Can international facial cosmetic surgeons become board-certified?

Can international facial cosmetic surgeons become board-certified?

If you are a facial cosmetic surgeon with training from a country outside of the United States, it is possible to qualify for board certification from the American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery (ABFCS) with proven experience and credentials. In fact, many board certified facial cosmetic surgeons from countries including India and Greece are deeply involved in our mission today.

What are the criteria for applying for board certification for international facial cosmetic surgeons?

Surgeons who received their training and/or practice in countries outside of the U.S. may qualify to take our ABFCS Annual Certifying Exams by demonstrating evidence of their country’s equivalent of the basic requirements: 

  1. Medical degree (i.e. MD or DO).
  2. Residency training in an approved discipline. These are the disciplines that may qualify: 
    1. Oral and maxillofacial surgery, either single- or dual-degree
    2. Dermatology
    3. Ophthalmology 
    4. General surgery
    5. Otolaryngology
    6. Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  3. Board certification in one of the specialties listed above.
  4. The required facial cosmetic surgery case experience. This may be achieved either through a facial cosmetic surgery fellowship with the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), or via proven experience.

Among our ABFCS Diplomates, there are facial cosmetic surgeons who have trained and/or practice in Greece, India, and the United Kingdom, to list a few examples.

Among our ABFCS Diplomates, there are facial cosmetic surgeons who have trained and/or practice in Greece, India, and the United Kingdom, to list a few examples.

I would like to specialize in facial cosmetic surgery. Is fellowship training available?

Surgeons from all over the world are eligible to apply for the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS)-certified facial cosmetic surgery fellowship. This 1-2 year fellowship takes place at a private practice in the U.S. under the purview of an ABFCS-certified cosmetic surgeon, and if you meet the other requirements, completion of the fellowship qualifies you to apply for our board certification.

The fellowship program requires in-person attendance with one of our fellowship directors here in the U.S. You will receive comprehensive hands-on training with a cosmetic surgery industry leader in the most popular facial cosmetic surgery procedures and non-surgical modalities, including rhinoplasty, cosmetic laser procedures, neck lift, forehead/brow lift, and more. 

I am already a dedicated, full-time facial cosmetic surgeon. Is there an experience route to board certification?

Yes: if you are already a practicing facial cosmetic surgeon, performing these procedures within the scope of your training, our experience route to board certification allows you to petition The American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery (ABFCS) for certification. 

If you are already a practicing facial cosmetic surgeon, performing these procedures within the scope of your training, our experience route to board certification allows you to petition for certification.

Experience route applications are based on case logs, letters of recommendation, your degrees and licensure, and written and oral examination results, among other requirements. Here is what you need to know if you are considering petitioning our board through this process:

  • You will need to meet the same basic standards as facial cosmetic surgeons undergoing fellowship training, including holding valid hospital privileges and prior board certification in your primary specialty.
  • You will need to submit case logs demonstrating 200+ facial cosmetic procedures performed as primary surgeon in a 3-year period, with outstanding results.
  • The ABFCS recognizes additional education and experience only in the area that is consistent with your initial approved board certification. Therefore, general surgeons, and other surgical subspecialists whose training is not facially based, are NOT eligible for certification via the experience route; the pathway to facial cosmetic surgery board certification for these surgeons requires an AACS fellowship.
  • While international facial cosmetic surgeons typically apply via the experience route, we also offer a route in which a surgeon may petition for fellowship equivalence if they completed a facial cosmetic surgery fellowship elsewhere. 

For a detailed list of requirements for both the fellowship and experience routes to board certification, please consult our “How to Apply” page, where you will find an application checklist, credentialing requirements, and surgical log requirements

Do international cosmetic surgeons need to travel to the U.S. to take the board exam? 

No, ABFCS offers the computer-based testing (CBT) written exam via Prometric testing sites near you, and the Oral Exam is administered online via Zoom.

Contact us today to learn more & apply for facial cosmetic surgery board certification outside the United States

We invite you to contact the ABFCS home office with questions about eligibility, the certification process, or how to get started: We are available by online contact form, by email at info@ambrdfcs.org, or by phone at 1-312-340-4788. While we will strive to answer your questions, we are also happy to connect interested surgeons with one of our current international facial cosmetic surgeons to learn more.