Maintenance of Certification FAQ

Click on any link below for Q&A.

You may be asking: WHY SHOULD I PARTICIPATE IN MOC? Some advantages of completing ABPP MOC include participation in insurance panels, hospital privileging and verification of MOC participation by interested third parties. Should a third party inquire about the basis for a pre-1/1/2015 specialist’s decision to opt out of MOC they will be told that the specialist was not required to complete MOC. ABPP will leave the interpretation of this decision to the interested third party. This may be particularly important for psychologists who obtain ABPP board certification to demonstrate expertise in legal settings.

Correspondingly, for many specialists there may be no distinct advantage to opting in to MOC.  We encourage you to examine what is involved in completing MOC, weigh this against the value of opting into or out of MOC, and determine what is best for you.

This option only applicable to those who were board certified in a specialty board before 1/1/2015.  All others must complete their Maintenance of Certification.

If you OPT IN to MOC, you must complete your MOC documentation no later than 2025. If you OPT OUT you will not receive any further reminders from our office. Again, you will not have your certification taken away if you choose to opt out of MOC if you were board certified before 1/1/2015.  If you would like to DECIDE LATER or DO NOTHING, you will receive monthly email reminders each month to remind you to make a decision to opt in or out.

You will be able to submit your decision for  Maintenance of Certification after you review exactly what MOC is before you make the decision to opt in/opt out, by logging in there is no obligation.  If you are having difficulty logging into the site, please send email to MOC@abpp.org.

Maintenance of Certification (MOC) involves a process of self-examination and documentation of one’s continuing professional development since the last examination or review.  MOC involves documenting the professional activities you routinely engage in that demonstrate your continuing professional development. The documentation utilizes a grid and narrative that focus on your area(s) of practice.

After you complete and submit the online form, a member of your specialty board will review it to verify that your submission demonstrates involvement in activities that maintain your specialty-related competence. ABPP MOC is not a re-examination, but rather a demonstration of ongoing professional development that goes beyond simple participation in traditional continuing education activities.

ABPP developed MOC as a result of converging forces within psychology and the broader healthcare community, including public advocacy groups that insist upon competent practice throughout the career of a psychologist. In reality, psychology competencies have a limited half-life. Because of this the ABPP Board of Trustees concluded that regular demonstration of competence is necessary for the ABPP certificate to continue to be a viable and credible credential.

All ABPP specialists who are board certified after January 1, 2015 must demonstrate Maintenance of Certification every ten years. Although all board certified Specialists are encouraged to participate in the MOC process, those boarded before January 1, 2015 can waive their obligation to participate in Maintenance of Certification.

Specialists will be notified by ABPP Central Office that they may go online to submit their MOC. The online form will include a Continuing Professional Development (SCPD) Grid and a narrative (most specialty boards set a maximum of 750 words) that asks practice-area focused questions.  If a specialist does not provide evidence of competence in a required area of practice during the initial specialty board review, the specialty board reviewer will contact the specialist and assist him or her in remediating the submission. If necessary, the specialist will be allowed one year to resubmit the MOC materials to satisfy the MOC standards for the specialty. If the specialist does not provide satisfactory documentation, the specialist’s certificate is not maintained. As with their initial ABPP examination, specialists are afforded two levels of appeal of any specialty board decision.

There is no fee for participating in MOC.

Anyone board certified after January 1, 2015, is required to complete the MOC process. If you were board certified before January 1, 2015 you will need to choose to opt in or opt out MOC for any specialty in which you have been certified (before January 1, 2015).  However, we encourage you to participate in MOC as it is consistent with ABPP’s philosophy that all psychologists should demonstrate their continuing competence.

Recognizing that a psychologist’s circumstances change, specialists may initially decide to waive MOC then later reconsider and participate in MOC. If you waive MOC initially, then, later, decide to participate in MOC you will need to contact our central office or email moc@abpp.org.

No, however, if you are required to participate in MOC (those board certified after January 1, 2015) or you elect to participate in MOC and do not complete the process or do not complete the process successfully, your certification will not be maintained.

No. There will be no special notation or designation on a specialist’s certificate if he or she waived MOC. However, once ABPP offers MOC, it will become public knowledge. Should a third party (e.g., insurer, hospital privileging committee, a member of the public) inquire as to whether a specialist waived or participated in MOC, ABPP Central Office is obligated to answer the inquiry accurately.

Pilot testing of the MOC resulted in the determination that more user-friendly web-based forms for an online submission would be helpful. ABPP has, as of April 2016, initiated the formal roll out of the MOC. The ABPP Central Office will announce to eligible specialists that their MOC process is operational; CO is opening MOC participation as each specialty board is ready, anticipating that all Specialty Boards will be engaged in MOC participation by September 2016.

Specialists will be reminded by the Central Office about MOC and the need to opt in or out (if boarded prior to January 2015) and also given a reminder that the MOC is due on the anniversary of their original board certification (e.g., 1987, 1997, 2007 would be due 2017). However, if a specialist decides not to complete MOC on his or her anniversary, the specialist may postpone MOC until the 8thyear of MOC (2023). During this 8th year of MOC, all specialists who did not elect to complete MOC on their anniversary date must complete MOC.

Yes, but not before you have been board certified for at least 8 years (rounded to January 1; e.g., someone board certified August 8, 2008 becomes eligible January 1, 2016).

Of course, for specialists for whom MOC is voluntary, when he or she decides to begin the MOC process depends on personal and professional preferences.  Factors you might consider include current and future work and other responsibilities, and your future practice plans.  For example, one specialist shared with us that he planned to begin the MOC process approximately 9 years before his anticipated retirement, so that he could claim that MOC throughout his planned practice.

ABPP Central Office will notify specialists (via email address that is on file), at the 8th year of board certification when the specialist’s MOC is due.

All specialty boards have their own MOC grid to fill out. But, a specialist will be able to download their MOC and cut and paste any information onto another grid if it will help with filling out multiple boards.  Of course, it is incumbent upon multi-boarded specialists to satisfy the specialty-specific requirements of every specialty or subspecialty in which they are boarded.

Yes. It is possible to fail MOC if you do not demonstrate that you have maintained the foundational and functional competencies specified by your Specialty board.

Yes. If there is a problem with your submission you are offered feedback and an additional year to remediate your submission. If you do not remediate your MOC submission, you will not maintain your certificate.

Yes, but you will need to provide an explanation of the hardship and your explanation will need to be accepted by the specialty board.