Becoming a Board Certified Pediatrician

The American Board of Pediatrics provides certification and recertification to general pediatric doctors as well as to those who pursue many subspecialties. ABP certification is not required by all employers, but it shows that you have received the best education possible and that you have gone above and beyond to provide excellent patient care.

When to Get Started

If you are interested in becoming a board certified pediatrician, then you will generally do so during your residency once you have graduated from medical school. In fact, members of the ABP will often work alongside your program director to help ensure that you get the education you need to succeed. It truly is a wonderful opportunity and one that you should take very seriously during your residency.

Certification Requirements

The ABP will certify both American and Canadian students who have met the criteria required for the certification and who have passed the necessary exams. In order to qualify for certification, you will need to have successfully completed your medical school program and three years of pediatric training in a program on the advice of the Review Committee for Pediatrics or accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in the United States. If you are in Canada, you’ll need to have a valid, unrestricted medical license and three years of training in a facility accredited by the RCPSC, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

About the Exams

Whether you are interested in becoming certified as a general pediatrician or in a subspecialty, you’ll need to pass the initial certifying exam. It is possible to score 300 points on the exam, and the passing score is declared as 180, which is a reflection of what the ABP deems to be the minimal amount of knowledge required to pass. Passing rates for the exam are generally very high but they do vary based upon the location in which the exam is given.


The ABP will also provide certifications for subspecialties provided that the qualifications have all been met, including both the General Eligibility Criteria and the Eligibility Criteria for the Specific Subspecialty. You can find all of these online through the ABP website, and they include Adolescent Medicine, Pediatric Cardiology, Child Abuse Pediatrics, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Pediatric Endocrinology, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Pediatric Nephrology, Pediatric Pulmonology, and Pediatric Rheumatology.

Added Qualifications

Branching out even a bit further than a specific subspecialty, you can even choose to add a special qualification to your certificate. These include Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Medical Toxicology, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, Sleep Medicine, Sports Medicine, and Pediatric Transplant Hepatology. You can find the information about all of the qualifications for certification at the ABP website, found here.

Becoming a board certified pediatrician not only helps you find better employment once you are ready to do so, but it can also help you enjoy a higher salary and more job security in the long run. After all, parents and caregivers of sick or injured children want only the best care for their kids, and APB certified doctors are the ones who provide it.