Part II:
Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment Requirements

Acquiring new skills and continually developing your practice is at the core of the Continuing Certification program. Diplomates are required to track progress each cycle through a variety of assessments.

For Diplomates Enrolled in CertLink (5 Year Cycle)

Requirements for Diplomates Enrolled in CertLink (5 Year Cycle)


40 Category 1 CME Credits

The self-assessment requirement is fulfilled by successfully completing the quarterly CertLink Assessment with a passing score of 70%. No additional self-assessment is necessary.

40 Non Self-Assessment Category 1 CME Credits

These CME Credits are formal educational activities that have been accredited by AMA or ACCME. Examples include seminars, conferences, grand rounds, webinars, podcasts, skills courses and departmental scientific meetings. CME courses completed to meet state licensing requirements on topics such as ethics, patient safety, etc., are also acceptable.

Copies of the CMEs and Self-Assessment(s) are not required. But the documentation is subject to audit to assure its validity and reliability.

How to Document CMEs​


The Self-Assessment requirement is fulfilled by successfully completing the Quarterly CertLink Assessments with a passing score of 70%. No additional Self-Assessment CME credits are necessary.

CME Attestation

Resources for Continuing Medical Education (CME)

Resources for Continuing Medical Education (CME)
Access the Continuing Certification Directory for meaningful, practice-relevant CME activities that satisfy lifelong learning and self-assessment requirements, as well as explore the American Medical Association Physician Recognition Award (AMA PRA).

Ethics and Professionalism Policy

Unethical and unprofessional behavior is denoted by any dishonest behavior, including: cheating; lying; falsifying information; misrepresenting one’s educational background, certification status and/or professional experience; and failure to report misconduct. The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy toward these behaviors, and individuals caught exhibiting such behaviors risk being permanently barred from certification, reported to state medical boards, and/or legally prosecuted for copyright or other violations.

Unethical behavior is specifically defined by the ABCRS to include the disclosure, publication, reproduction or transmission of ABCRS examinations, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, verbal or written, electronic or mechanical, for any purposes. This also extends to sharing examination information or discussing an examination while still in progress. Unethical behavior also includes the possession, reproduction or disclosure of materials or information, including examination questions or answers or specific information regarding the content of the examination, before, during or after the examination. This definition specifically includes the recall and reconstruction of examination questions by any means and such efforts may violate federal copyright law. All ABCRS examinations are copyrighted and protected by law; the ABCRS will prosecute violations to the full extent provided by law and seek monetary damages for any loss of examination materials.

Continuing Certification

What does it mean when a physician is required?

Continuing Certification or Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is a process adopted by all 24 ABMS boards that assesses six core physician competencies approved by the ABMS and the ACGME throughout a physician’s career. The six competencies that have been identified as important to deliver quality care are communication skills, professionalism, medical knowledge, patient care, practice-based learning and improvement, which includes the ability to measure, and improve quality of care and system-based practice. All physicians certified after 1990 are required to participate in Continuing Certification.

What does it mean when a physician is required?

Prior to 1990, certification by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery was granted for life. These certified colon and rectal surgeons are not required to recertify or to meet the requirements of Maintenance of Continuing Certification in this area but are strongly encouraged to do so.