Q: What’s the difference between the American Board of Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology?

The American Board of Dermatology is an autonomous body that acts as the certifying agency for the specialty of dermatology.

A: The American Academy of Dermatology is the largest national professional society for the specialty of dermatology. It educates dermatologists and the public, and represents the specialty on issues concerning other professional organizations, the public, industry and the government.

Membership is not limited to board-certified dermatologists, but includes other dermatologists, other physicians and healthcare providers from all over the world who have an interest in the field of dermatology.

Q: When I attend program-approved dermatology conferences like the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting, do I count that toward my six weeks per year or 14 weeks total time away from training?

A: Time away spent in program-approved conferences designed to develop dermatology-relevant competencies are not to be used in calculating the total time away from training.

Q: Is the board secretive about the content areas we should expect on the certifying examination?

A: The American Board of Dermatology has created a content grid that maps the various subjects found on the certifying examination. This content grid is used when constructing the examinations of the board and is made available for review by residents and diplomates (see Primary Certification Exam - Examination Content).

Not every item on the content grid is represented equally on the test. Subspecialty competency percentages are defined for each examination. Examples for the Certification Exam include medical dermatology (55 percent), pediatric dermatology (10 percent), dermatopathology (15 percent), surgical dermatology (10 percent), and dermatology basic sciences (10 percent).

The board makes a strong effort to include timely and evidence-based questions with one best answer. All questions are created using evidence-based review, revised and reviewed thoroughly by the test review committee, and re-reviewed by the final examination committee.

Q: Do residents from smaller programs have a harder time passing the certifying exam?

A: There is no data to suggest that there is any significant variance in passing rates for the certifying exam based on residency program size.