Fellowship training to become certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery

One of the most important steps to becoming a diplomate of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) is completing your cosmetic surgery fellowship training. The fellowship program provides the foundation for well-rounded cosmetic surgery training, in addition to being a great opportunity to be mentored by an experienced cosmetic surgeon in their practice.

The cosmetic surgery fellowship program is a fantastic option for surgeons coming right out of residency as well as experienced surgeons who are already in practice and hope to incorporate or transition into cosmetic surgery.

What does a cosmetic surgery fellowship entail?

The cosmetic surgery fellowship program is administered under the auspices of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), with AACS certified fellowships available all over the country. Once you have applied to the program of your choosing and have been placed, your training will begin.

During your AACS certified fellowship, you are required to perform a minimum of 300 cosmetic surgery procedures per year under the guidance of your fellowship director. You will have the opportunity to get first-hand experience with some of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures, minimally invasive solutions and skin treatments, and the day-to-day of a busy cosmetic surgery practice.

This hands-on experience provides an unparalleled level of cosmetic surgery training, offering surgeons the rare opportunity to hone their skills under the tutelage of leading cosmetic surgeons in a real patient environment.

How can I apply for a general cosmetic surgery fellowship?

After you have completed residency training and are pursuing primary board certification in General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Otolaryngology, Thoracic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Neurological Surgery, Ophthalmology, and/or Orthopedic Surgery (hereinafter referred to as “approved boards”), the next step is to apply for a one-year American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery certified fellowship. (Note: Ophthalmic surgeons must complete a two year cosmetic surgery fellowship.)

How do I become a board certified cosmetic surgeon through ABCS?

Cosmetic surgery fellows of an AACS certified cosmetic surgery fellowship program may apply and sit for the oral portion of the ABCS exam immediately following their fellowship training if they can comply with the following and are pursuing board certification by one of the “approved boards” by the ABCS.

If you have not completed an approved AACS certified fellowship program, but feel you have received a comparable level of training through another fellowship (i.e., aesthetic plastic surgery fellowship), you may still be eligible to take the oral and written exams and earn your certification via a fellowship equivalency route.

Becoming certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery through the fellowship equivalency route

To begin this process, applicants will need to submit documentation that proves the fellowship is equivalent in breadth and depth to an AACS certified cosmetic surgery fellowship, such as a letter from the fellowship director, a certificate of completion that demonstrates the training you received, and surgical operative logs from the fellowship that show you met the required minimal guidelines. This will be requested of you when you inquire about your eligibility.

After your fellowship is deemed equivalent by the Board of Trustees, you will follow the standard ABCS application process and sit for the oral and written examinations to receive your cosmetic surgery board certification.

Ready to get started on your career as a board certified cosmetic surgeon? We’re here to help!

Please contact the ABCS home office with any questions about your eligibility, the fellowship and certification process, or how to get started. We’d be happy to provide you with the information you need.