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Top 10 General Surgeon Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for general surgeons, highlighting key criteria and requirements for each.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for a general surgeon in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and qualification that employers are looking for. Certified surgeons have proven their knowledge and skills to an independent accredited organization, which provides assurance to potential employers that the surgeon is qualified to perform surgery. Certifications also signify a commitment to continuing medical education and staying up-to-date on the latest developments in surgical techniques and technology. Employers are more likely to hire certified surgeons since they can be sure of the surgeon’s qualifications, competence, and knowledge.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for General Surgeons and explain how they can help to advance a general surgeon's career.

What are General Surgeon Certifications?

General surgeon certification is a voluntary process through which a board-certified general surgeon demonstrates their expertise and commitment to excellence in the field of general surgery. This certification is granted by the American Board of Surgery (ABS) and is valid for 10 years. By completing this certification, general surgeons demonstrate that they have the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to provide safe and effective care to their patients.

By becoming certified, a general surgeon is able to show their peers, colleagues, and patients that they are dedicated to providing quality care. Certification also helps ensure that all patients receive the same high level of care regardless of who provides it. Additionally, certified general surgeons may be eligible for certain privileges such as participation in clinical trials or special research projects. Finally, certification can help a general surgeon maintain professional credibility among their peers in the medical community.

Pro Tip: When pursuing general surgeon certification, make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest medical technology and techniques by attending regular continuing education courses. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure you are providing your patients with the highest quality care.

Related: What does a General Surgeon do?

Top 10 General Surgeon Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to General Surgeons today.

1. American Board of Surgery (ABS)

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) is a non-profit, independent organization that certifies surgeons who have met the highest standards in general surgery. The ABS provides certification for both general and subspecialty surgeons. This certification is earned through a rigorous process of education, training, and evaluation.

To become certified by the ABS, an individual must first complete a minimum of five years of post-graduate surgical training in an accredited program. After completing this training, the candidate must then pass both written and oral examinations to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in general surgery. The examination process typically takes two to three years to complete.

Once the candidate has successfully completed all the requirements, they will receive their board certification from the ABS. This certification is valid for 10 years, after which time recertification may be required.

The cost of becoming certified by the ABS varies based on the type of exam taken and other factors such as travel expenses. Generally speaking, it costs around $2,000-$3,000 per exam.

2. American Osteopathic Board of Surgery (AOBS)

The American Osteopathic Board of Surgery (AOBS) is a certifying board for doctors who specialize in the practice of osteopathic surgery. It is one of the 24 certifying boards recognized by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). The AOBS provides certification to qualified osteopathic surgeons who have completed an accredited residency program and passed all required examinations.

It typically takes four to five years to complete the requirements for AOBS certification. This includes completing an approved residency program, passing comprehensive written and oral examinations, and submitting letters of recommendation from faculty members or other practicing physicians.

To become certified by the AOBS, applicants must first meet eligibility requirements set forth by the AOA. These include having a valid medical license, completing an approved residency program in osteopathic surgery, and passing all required examinations. Once these criteria are met, applicants can submit their application materials to the AOBS for review.

The cost of becoming certified by the AOBS varies depending on which examinations are taken and how many attempts are made at each examination. The fee for taking the Comprehensive Osteopathic Surgical Examination is $1,200 per attempt; however, there may be additional fees associated with other examinations that must be taken as part of the certification process.

3. Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) is a national, not-for-profit organization that sets standards for the medical profession in Canada. It is responsible for the certification of specialists in more than 30 specialties and subspecialties, as well as continuing professional development for its members. It also provides guidance on ethical issues and public health policy.

It takes approximately five to seven years to complete the requirements for certification with the RCPSC. The process includes completing an accredited residency program, passing specialty examinations, and fulfilling other requirements such as ethics training.

To become certified by the RCPSC, you must first be eligible to apply. This involves meeting certain educational requirements such as having a medical degree from an accredited university or college in Canada or abroad, completing a residency program approved by the RCPSC, and meeting any other criteria set out by the college. Once you are eligible to apply, you can submit your application online through their website.

The cost of becoming certified with the RCPSC varies depending on your specialty and whether you are applying for initial or recertification status. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,000 CAD to apply initially and $500 CAD every five years to maintain your certification status.

4. American College of Surgeons (ACS)

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is a professional medical organization that sets the standards for surgical education and practice in the United States. The ACS is composed of surgeons, researchers, and other healthcare professionals who are dedicated to improving the quality of care for all patients.

