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January 30, 1978

Specialty Board Certification Rates: A Longitudinal Tracking Study of US Medical School Graduates

Author Affiliations

From the National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia (Dr Levit), and the Department of Surgery, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland (Dr Holden).

JAMA. 1978;239(5):407-412. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280320023013

This study is a follow-up analysis of increments in specialty board certification rates occurring between 1971 and 1976 for 2,046 physicians who graduated in 1960, 1964, and 1968. Data obtained at 8-, 12-, and 16-year intervals following graduation from medical school indicate that it is not until 12 years' following receipt of the MD degree that most physicians will have entered the certification process or be certified. An additional increment is found 16 years following graduation. At eight and 12 years following graduation, the more recent graduates showed a much higher rate of board certification than earlier graduates at a comparable interval following graduation. Of the total study population, 81% are either board certified or in the certification process. When two essentially office-based specialties are excluded, 92% of the study population have formally entered the certification process.

(JAMA 239:407-412, 1978)