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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do Psychiatrists do?

Psychiatrists are the primary caregivers in the area of mental health. They assess and treat mental illnesses through a combination of psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, hospitalization, and medication.

What Are the Board's Requirements for Certification in Psychiatry, Neurology, or Neurology with Special Qualification in Child Neurology?

To be Board-certified in psychiatry, neurology or neurology with special qualification in child neurology, a candidate must:
1. Be a graduate of an accredited medical school in the United States or Canada or of an international medical school listed by the World Health Organization.
2. Hold an unrestricted license to practice medicine in at least one state, commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States or province of Canada. If licenses are held in more than one jurisdiction, all licenses held by the physician must meet this requirement. For more information on license restrictions, see the appropriate Information for Applicants publication that can be downloaded from the ABPN web site,
3. Have satisfactorily completed specialized training requirements in psychiatry, neurology or child neurology in programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. This training must adhere to all Board requirements.
4. Submit a completed official application form including all required attachments and the appropriate application and examination fees by the specified deadlines. Only applications submitted on the current application form are accepted. Faxed copies of applications are not accepted.
5. Pass the appropriate specialty certification examination(s).

Does Certification Expire?

As of October 1, 1994, all individuals achieving Board certification by the ABPN are issued ten-year, time-limited certificates. Certificates issued in the subspecialties of addiction psychiatry, clinical neurophysiology, forensic psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, hospice and palliative medicine, neurodevelopmental disabilities, neuromuscular medicine, pain medicine, psychosomatic medicine, sleep medicine, and vascular neurology, including those issued prior to October 1, 1994, are ten-year, time-limited certificates. Ten-year, time-limited certificates for child and adolescent psychiatry began in 1995. All ABPN time-limited certificates, regardless of their exact dates of issuance, are considered to expire ten years later on December 31.

What Are the ABPN's Rules Regarding Transferring Between Programs?

To ensure continuity of training, the Board requires that two of the three years of residency training, excluding the PGY-1, be spent in a single program. The 36 months of full-time specialized residency training must be completed in no more than two blocks. If completed in two blocks, the blocks must not be more than ten years apart. In addition, credit is not given for less than one-year blocks of training (including the PGY-1). The ABPN Credentials Committee considers exceptions to these rules only under extraordinary circumstances. In such cases, respective program directors should contact the Board office, in writing, prior to the transfer. The letters must outline the residents training content, duties, and responsibilities, including exact dates (from month/day/year to month/day/year) of training, and indicate clearly that the resident will satisfy all ACGME program requirements. Each case is considered on an individual basis.

May Training Be Completed on a Part-Time Basis?

Training may be completed on a part-time basis, provided that it is no less than half time.

May Vacation or Leave Time Be Used to Complete Training Earlier?

Training programs may schedule individual leave or vacation time for residents in accordance with the overall institutional policy. Leave or vacation time may NOT be used to reduce the total amount of required residency training or to make up deficiencies in training.

May a Candidate with a Temporary Education or Training License Apply for Examination in Psychiatry, Neurology, or Neurology with Special Qualification in Child Neurology?

Applicants who do not yet have an unrestricted medical license because they are in training are not required to submit a copy of their medical license at the time of application for examination in psychiatry, neurology, or child neurology. However, such applicants must submit a copy of their unrestricted medical license(s) no later than the date specified in the appropriate Information for Applicants publication. These dates differ for different examinations and failure to meet the deadlines for licensure could result in delay of scheduling or invalidation of scores. Applicants holding more than one license must submit a copy of each license.

How Many Times May a Candidate Apply for the Board Certification Examinations?

There is currently no limit on the number of times a candidate may apply for examination.

What Does It Mean to Be "Board Eligible"?

The ABPN, in accordance with the policy of the American Board of Medical Specialties, does not recognize or use the term "Board eligible" and does not issue statements concerning "Board eligibility." The Board informs an applicant of admissibility to examination only when the applicant has an active, approved application on file in the Board office.



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