It takes approximately three to five years to become a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS). To become an FACS, you must meet certain educational requirements, complete a minimum number of years in practice as a surgeon, pass an oral examination, and submit letters of recommendation from colleagues.

To get started on your path to becoming an FACS, you must first obtain certification from the American Board of Surgery (ABS). This certification requires completion of an accredited residency program in general surgery or one of its subspecialties. After completing your residency program, you can apply to take the ABS certification exam. Once certified by the ABS, you can then apply for membership with the ACS.

The cost for applying to become a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons varies depending on your situation. Generally speaking, it will cost around $500-$1,000 for application fees and exam fees. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with obtaining letters of recommendation or taking preparatory courses for the oral examination.

5. American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is a non-profit organization that certifies physicians in the United States. It was founded in 1933 and serves as the umbrella organization for 24 medical specialty boards, which are responsible for the certification of physicians in their respective specialties.

To become certified by an ABMS member board, a physician must complete a residency program in his/her specialty, pass an exam administered by the board, and fulfill any additional requirements set forth by the board. Depending on the specialty, this process can take anywhere from three to eight years.

In order to get certified by an ABMS member board, a physician must first be licensed to practice medicine in the United States. He/she must then apply to one of the 24 medical specialty boards and submit all required documentation (residency training records, letters of recommendation, etc.). Once accepted into a residency program and upon successful completion of it, he/she will be eligible to sit for the board examination.

The cost of becoming certified by an ABMS member board varies depending on the specialty and other factors such as exam fees or application fees. Generally speaking, it can range from several hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars.

6. International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery (ISMICS)

The International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery (ISMICS) is a professional organization that provides educational and scientific resources to promote the development of minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery. It was founded in 1997 by a group of surgeons from around the world who shared a common interest in advancing this field of medicine. The society has grown to include more than 1,000 members from over 40 countries.

ISMICS offers several membership options, including individual, student, and corporate memberships. To become an individual member, you must be a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon or have completed an accredited residency program in cardiothoracic surgery. Student memberships are available to medical students who are interested in learning more about minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery and its applications. Corporate memberships are available to companies that provide products or services related to minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery.

Membership fees vary depending on the type of membership chosen. Individual memberships cost $125 per year, student memberships cost $75 per year, and corporate memberships cost $500 per year. Additionally, there is an application fee of $25 for all new applicants.

ISMICS also offers several educational opportunities for its members such as conferences, webinars, workshops and online courses. These events are designed to help keep practitioners up-to-date with the latest advances in minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery techniques and technologies.

In addition to providing educational resources, ISMICS also works to advance research in this field through grants and awards programs as well as advocacy initiatives that support the advancement of minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery worldwide.

7. American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS)

The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) is an international professional organization dedicated to advancing the science and practice of thoracic surgery. It was founded in 1917 and has grown to become one of the largest cardiothoracic surgical organizations in the world.

In order to become a member of AATS, a candidate must be certified by either the American Board of Thoracic Surgery or another recognized board in thoracic surgery, have at least three years of experience as a practicing thoracic surgeon, and have completed an approved residency program. The application process typically takes between three and six months.

To apply for membership, candidates must submit an application form along with supporting documents such as their medical school transcripts, board certification information, and proof of residency training. There is also a non-refundable application fee that varies depending on the type of membership being applied for. For example, Active Membership costs $500 while Associate Membership costs $250.

Once accepted into AATS, members are eligible to receive discounts on events such as conferences and workshops, access to continuing medical education opportunities, networking opportunities with other members through committees and special interest groups, and access to exclusive publications such as the journal “Annals of Thoracic Surgery”.

8. European Board of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (EBTCS)

The European Board of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (EBTCS) is an international, independent, non-profit organization that certifies thoracic and cardiovascular surgeons in Europe. It was established in 1998 by the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS). The EBTCS provides a unified standard of excellence in the practice of cardiothoracic surgery throughout Europe.

To become certified by the EBTCS, a surgeon must demonstrate knowledge, skills, and experience in the field of cardiothoracic surgery. The process involves passing a written examination as well as completing an oral examination. The written exam consists of multiple choice questions covering topics such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnosis, treatment options, and surgical techniques. The oral examination includes presentation and discussion of cases with the board members.

The certification process typically takes between one to two years to complete depending on the individual's background and experience. To begin the process, applicants must submit an application form along with supporting documents such as their curriculum vitae and medical license. After submitting their application package, applicants will be invited to take part in the written exam which is held twice a year at designated locations throughout Europe. Once they pass this exam they will be invited to take part in the oral exam which is held once per year at EBTCS headquarters in Brussels.

