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ABP allowing more time for supervised practice if eligibility lapses :

November 8, 2016

A modification to an American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) policy extends the amount of time a doctor can take to complete six months of supervised practice when regaining eligibility to sit for initial certification examinations.

The ABP policy Time Limited Eligibility for Initial Certification Examinations now states that six months of supervised practice may be completed over the course of more than one year. Proposals for part-time supervised practice that extends over a year must be approved by the ABP and must address consistency of supervision of the individual and continuity of supervised practice experience. The policy applies to those seeking to re-establish their eligibility to take the initial certifying examination for general pediatrics as well as pediatric subspecialties.

“The intent is to provide flexibility when eligibility has lapsed,” said David M. Jaffe, M.D., FAAP, senior vice president of AAP Education and Publishing.

Individuals in several AAP membership categories potentially are affected, including post-residency training members, candidate members and Fellows pursuing subspecialties.

Seven years ago, the ABP first enacted the policy that limits eligibility to seven years for board certification after completing training. The policy went into effect with the 2014 examination. Whether they were unable to pass the initial certifying examination or deferred taking it due to personal or economic circumstances, segments of the pediatric medical population now have fallen outside of the seven-year window of eligibility. Practice under supervision of a program director must meet the ABP’s eligibility plan requirements for general pediatrics ( or subspecialties (

The modification should make it easier to complete the supervised practice requirement by allowing candidates to spread the required six months of training over a longer period of time. This option might allow them to remain in practice and still schedule the required supervised practice experiences.

“It is hard to walk away from your practice for six months and do the equivalent of a six-month residency,” said Dr. Jaffe.

Those working in locations far from pediatric training programs might face geographic challenges, he noted. Program directors may have limited resources and capacity to accommodate those seeking to become re-eligible.

After completing the six months of supervised practice, doctors have seven more years to pass the initial certifying examination. Individuals should consider the number of future opportunities they have to sit for the examinations, Dr. Jaffe said. General examinations are offered every year, but subspecialty examinations occur every other year. And to pass the subspecialty examinations, one must pass the general exam first.

If, after another seven years, they still have not passed? “You have to go back and start the full pediatrics or subspecialty training all over,” he said.

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