintaining high standards of clinical care throughout their career. For that reason, the Board requires that all Diplomates, including those who hold life-time and time-limited certificates, participate in Continuing Certification. The only exception is for those Diplomates who have notified the Board of their retirement or disability.

What happens to my MOC Certificate?

The ABTS Maintenance of Certification certificates are valid until the date listed on the certificate. In order to earn a new certificate, Diplomates must complete the Continuing Certification process every 5 years. New non-time-limited certificates will be issued after the MOC certificates expires to Diplomates who successfully maintain their certificates under the new Continuing Certification process.

What is the difference between Continuing Certification and MOC?

The ABTS Continuing Certification process consists of the issuance of non-time limited certificates with a Milestone that needs to be successfully completed every 5 years to maintain certification, instead of every 10 years under the former MOC process. All Diplomates are automatically enrolled in the Continuing Certification process upon initial certification or upon the expiration of their existing time-limited certificates.

Every five years, Diplomates are expected to take and pass a secure, online exam in the area of their specialty (Adult Cardiac, Cardiothoracic, Congenital Cardiac, and General Thoracic). Diplomates will no longer have to complete SESATS as part of Continuing Certification.  Failure to complete the Milestone every five years will result in not being eligible to renew your certification. This applies to both life-time and time-limited certificate holders.  Diplomates can take the Milestone in their fourth or fifth year.  The Board will consider granting Diplomates a one-year grace period for extenuating circumstances to complete the Milestone in the sixth year on a case-by-case basis.  For Diplomates who still hold a 10-year certification, this would mean you can complete the Milestone in years 9 and 10.

Transition from MOC to Continuing Certification

See below for the transition from the Maintenance of Certification to Continuing Certification Schedule:

 
Certificate Valid Through Year   When is my next Milestone? Prerequisite Milestone  Certification Status if Continuing Certification Milestone is met Certification Status if Continuing Certification and/or former MOC Milestone was NOT met
 2024  2024
Completion of the
5-year MOC Milestone in
2019-2023 
 Certified and Participating in Continuing Certification until 2029 Certified and NOT Participating until Dec. 31, 2024.
Not Certified on January 1, 2025 
 2025 2024 or 2025  Completion of the
5-year MOC Milestone in

2020-2023  
 Certified and Participating in Continuing Certification until 2030  Certified and NOT Participating until Dec. 31, 2025.
Not Certified on January 1, 2026 
2026  2025 or 2026   Completion of the
5-year MOC Milestone in

2021-2023  
 Certified and Participating in Continuing Certification until 2031  Certified and NOT Participating until Dec. 31, 2026.
Not Certified on January 1, 2027  
2027  2026 or 2027   Completion of the
5-year MOC Milestone in

2022-2023  
 Certified and Participating in Continuing Certification until 2032  Certified and NOT Participating until Dec. 31, 2027.
Not Certified on January 1, 2028  
 2028* 2027 or 2028   Completion of the
5-year MOC Milestone in

2023  
 Certified and Participating in Continuing Certification until 2033  Certified and NOT Participating until Dec. 31, 2028.
Not Certified on January 1, 2029  
2029  2024   None   Certified and Participating in Continuing Certification until 2029  Certified and NOT Participating until Dec. 31, 2029.
Not Certified on January 1, 2030  
2030  2024 or 2025  None   Certified and Participating in Continuing Certification until 2030  Certified and NOT Participating until Dec. 31, 2030.
Not Certified on January 1, 2031  
2031  2025 or 2026 None   Certified and Participating in Continuing Certification until 2031 Certified and NOT Participating until Dec. 31, 2031.
Not Certified on January 1, 2032 
2032 2026 or 2027  None   Certified and Participating in Continuing Certification until 2032 Certified and NOT Participating until Dec. 31, 2032.
Not Certified on January 1, 2033 
2033 2027 or 2028  None   Certified and Participating in Continuing Certification until 2033 Certified and NOT Participating until Dec. 31, 2033.
Not Certified on January 1, 2034 




*For individuals who hold certificates that expire in 2028, but who do not complete the 5-year MOC Milestone in 2023, you can request a one-year extension to complete the Continuing Certification Milestone in 2024.  Credentials Committee approval is required.

If you earn a new initial certificate in June 2024, you will need to complete the 5-year Continuing Certification Milestone in 2028 or 2029.
2024 Dates

Applications Available - TBD
Application Late Period -TBD
Cont. Cert. Exam - September 30 - November 11
Results - December 2024
News

2024 Booklet of Information for Continuing Certification
The 2024 Booklet of Information for Continuing Certification can be downloaded by clicking HERE .

CME Credit for Cont. Cert. Milestone

Diplomates who successfully complete the Continuing Certification Milestone may earn AMA PRA Category I CME credits from the American Medical Association (AMA). Information on how to apply for the CME credit can be found on the AMA's website at www.ama-assn.org/go/directcredit.