The primary purpose and most essential function of the Board are to protect the public by establishing and maintaining high standards in thoracic surgery. To achieve these objectives, the Board has established qualifications for examination and procedures for certification and Maintenance of Certification. The requirements and procedures are reviewed regularly and modified as necessary.
Board certification in a medical specialty is evidence that a physician's qualifications for specialty practice are recognized by his or her peers. It is not intended to define the requirements for membership on hospital staffs, to gain special recognition or privileges for its Diplomates, to define the scope of specialty practice, or to state whom may or may not engage in the practice of the specialty. Specialty certification of a physician does not relieve a hospital's governing body from responsibility in determining the hospital privileges of such specialist.
The Board does not consider any physician to be a candidate for examination until he or she has made formal application and has been accepted for examination. The Board will recognize an individual as being "board eligible" when he/she has an approved application. Acceptance for examination acknowledges only that the candidate has successfully fulfilled the requirements and does not recognize that he or she is a specialist in thoracic surgery.
The Board's policy is to consider a candidate for examination only after he or she has completed a thoracic surgery residency approved by the Residency Review Committee for Thoracic Surgery. Separate Written and Oral Examinations are held annually at times and places determined by the Board. Information regarding the dates and places of the examinations is published on this web site and in the Journals of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. For information on the Board's five year exam pass/fail rate, click here.
After a candidate has met the requirements for eligibility and passed the examination, a certificate attesting to the candidate's qualifications in thoracic surgery will be issued by the Board. The certificate is valid for 10 years.
Applicants who are certified in thoracic surgery are issued certificates that are valid for 10 years from the date of certification, after which the certificates will no longer be valid. Certificates can be renewed before expiration by fulfilling the requirements of Maintenance of Certification specified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.