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Alternate Pathway to Certification Policy

ABOG is implementing an alternative pathway to achieve Initial Certification for qualified physicians who have completed training in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB GYN) residency programs accredited by organizations other than the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and achieved OB GYN certification in another country or by another certification organization.





There are conditions on the qualifications acceptable for the OB GYN residency training and the specialty certification. This pathway to OB GYN certification applies to graduates from OB GYN residency programs that are accredited by one of the following:


  1. a recognized international health or government authority or organization
  2. the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
  3. the ACGME-International with Advanced Specialty Accreditation


ABOG policies currently allow qualified graduates of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Programs located in Canada to be eligible for OB GYN certification.


To be eligible for the Alternate Pathway to Certification, physicians must meet the following standards:

1. Have completed appropriate training in an Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program which is accredited by ACGME-I, the AOA or an equivalent national accreditation body. The length of training must be at least 4 years and include obstetrics and gynecology clinical experience. There must be standards for the training program and graduates that are considered equivalent to the ACGME Program Requirements for GME in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

2. Hold an Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certification if an international medical graduate.

3. Have achieved OB GYN certification in the country of training or practice. The certification body must be recognized as a national certification organization. The certifying authority must meet certification standards considered equivalent to the ABMS Standards for Initial Certification and the ABOG OB GYN certification.

4. Hold a state medical license without restrictions and be in practice in the United States for a minimum of two years.

5. Meet medical professionalism and professional standing standards that include denial of any history of:

  • criminal convictions
  • drug and alcohol abuse or addiction
  • adverse actions, conditions, or restrictions on any prior medical licenses
  • adverse actions, conditions, or restrictions on any prior medical staff privileges or appointments.

6. Be a member of a medical staff of a hospital and have full and unrestricted privileges to practice both obstetrics and gynecology that includes admission and management of inpatients. Privileges at an outpatient facility and surgical center do not qualify to meet this standard.

Application requirements must include attestation of medical professionalism, professional standing, communication, fitness for practice, and the quality of patient care from peers familiar with the candidate’s practice in obstetrics, gynecology and women’s healthcare:


  • two (2) letters of endorsement of ability and competence to practice OB GYN independently from ABOG-certified physicians in good standing
  • one (1) letter of endorsement of ability and competence to practice OB GYN independently from a person representing the OB GYN hospital medical staff or department Chair or leader
  • All letters must be from individuals familiar with the applicant’s current practice (through direct experience or knowledge) and attest to the physician’s patient care skills, medical professionalism, and communication skills.


Applicants for certification may submit applications which will be reviewed by the Credentials Committee to approve their qualifications. Applicants must also meet all requirements of the Qualifying Examination Bulletin in the year of application except for the requirements for training in the United States or Canada. The decision of the Credentials Committee is final, and there are no appeals.


All Qualifying and Certifying Examinations will be administered in English, and there will be no translation accommodations offered.


When and if the Board determines that a candidate has met the requirements to take the OB GYN Qualifying Examination, that physician becomes an "alternate pathway candidate." Such individuals will be listed on the ABOG website as "Not Certified" until the certifying examination has been completed successfully. The term "Board Eligible" is not used or recognized by ABOG.


Once approved for eligibility for OB GYN certification, the candidate will be allowed up to eight (8) consecutive years to achieve ABOG certification. This period may be extended on request for subspecialty training, government service, military deployment, or unanticipated personal leave.


Physicians interested in pursuing Alternate Pathway to Certification must first complete and submit this webform.


Updated 9/27/2019 

Revised 6/24/2020 






The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) recognizes that patients have diverse gender identities and is striving to use gender-inclusive language in its publications, literature, and other printed and digital materials. In some instances, ABOG uses the word “woman” (and the pronouns “she” and “her”) to describe patients or individuals whose sex assigned at birth was female, whether they identify as female, male, or non-binary. As gender language continues to evolve in the scientific and medical communities, ABOG will periodically reassess this usage and will make appropriate adjustments as necessary. When describing or referencing study populations used in research, ABOG will use the gender terminology reported by the study investigators.   


Updated June 2021