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2024 Application Details

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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 primary certificates and congenital subspecialty certificates, to 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 Primary and CHS certificates?

The ABTS Primary and CHS Maintenance of Certification certificates are valid until the date listed on the certificates. In order to earn new certificates, Diplomates must complete the combined Primary/CHS 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.  The new Continuing Certificate will need to be maintained every five years.

How does this change impact synchronization of certificates?

If your CHS certificate is already synchronized with your primary certificate, you will be able to complete the combined Primary/CHS Continuing Certification process that fulfills the requirements for both your primary and congenital certificates. 

If your CHS certificate in not synchronized, you will be able to synchronize your two certificates the next time you have to complete the Continuing Certification process for your primary certificate.

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 certificate, this would mean you can complete the Milestone in years 9 and 10, as long as you completed the 5-year MOC Milestone..

2024 Dates

Applications Available - TBD
Application Late Period -TBD
Cont. Cert. Exam - September 16 - November 11
Results - December 2024

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