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What is board eligible?
Board eligible refers to doctors who have the right to take a board exam that will make them board certified. These are doctors who have completed their residency in a specialty or subspecialty of medicine, but they have yet to take the test or have taken it and failed.
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Someone who has graduated from medical school is a doctor. But that person can’t practice medicine until he or she are licensed.
In each state, there are rules for granting a medical license, but they are similar from state to state. All states require additional training called residency before granting a license.
Residency lasts three to seven years, depending on the specialty, before a doctor can become board eligible and take the test for certification.
A board exam is administered by a certifying organization in its medical specialty. For instance, a dermatologist has five years of board eligibility, including a practice requirement, to take the certification exam of the American Board of Dermatology.
When a doctor does not achieve initial certification within the board eligible period, that physician is no longer eligible for certification until completing all requirements of the exam board that oversees certification in his or her specialty.
To be sure, there are 24 medical specialty boards, with 85 percent of doctors certified in at least one specialty.
Should they fail to pass their exam within the exam period for their specialty, doctors will have to go through a re-entry process set by their board to be given a second eligibility period.
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Board eligible example
Jane is a dentist who has completed her specialty residency and is seeking certification for emergency dental issues. However, she is only allowed to do this after she has met the residency requirements of emergency medicine. Once Jane becomes board eligible, she can take the board exam. If she passes the exam, she will become board certified in emergency medicine.