Maintaining Certification FAQ

  • Is participation mandatory?

    Participation is mandatory for diplomates who want to maintain their certification. Certificates are valid for 10 years, through December 31 of the tenth year following certification. Thus, a diplomate certified on January 20, 1998, must complete Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements by December 31, 2008.

  • What happens to my certificate if I don’t participate in the moc program or I fail to meet moc requirements?

    Time-limited certificates will expire if Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program requirements are not met by their expiration date. At that time, inquiries at the board office about a surgeon’s status will be answered by stating the date of his or her original certificate and its expiration date and advising the surgeon is no longer a diplomate of the ABHRS.

    A surgeon whose certificate has expired because he/she simply did not apply to the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program may apply at any time. There is no time limit on regaining certification status through Maintenance of Certification (MOC). Once a former diplomate completes all components including passing the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) examination, he or she will regain certification status.

    A surgeon whose certificate has expired because he/she failed to meet Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements may continue efforts to meet those requirements. If the diplomate fails the re-certification examination there is no limit on the number of times the re-certification exam may be repeated, however after the 3rd exam attempt the diplomate will need to submit an updated Maintenance of Certification (MOC) application with all required documentation from the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Checklist.

  • Will certificates issued through the moc program also be time-limited?

    Yes, Maintenance of Certification (MOC) certificates will be good for a 10 year period, from the date the current certificate expires until December 31 in the 10th year to follow – except that if a surgeon holding a time-limited certificate completes Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements two years or more in advance of his or her original certificate’s expiration date, the new Maintenance of Certification (MOC) certificate will be valid for 10 years from the date the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program is completed.

    Maintenance of Certification (MOC) certificates, similar to original certificates, may be revoked for cause.

  • What are the specific components of the moc program?

    The ABHRS endorses the four principles approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), including: (1) evaluation of professional standing; (2) evidence of lifelong learning and self assessment; (3) demonstration of cognitive expertise; and (4) assessment of practice performance.

  • How will cognitive expertise be demonstrated?

    Candidates must achieve a passing score on a proctored written examination that is psychometrically validated and scored on an absolute standard.

    The Maintenance of Certification (MOC) re-certification examination is administered as a computer based online examintation and is offered in the months of May and September. The Maintenance of Certification (MOC) re-certification examination is proctored by ABHRS selected personnel to ensure the integrity of the examination process and to safeguard exam materials.

  • What is the best way to prepare for the moc exam?

    The exam is based on multiple sources, so there is no course of study, but rather it is best to keep up with the general literature in the specialty. These study materials are recommended:

  • How will practice performance be assessed?

    All Diplomates shall submit a patient outcome monitor for the three years preceding the expiration date of their certificate in the form of any one of the following three items:

    The ABHRS Board of Directors has created 2 practice performance surveys (three-week post-op and one-year post-op) which will serve to assist you in evaluating how your patients view you, your practice, your staff, the procedure the patient underwent, and your facility. You may find blank surveys by clicking the link below.

  • When can I enter the moc program?

    You participate in the program from the first day you are certified by the ABHRS. It is not something you join in the future. You take part in the program as a result of being a Diplomate of the ABHRS. After the expiration of eight years, and prior to the completion of ten years, you will be required to complete an application to take the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) re-certification exam. At the time you complete the application you must self verify you meet all components of the program and take the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) re-certification examination. Upon passing the examination and completing all components, you are re-certified for an additional 10 year period. The ABHRS, at their sole discretion, may ask for additional documentation, if they so choose, for proof of your self verification. The re-certification exam application is available online at or through the Central Office.

  • How long do I have to complete program requirements?

    Candidates may register to self verify completion of applicable components and challenge the recertification examination of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program at the end of their 8th year of certification. Candidates must complete all Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements prior to completion of their 10th year of certification. The ABHRS reserves the right to request additional documentation as necessary to confirm satisfactory completion of professional standards, completion of Continuing Medical Education hours, and proof of practice performance in addition to requiring a diplomate pass the re-certification examination.

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    • How much continuing medical education will be required?

      All Diplomates are required to complete 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every three years. All CME must be AMA PRA Category 1 Credits and 50% of the hours must be specifically hair related (activities sponsored by the ISHRS are recommended). The ABHRS recognizes some international candidates do not have access to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Such candidates should submit comparable credits, as available, from the jurisdiction in which they practice. This component is waived for physicians who practice outside the U.S.A. where continuing medical education credit hours are not offered or available.

      Although a diplomate of the ABHRS is required to keep track of their CME credits, it is not necessary to submit the Self-Declaration of CME attendance every 3 years. The Self-Declaration is submitted at the end of the third, 3 year period in conjunction with applying for the MOC re-certification examination. The ABHRS, in its sole and absolute discretion, reserves the right to request written documented proof of a Diplomates attendance of CME activities as the Board deems fit.

      CME and Meeting Attendance Requirement- per each 3 year period

      1. At least 100 verifiable educational hours/credits* – at least 50% must be specifically hair related (activities sponsored by the ISHRS are recommended).

      • All 100 credits must be AMA PRA Category I Credits (i.e., from programs approved under the auspices of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME);
      • At least 50% of the above hours must be ISHRS sponsored Category I hair related credits or AMA PRA Category I Credits which are directly hair related;
      • The remaining 50 (or less) hours may be any AMA PRA Category I Credits.
      • At least 30 hours must be ISHRS sponsored Category I hair related credits;
      • The remaining credits (in order to reach 50 hair related hours) may be any AMA PRA Category I hair related credits or any hair related hours from programs put on by member societies of the Global Council of Hair Restoration Surgery Societies** (the ISHRS is included in this Council);
      • The remaining 50 (or less) hours to reach the needed 100 hours must be verifiable educational credits (hours) which may or may not be hair related.

      2. At least one ISHRS Annual Meeting must be attended (this is required for both ABHRS and IBHRS).

      3. In addition to another ISHRS sponsored hair related meeting must be attended (this may include another ISHRS Annual Meeting).

      4. ISHRS CME Award satisfies this requirement.

      *Programs must provide documentation of attendance and hours (and content if being used for hair related credits). Credits and hours are synonymous in this context.

      **See ISHRS web site for list of member societies.