The cost for taking part in both exams is approximately €1 500 (approx US$1700). This fee covers all expenses related to taking part in both exams including travel costs associated with attending each exam session if necessary.

9. World Federation for Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Surgery (WFELS)

The World Federation for Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Surgery (WFELS) is a global organization that promotes the advancement of minimally invasive surgical techniques. It was founded in 2001 and has grown to include members from over 30 countries. The WFELS works to promote education, research, and collaboration among its members.

To become a member of the WFELS, you must first fill out an application form which can be found on their website. Once your application is approved, you will need to pay an annual membership fee of $100 USD. After becoming a member, you will gain access to resources such as webinars, publications, and educational materials related to endoscopic and laparoscopic surgery.

In addition to the membership fee, there may also be additional costs associated with attending conferences or other events hosted by the WFELS. These costs vary depending on the event but typically include registration fees and travel expenses.

Overall, becoming a member of the WFELS takes approximately two weeks from when you submit your application until you receive confirmation of your membership status.

10. International Society for Vascular Surgery (ISVS)

The International Society for Vascular Surgery (ISVS) is a professional organization of vascular surgeons, researchers, and other healthcare professionals dedicated to advancing the field of vascular surgery. It was founded in 1976 and has grown to include over 5,000 members from around the world. ISVS focuses on education, research, and advocacy related to vascular diseases and treatments.

Membership in ISVS is open to any individual or institution who is interested in furthering the mission of the society. To become a member, applicants must complete an online application form and pay an annual membership fee. The current fee for individual members is $150 USD per year; institutional memberships are available for $500 USD per year.

In addition to providing access to educational resources such as journals and conferences, ISVS also offers its members opportunities for networking with other professionals in the field. Members can participate in various committees and task forces that work towards advancing the goals of the society.

ISVS also provides grants and awards for research projects related to vascular surgery. These awards range from $500 - $2,500 USD depending on the type of project being funded.

Overall, membership in ISVS provides individuals with access to educational resources, networking opportunities, grants/awards programs, and more – all while helping advance the field of vascular surgery worldwide.

Do You Really Need a General Surgeon Certificate?

The answer to this question largely depends on your individual career goals. For some people, a General Surgeon Certificate is a necessary part of their professional development, while for others it may not be necessary at all.

For those looking to become certified as a general surgeon, the certificate can provide an important credential that will help them establish credibility and show potential employers that they have the knowledge and skills required to perform the job effectively. The certificate can also demonstrate a commitment to the field of medicine and show that the individual is dedicated to their work. Additionally, having a general surgeon certificate can open up new opportunities for career advancement and growth within the field.

On the other hand, for those who are not interested in becoming certified as a general surgeon or who are already established in their careers, there may be no need for such a certification. In these cases, individuals should consider whether or not having such a certification would add any benefit or value to their current positions or future prospects. If not, then pursuing such a certification may not be necessary.

Ultimately, it is important to consider your own individual circumstances and career goals when determining whether or not you need to obtain a General Surgeon Certificate. Doing so will ensure that you make an informed decision about whether or not this credential is right for you.

Related: General Surgeon Resume Examples

FAQs About General Surgeon Certifications

1. What is a General Surgeon Certification?

A General Surgeon Certification is a type of medical certification that is awarded to surgeons who have met the requirements and standards set by the American Board of Surgery. It is earned after completing an accredited residency program, passing written and oral exams, and demonstrating proficiency in all aspects of general surgery.

2. How long does it take to obtain a General Surgeon Certification?

The process of obtaining a General Surgeon Certification typically takes five to seven years, depending on the individual’s educational background and experience level.

3. What are the requirements for obtaining a General Surgeon Certification?

In order to be eligible for a General Surgeon Certification, individuals must complete an approved residency program and pass both written and oral examinations administered by the American Board of Surgery (ABS). Additionally, they must demonstrate proficiency in all aspects of general surgery through hands-on practice.

4. Are there any continuing education requirements associated with maintaining a General Surgeon Certification?

Yes, individuals with a General Surgeon Certification must complete 50 hours of continuing medical education every two years in order to maintain their certification status with the ABS.

5. Does having a General Surgeon Certification guarantee employment as a surgeon?

No, having a General Surgeon Certification does not guarantee employment as a surgeon. However, it does demonstrate that the individual has met rigorous educational and training standards set forth by the ABS, which may help them stand out from other candidates when applying for positions in the field.

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