Requirements for Admissibility

Candidates must apply within three years of completing approved colon and rectal training. The entire certification process must be successfully completed within seven years following approval of your formal application. If your application has been approved but you do not take the examination within three years, you will be required to submit a new application.

In exceptional or unusual circumstances the Board may, at its discretion, waive one or more of these limitations specified.

Requirements for Admissibility

Qualifications for Certification

Candidates must comply with the current regulations of the Board, regardless of when you file your application. Decisions pertaining to requirements fulfillment are made by the Board upon review of your formal application.

General Qualifications

You shall appear personally before the Board and submit to the required examinations.
You shall limit the majority of your practice to colon and rectal surgery.
You may be required to deliver to the Board sufficient case reports to demonstrate proficiency in colon and rectal surgery.
You shall submit a bibliography of papers and books published by the candidate at the request of the Board.
Your moral and ethical fitness must be satisfactory to the Board and in conformity with the Statements on Principles of the American College of Surgeons, and the Principles of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association. Practices not conforming therewith may result in rejection of an application or in deferral of examination until such matters have been resolved.

Professional Qualifications

You must have completed an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency program in colon and rectal surgery following completion of an approved ACGME or Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) general surgical residency program that resulted in American Board of Surgery certification.
You must have a valid, registered full and unrestricted license to practice medicine.
You are required to be licensed throughout the certification process.
You must successfully complete the qualifying examination of the American Board of Surgery (ABS) before being admitted to the ABCRS written examination (Part I).
You must achieve certification by ABS before being admitted to the ABCRS oral examination (Part II).

Case Log Requirements During Colorectal Residency

You must complete a minimum of one procedure in each of the following key index areas:

Eligible Residency Programs


Operative Standards

Read more on the policy for assessing minimum case numbers

Click below for a directory of colon and rectal surgery training programs through the Association of Program Directors for Colon and Rectal Surgery (APDCRS).  

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.