Cosmetic Surgery Board Certification FAQs

Frequently asked questions about cosmetic surgery board certification

How do I find out if I am eligible for certification by the ABCS?

To qualify for certification with the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, a surgeon must meet rigorous and comprehensive criteria for experience and knowledge. These criteria meet or exceed standards of all American Board of Medical Specialties boards. Our certification requirements state, in part, that an applicant must furnish proof of prior board certification by:

(i) one of the following boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists of the American Osteopathic Association (BOS), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC):

  • General Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery*
  • Otolaryngology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Neurological Surgery
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Urology
  • Ophthalmology with completion of an American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Inc. (ASOPRS) approved Oculoplastic fellowship

-OR-

(ii) The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS) with M.D. degree.

In addition, all candidates must be fellowship trained, whether by an AACS-approved Cosmetic Surgery Fellowship Training Program or a cosmetic surgery fellowship training program sponsored by one of the ABCS core boards if training is reviewed and deemed equivalent to an AACS Fellowship, in the sole and absolute discretion of the ABCS Fellowship & Board Review Committee and the ABCS Board of Trustees.

*The policy that a primary ABMS or AOA Board Certification was necessary was amended to accept Candidates who have completed an ACGME approved Plastic Surgery Residency and also completed an AACS Cosmetic Surgery Fellowship or an ABPS Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Fellowship that meets the minimum required cases in an equivalent cosmetic surgery fellowship set by the ABCS. (effective July 13, 2017)

Is there an Experience Route leading toward ABCS Certification?

No, the Experience Route expired with the 2013 Annual Examination.

Is it true that only physicians who have completed an AACS-Approved Fellowship Training Program will be eligible for certification in 2014 and thereafter, or will the two-tiered process for Fellowship Equivalency still be an option?

All candidates must be fellowship trained, whether by an AACS-approved Cosmetic Surgery Fellowship Training Program or a cosmetic surgery fellowship training program sponsored by one of the ABCS core boards if training is reviewed and deemed equivalent to an AACS Fellowship, in the sole and absolute discretion of the ABCS Fellowship & Board Review Committee and the ABCS Board of Trustees.

Does the ABCS offer Certificates of Added Qualification (CAQ) to ABCS Diplomates in the areas of Facial Cosmetic Surgery and Body Breast & Extremity Cosmetic Surgery?

No, the CAQ expired with the 2016 Annual Examination.

I am interested in applying for a cosmetic surgery fellowship. Can you send me information?

Thank you for your interest in the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. For information regarding Cosmetic Surgery Fellowship Training Programs, please contact the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) at info@cosmeticsurgery.org or visit their website for a current listing and description of the fellowship programs offered.

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