ABFM Family Medicine Certification

The Family Medicine Certification process, provided by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), is the means by which the ABFM continually assesses its Diplomates.

Being board certified by the ABFM demonstrates your commitment to an ongoing process of keeping up-to-date and striving to deliver the best care possible to your patients and your community.

This voluntary process emphasizes the importance of ongoing participation in activities that assess the following physician characteristics:
  • Professionalism
  • Self-Assessment and Lifelong Learning
  • Cognitive Expertise
  • Performance Improvement.

To maintain your certification, you will need to complete all requirements of the Continuous Certification Process. This process is divided into continuous three-year stages, with an examination every 10 years. Within each stage, there are minimum requirements for Knowledge Self-Assessment and Performance Improvement activities, as well as total points and continuing medical education (CME) credits. Every 10 years, you may choose to either take the one-day examination or participate in the alternative Family Medicine Certification Longitudinal Assessment (FMCLA) method for demonstrating cognitive expertise. Additionally, you must always remain in compliance with ABFM Guidelines for professionalism, licensure, and personal conduct. ABFM recommends that you participate in at least one certification activity per year to say current with your certification; however, because that’s not always possible, there is flexibility built into the process and the required activities may be completed at any time during each three-year stage.

Your certification means a lot! However, sometimes navigating through the Family Medicine Certification (FMC) process can get a tad confusing, especially if you are doing it on your own for the first time. We understand and the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP) is here for you!

The OAFP  offers the following programming and resources to assist member-diplomates in meeting their ABFM certification requirements:

As a family physician who is participating in continuous certification, benefits you will realize include:
  • Recognition of your ongoing efforts to keep up to date in your medical knowledge and to improve the care you provide to patients and your community. Patients place faith in board certification and expect that it reflects ongoing education and practice improvement activities. They understand that keeping current requires constant work and practical application.
  • Independent assessment of your medical knowledge, which will help with your ongoing learning. Studies have demonstrated that physicians often don’t recognize what they don’t know; Board certification helps with this.
  • Ongoing participation in a series of certification activities that you and your peers engage in to collectively ensures that all board-certified family physicians meet high standards of knowledge and trustworthiness. Numerous studies have demonstrated that certification is associated with greater expertise in family medicine, improvement in the quality of care delivered, and fewer adverse medical license actions.
  • Recognition by patients, other physicians, hospitals, insurers, employers, and the public that you have met high standards of physician quality. They believe that board-certified physicians are better physicians.


Please contact Director of Foundation & Strategic Programs Kaitlin McGuffie or call 800.742.7327.

Disclaimer: Page content and images shared with permission directly from the ABFM website.