Education & Training
Guide to Addiction Medicine Certification
Certification in addiction medicine is offered as a medical subspecialty and is concerned with the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of persons with the disease of addiction, and substance-related health conditions.Step-by-Step Guide to Certification
OverviewASAM is the professional medical society for addiction medicine professionals and the educational resource for certification, recertification, Maintenance of Certification (MOC), Continuing Certification Program (CCP), and Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC). For those interested in specializing in addiction medicine, ASAM can help with preparing for and maintaining certification with exam resources, accredited continuing education (CE) credits, and MOC, CCP, and OCC points.
What is Addiction Medicine?
Addiction medicine is a medical subspecialty concerned with the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of persons with the disease of addiction, of those with substance-related health conditions, and of people who show unhealthy use of substances including nicotine, alcohol, prescription medications, and other licit and illicit drugs.
What is a Certified Addiction Medicine Specialist?
Certified addiction medicine specialists are physicians who demonstrate the requisite knowledge and skills to provide prevention, screening, intervention, and treatment for substance use and addiction with education, experience, and examination. In addition, addiction medicine specialists can recognize and treat the psychiatric and physical complications of addiction. These providers offer value to colleagues, employers, patients, and communities as there is a growing need for specialists who can treat the unique challenges of persons managing the disease of addiction.
ASAM’s Standards of Care for the Addiction Specialist Physician details the expectations for professionalism and practice of an addiction specialist.
Benefits of Becoming Certified in Addiction Medicine
In addition to the benefit of helping individuals, families, and communities in need, here are a few additional reasons to become a certified addiction medicine specialist:
- Value to employers: Addiction medicine specialists have gained in-depth knowledge and skills in addiction medicine and, therefore, can be valuable for any organization. In Academic Medical Centers, ACGME requires that Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program Directors hold current certification in addiction medicine.
- Thought leadership: Addiction medicine specialists have the opportunity to become thought-leaders in the area of their expertise and become widely recognized leaders in the field. ASAM has opportunities at both state and national levels to connect you with other thought leaders.
- Career advancement: The ability to become a thought-leader can further improve career prospects and open up different opportunities in the field. People look for experts, rather than medical generalists, when encountering an addiction-related problem.
- Designation recognition: ASAM’s fellow membership category (FASAM/DFASAM) gives recognition to and raises awareness of ASAM physician members who are board-certified addiction medicine specialists. The FASAM/DFASAM designation can be used on a variety of items like business cards, letterhead, and more as a mark of distinction and achievement.
- Access to Federal Loan Repayment funds: Congress has appropriated funding for up to $250,000 of student loan repayment for physicians who become addiction specialists and practice for 6 years in designated geographic areas.
- Compensation: Generally, specialists have greater earning potential. It is estimated that physicians with board certification earn 67% more than those without it.
- Reimbursement by CMS: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognizes certified addiction medicine specialists as eligible for reimbursement. There is a specific taxonomy code approved by CMS for addiction medicine that went into effect in April 2019 and can be used for National Provider Identifier (NPI) applications.
- Potential federal and state requirements: SAMHSA’s federal guidelines for OTPS specify that it is preferred that OTP medical directors be board certified in their primary medical specialty and in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry. Additionally, state authorities may require that medical directors of certain addiction treatment programs be addiction specialist physicians.
Frequently Asked Questions in Addiction Medicine Certification