General Surgeon Board Certification

Board certification requires a physician to complete training in a residency program and pass an examination in the field. The American Board of Surgery (ABS) tests and certifies eligible individuals in the specialty field of general surgery. Physicians must fulfill the following requirements to obtain board certification:

General Surgeon Education & Training

  • Completion of undergraduate and graduate education (a baccalaureate degree and a medical degree)
  • Completion of a 5-year residency program in general surgery. This includes specialized knowledge of the abdomen; alimentary tract (digestive organs); breast, skin, and soft tissue; comprehensive trauma management; critical care; endocrine system; head and neck; surgical oncology (management of screening, surveillance, surgical therapy, rehabilitation, and follow-up with cancer patients); and vascular (circulatory) system.
  • Residency program requirements differ for each of the surgical specialty areas; for example, thoracic surgery requires 5 years of general surgery training plus 2 years of training in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. For more information about residency requirements for each specialty, visit the American College of Surgeons website.
  • Competence and knowledge must also be demonstrated in geriatric surgical requirements and diagnostic and therapeutic techniques.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Oct 2001

Last Modified: 02 Sep 2015