The Pathway to Certification

The ABFAS certification ensures that board certified surgeons have completed appropriate training, successfully performed a diverse range of foot and ankle surgical procedures, and passed our extensive examinations. The importance of board certification is reflected in trends by hospitals, surgicenters, managed care organizations, and insurance carriers to require physicians to have specialty board certification.

The following steps detail the certification process

  • Education


    The first step toward certification is completion of a four-year doctoral training program at one of the nine podiatric medical colleges accredited by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME).

  • Training

  • Clinical Experience


    Candidates applying for Board Qualified status must submit residency logs through the Podiatry Residency Resource (PRR).

    Candidates applying for Board Certification must log all procedures from January 1, 2009 or from July 1 of the year Board Qualified status was attained, whichever date is later, into the Podiatry Logging Service for Surgery (PLS). The ABFAS will select a required number of foot surgery cases and a required number of reconstructive rearfoot/ankle surgery cases from the PLS log and request complete documentation. Candidates must log all cases where they are the surgeon of record.

    In addition, candidates participating in the Case Evaluation process will be requested to submit a list of cases for a specific date range performed at a specific facility where the candidate has surgical privileges. The ABFAS will compare the facility list to the candidate’s PLS list for audit purposes.

  • Board Qualification


    To become Board Qualified in Foot Surgery, a candidate must complete the appropriate CPME-approved training program, pass Part I of the certification examination in Foot Surgery or Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle Surgery, and complete PRR case documentation. Board Qualified in Foot Surgery is a prerequisite for Board Qualified in RRA. Individuals who are Board Qualified are not members of ABFAS but are “in progress.” Board Qualified surgeons may not promote their status on letterhead, publications, or other advertisements.

    Part I Examination

    The Part I examination, which consists of a didactic (multiple-choice) section and a Computer-based Patient Simulation (CBPS) section, demonstrates a candidate’s cognitive knowledge and clinical reasoning skills in the medical, intraoperative, and perioperative care of the foot and ankle of podiatric surgery patients.

    Part I Examination.pdf
  • Board Certification

  • Maintenance of Certification


    Maintenance of Certification/Self-assessment

    ABFAS assesses members’ surgical abilities every 10 years using a written examination.  In addition, members must also demonstrate current active surgical practice by submitting proof of active surgical privileges from a hospital or surgery center.

    To give members adequate opportunity to recertify before their certification expires, members have a three-year window in which to pass the examination.  They can take it in the eighth, ninth, or tenth year following their initial certifications, and similarly, every 10 years after that.

    Members who became certified prior to 1991 take a self-assessment examination rather than a recertification examination, and are still required to show proof of active surgical privileges.

    If you apply for recertification in 2017 and thereafter, these will be the requirements:

    1. Maintain a valid, unrestricted podiatric license in the United States or Canada.
    2. Maintain active surgical privileges at either an accredited hospital or surgical center.
    3. Obtain 200 continuing education credits (Category 1 or CPME-approved) per 10-year-cycle.
    4. Take a secure examination consisting of the fundamental diagnostic skills, medical knowledge and clinical judgment to provide quality care every ten-year certification cycle.

    Read the MOC program documents here:

    ABFAS 111-2019 Maintenance of Certification (SAE) for Diplomates with Lifetime Certificates

    ABFAS 112-2019 Maintenance of Certification Program for Time-Limited Certificates 

Become Certified​

Certification in Foot Surgery indicates that a podiatrist has demonstrated a cognitive knowledge of podiatric surgery, including the  diagnosis of general medical problems and surgical management of foot diseases, deformities, and/or trauma, and those structures which affect the foot and ankle.

Certification in Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle Surgery indicates that a podiatrist has demonstrated a cognitive knowledge of podiatric surgery, including the diagnosis of general medical problems and surgical management of foot and ankle diseases, deformities, and/or trauma, and those structures that affect the foot, ankle, and leg.

Certification in Foot & Ankle Surgery

Diplomates certified in Foot and Ankle Surgery must take a self-assessment examination every 10 years.

Since 2004, diplomates certified in Foot and Ankle Surgery can voluntarily convert to certifications in both Foot Surgery and Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle Surgery by participating in a process developed by the Board of Directors detailed in ABFAS Document 112.

Diplomates who convert must recertify every 10 years.