American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery


Applications and a finalized Case List are due by November 1 for the following year’s examination.

There is an application fee of $975 and an examination fee of $1350.

  • Four sessions of 25 minutes each with five-minute breaks between.
  • In each of the four sessions the Candidate is examined by two Examiners.
  • In each of the four sessions the Candidate will be examined on a maximum of 3 of their 12 cases.
  • There are also required Briefing and Debriefing sessions before and after the ABOS Oral Examination. These each last approximately 45 minutes.
  • A Candidate must have passed the ABOS Part I Examination within five years of taking the ABOS Part II Examination. Time spent in fellowship education after passing Part I will not count as a part of the five-year time limit.
  • Possess a full and unrestricted license to practice in the United States or Canada or be engaged in full-time practice with the Federal Government.
  • Have started practice and been granted hospital admitting and surgical privileges on or before November 1st, 20 months prior to the examination.
  • Be continuously and actively engaged in the practice of operative orthopaedic surgery, other than as a resident or fellow, in one location for at least 17 consecutive full calendar months.

The candidate is to collect all consecutive operative cases, including same-day-surgery, for which the Candidate was the primary operating surgeon for six consecutive months beginning April 1 of the year prior to the examination.

ABOS Oral Examiners use the Scoring Rubric to judge each case in six areas.. Each Examiner also judges the Candidate in three global areas as listed on the scoring rubric.

For purposes of the ABOS Oral Examination, the primary surgeon is the responsible surgeon for the key and critical portions of the procedure. It is recognized that certain complex, multidisciplinary procedures lend themselves to multiple different procedures on different regions of the body. Under these circumstances, there may be more than one primary surgeon participating during an operation.

If the Candidate is away from their practice for 14 or more consecutive days during the case collection period for any reason, the starting point for the collection period must be backed up from April 1 to March 1. If the candidate is not engaged in active surgical practice for more than 30 consecutive days during the collection period, please contact the ABOS office.

If a Part II Candidate changes practice location or association or acquires new hospital staff privileges or affiliations within the immediate seventeen (17) month period, new information will be required to be submitted by the applicant, and there is a chance the Credentials Committee will defer that individual for one year in order to obtain more information about the Candidate’s practice situation and to let that situation stabilize.

The candidate has five years to take and pass the ABOS Part II Oral Examination, excluding fellowship, before he or she must retake and pass the ABOS Part I Examination.

Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) are outcome measures that are directly reported by the patient to help better understand a treatment’s efficacy. PROs have been used at many facilities to assist surgeons in evaluating their practices. The ABOS has begun using PROs to assist in the Certification and Recertification processes. Collecting PROs will also contribute to a surgeon’s continual practice improvement. The requirements have changed slightly depending on the year you are taking the examination. For more information, visit this page.

The ABOS has several videos that can help you prepare.


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