Certification Process

Our diplomates demonstrate excellence and expertise to become board eligible.

In order to be eligible to sit for the American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery (ABFCS) board exam, surgeons must have extensive training, a primary board certification, and experience that shows they are prepared to offer safe aesthetic procedures with exceptional results.

Here is a general overview of the certification requirements:

  • Residency training. Fulfill primary residency in an approved surgical specialty.
  • Primary board certification. Obtain primary board certification in an approved surgical specialty.
  • Fellowship training or equivalent experience. Complete the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS)-certified fellowship or an equivalent fellowship; alternatively, qualify with significant post-residency training and facial cosmetic surgery cases.
  • Apply for the ABFCS exam. To sit for the exam, the ABFCS must approve your application, including comprehensive documentation of surgical cases.
  • Sit for and successfully pass the ABFCS exam. Our annual exams are given each fall and include a written and oral component.

For full certification requirements, visit “How to Apply” »

Surgeons may qualify for fellowship training with surgical experience and a primary board certification.

Traditional surgical residency programs do not always offer sufficient training for surgeons to perform cosmetic procedures after residency. For this reason, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) offers an intensive, one year-minimum post-residency fellowship with a mentor surgeon in private practice as one avenue to gaining the experience necessary to become board-certified by the ABFCS.

To be eligible for the facial cosmetic fellowship training program, surgeons must complete a residency that is prerequisite for board certification, as well as hold said board certification, in one of these primary surgical specialties:

  • Dermatology
  • General surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery*
  • Otolaryngology
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery

*While many post-graduate opportunities and certifications are only offered to dual-degree (medical and dental) oral and maxillofacial surgeons, ABFCS provides a path to board certification for oral and maxillofacial surgeons who hold a single degree, as well. Nearly 25% of current ABFCS diplomates are either single or dual-degree oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Candidates for the ABFCS examination must be board certified in their primary area of specialty and hold a valid state license where he/she practices.

We also review experience-based applications for the board exam.

We also review petitions for fellowship equivalency and accept applications based on extensive facial cosmetic experience for surgeons to become eligible for board certification through the ABFCS.

Otolaryngologists, for example, undergo complex training in the head and neck that allows them to perform facial plastic surgery, but it is difficult for general otolaryngologists who want to commit their practice to facial cosmetic surgery to represent this sub-specialty skill and training through a credential.

Through the ABFCS, eligible otolaryngologists who have completed 200+ facial cosmetic procedures as primary surgeons in a 3-year period (among other standards) may apply and potentially qualify for our board exam based on their record of outstanding surgical results. 

ABFCS surgeons undergo recertification every 10 years.

To retain board certification, our diplomates complete 75 hours of continuing medical education and pass a recertification exam every 10 years.