Rheumatology Certification Requirements Made Easy

Rheumatology Certification Requirements

Rheumatology certification requirements changed in March 2016. While some of the of the certification details remained the same, there are differences that you must be aware of in order to complete this process. This article will focus on what you need to know to successfully complete your Rheumatology certification. 

The subspeciality of Rheumatology has particular requirements of a physician. You must already be certified in internal medicine, have completed the necessary fellowship training as part of your medical education, hold a license to practice medicine and have passed the Rheumatology Certification Examination. Additionally, you need to demonstrate clinical competence across several areas including the development of knowledge, advanced skills and behaviors as well as consistently providing competent care to patients. Specialized training must have occurred in an accredited program for a total of 24 months of training. According to the ABIM, the Rheumatology procedure involves, “Diagnostic aspiration of and analysis by light and polarized light microscopy of synovial fluid from diarthrodial joints, bursae and tenosynovial structures; and therapeutic injection of diarthrodial joints, bursae, tenosynovial structures and entheses.” 

Now that you have determined the Rheumatology certification requirements, it is now necessary to prepare to sit for the examination. This exam will test your ability to use clinical judgement, diagnostic evaluation and evaluate your knowledge across different areas. As a certified Rheumatologist, you must be able to identify and treat both common and rare medical disorders. There is a very specific blueprint that is utilized for this exam with topics across of multitude of areas. These areas include the following:

  • Basic and Clinical Sciences                                  
  • Crystal-Induced Arthropathies
  • Infections and Related Arthritides
  • Metabolic Bone Disease
  • Osteoarthritis and Related Disorders
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Seronegative Spondyloarthropathies  
  • Other Rheumatic and Connective Tissue Disorders (ORCT) 
  • Lupus Erythematosus
  • Nonarticular and Regional Musculoskeletal Disorders   
  • Nonrheumatic Systemic Disorders     
  • Vasculitides
  • Miscellaneous Topics

Possible additional areas could include Geriatrics, Pediatrics, and Pharmacology 

The exam is multiple choice with one best answer required focusing on mostly patient scenarios. The examiners are also focusing on the tasks that a physician must complete including diagnosis, interpreting test results, forming recommendations, applying information from epidemiologic research and understanding the pathophysiology of the medical concerns. Once you have completed all the rheumatology certification requirements you are able to prepare to take the test. In order to sit for the exam, an on-line application must be completed with the fees paid. Once this is finished, information will be provided through a letter to schedule the test at a Pearson VUE center. The exam allows up to 10 hours of testing time divided into 4 sessions and breaks (up to 100 minutes) are allowed after each 2 hour session.

Results of your exam take time to receive. However, the longest you will have to wait is 3 months to learn if you have passed. It is always important to be prepared for any examination and it is likely that your studying and preparation for the examination never ended. Keep up the good work! You are capable of achieving this goal with appropriate preparation and practice just be sure to follow all the suggested rheumatology certification requirements. 

According to the ABIM in 2015 94% of those who took the exam passed! 

Did you just pass your Rheumatology exam? Make sure to check out the career possibilities Elliot Health System has to offer.

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