The American Society of Dermatopathology

American Board of Dermatology MOC Requirements

The American Board of Dermatology (ABD) revised its MOC requirements to better align with the needs of its diplomates:

The MOC Component I: Professional Standing (active licensure) has been revised to three components:
  • Annual MOC Fee - $150 per year. 
  • License Attestation – ABD diplomates must attest annually that all their licenses to practice medicine are full and unrestricted. This attestation must occur by December 31st of each year in order to be "participating in MOC." Diplomates must also notify ABD annually whether they are clinically active or not. “Clinically active” is defined as any amount of direct and/or consultative patient care that has been provided in the preceding 12 months. 
The MOC Component II:  Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment (Patient Safety Component) requirements are now administered separately as:
  • Patient Safety – A foundational patient safety course or equivalent learning experience must be performed only once in a diplomate’s career, either before or within the first two years of MOC participation. Learn more about approved patient safety options
  • CME Attestation - Each year, ABD diplomates must attest to a minimum of 25 hours CME accrued within that year. Half of the credits must be within the physician's specialty area or practice (i.e., 50% in dermatology). These hours should be accumulated in dermatologic education, but hours that directly relate to diplomate’s type of practice are also acceptable. All CME credits must be Category 1 and accepted by the Accreditation Council of Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). The American Board of Medical Specialties strongly recommends that 1/3 of each year’s CME credits (e.g., > 8 credits per year) involve CME exercises that are also self-assessment activities.
  • Periodic Self-Assessment – required once in the first three years, repeated again in years 4-6, and years 7-10 of the cycle with 100 question credits for each period. ASDP offers a wide range of periodic self-assessments, both live and enduring online activities. See Sources of MOC below for more resources.
The MOC Component III: Cognitive Expertise (closed book exam) is now the MOC Exam. 
  • MOC Exam – ABD diplomates are required to take and pass a closed-book proctored examination administered by the ABD once per 10-year cycle. The examination is clinically-oriented and is representative of the challenges presented by individual patients seen in the clinical practice of dermatology.
  • The examination consists of two modules and passing both modules is required. Everyone must take and pass a general dermatology module that consists of 100 clinical images followed by a question asking for the most likely diagnosis among 5 distractors. Diplomates may choose from medical dermatology, dermatopathology, surgical dermatology and pediatric dermatology. Dermatology-trained dermatopathologists must choose and pass the second 50-question module on dermatopathology.
  • If you hold a Dermatopathology subspecialty certificate (issued in 2006 or after) you may take this subspecialty recertification exam in sync with the Dermatology recertification by taking an additional module for a total of 3 modules. General Dermatology (100 items), Dermatopathology #1 (50 items) and Dermatopathology # 2 (50 items).  For dermatopathology certificates issued in 2005 or prior, the additional (third) dermatopathology module is not required.
  • Subspecialty MOC sub-certification will be linked to primary MOC: completed MOC requirements for the primary certification will be accepted for the subspecialty. One cannot hold a subspecialty certification without a valid General Dermatology certificate. 
  • Once enrolled in MOC, you may take the examination at any time during years 3-10 of the MOC period and must pass the examination by year 10 of the MOC cycle in order to remain certified. If you take and pass the examination early, no more than 12 years may elapse before taking and passing the examination again. Learn more about MOC exam
  • CertLink® is a new alternative to the current exam for diplomates to fulfill continuing certification requirements launched in January 2020.
The MOC Component IV: Evaluation of Performance in Practice has also been revised:
  • Practice Improvement - Must be completed once in years 1-5 and once in years 6-10. As of January 1, 2015, the Patient Communication Survey and Peer Communication Survey are optional. Only one survey may be used to complete the requirements in each 10-year MOC cycle (i.e., a traditional practice improvement activity must also be completed instead of two surveys).
  • Dermatopathologists not engaged in patient care may be able to use a program ‎developed by the American Society of Dermatopathology (ASDP). The ASDP has 3 self-‎assessment exercises, two that are online and one that is presented at the annual ‎meeting. We will work with Diplomates who primarily are engaged in regulatory or other ‎functions to design programs meaningful to their spheres of expertise.‎The ASDP offers a quality assurance program (see below). 
For additional information on MOC requirements, visit the ABD website at

Sources of MOC

The ASDP offers a wide array of live end enduring activities to satisfy the Periodic Self-Assessment component to choose from:
For a list of Patient Safety and Practice Improvement sources, and additional Periodic Self-Assessments visit

CertLink® is a new alternative to the current exam for diplomates to fulfill continuing certification ‎requirements launched in January, 2020.‎ 
  • Diplomates access a secure portal to answer 13 questions every 3 months. The process is both ‎educational and evaluative. Written references and online resources may be used while ‎answering the questions and immediate feedback is provided. There is no additional cost to ‎participate.‎
  • Individuals with subspecialty certification answer 3 Core (image-based), 4 article-based and 6 subspecialty-‎specific Concentration questions each quarter, and half of their Concentration questions are a harder “level ‎‎2” category of questions. 
  • A diplomate will have 10 minutes to answer each test question. The AMA has approved one credit per ‎article-based question answered, up to a total of 12 credits per year. 
  • A physician certified by the ABD may enroll in CertLink® during the 2020-2022 transition period. At present, the ‎ABD plans to continue offering the traditional exam for those who prefer it. After the transition period, ‎diplomates may continue to opt into CertLink® at any time. In all cases, there will be two entrance dates each ‎year, January 1 and July 1. Diplomates who sign up to join CertLink® by November 15 will begin on January 1, ‎and those who sign up by May 15 will begin on July 1. 
  • The initial enrollment process will vary for diplomates based on where they are in their continuing ‎certification cycle. ‎
  • Diplomates with a continuing certification cycle ending between 2020-2024: ‎
    • Diplomates with a certificate expiring within the next 5 years can either take and pass the traditional ‎continuing certification exam to fulfill the ‘Assessment’ requirement for their current continuing certification ‎cycle OR they can enroll in CertLink by the end of 2021. Diplomates actively participating and performing ‎satisfactorily in CertLink will not need to take the traditional continuing certification exam. Active ‎participation requires answering all assigned questions per quarter for at least 3 quarters per year. ‎
  • ‎Diplomates with a continuing certification cycle ending between 2025-2029: ‎
    • Diplomates in the first 5 years of their continuing certification cycle can either take and pass the traditional ‎continuing certification exam before the end of their current cycle OR they can enroll in CertLink by the end ‎of 2022. Diplomates actively participating and performing satisfactorily in CertLink will not need to take the ‎traditional continuing certification exam. Active participation requires answering all assigned questions per ‎quarter for at least 3 quarters per year. ‎
Updated 4/12/2021