There are different pathways through which physicians and non-physicians may become certified addiction medicine specialists.
There are several pathways for physicians to become certified addiction medicine specialists. There are also pathways available for non-physicians to achieve certification. Explore some of the certifying boards below to determine if you are eligible and how to qualify.
If you are eligible to sit for a certification exam, ASAM offers high-quality exam prep resources.
Once you have achieved certification, ASAM provides a catalog of courses that satisfy many boards’ maintenance of certification requirements.
Certification Pathways for Physicians
The American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM)
The ABPM administers the board exam for Addiction Medicine (ADM). Detailed information about the exam, application process, and eligibility pathways is available on the ABPM website.
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
The AOA administers its board exam for addiction medicine certification. As of May 26, 2021, MDs may also take the AOA addiction medicine certification exam, in addition to DOs. Detailed information about the exam, application process, and eligibility pathways is available on the AOA website.
The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN)
Board Certification in addiction psychiatry is a subspecialty exam that involves focusing on evaluation and treatment of individuals with alcohol, drug, or other substance-related disorders, and of individuals with dual diagnosis of substance-related and other psychiatric disorders. Detailed information about the exams, application process, and eligibility pathways is available on the ABPN website.
The International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM)
ISAM administers a credentialing process and exam for international practicing physicians in addiction medicine that assures the public that the holder has the prerequisite knowledge competence to practice in that field within the confines of his/her medical license. Detailed information about the exams, application process, and eligibility pathways is available on the ISAM website.
Note: Prior to 2016, the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) provided a pathway to become certified as an addiction medicine specialist. ABAM is no longer an active certification board. However, addiction specialists certified by ABAM can maintain their certification by adhering to ABAM’s transitional MOC requirements, which can be found on the ABAM website.
As additional background, ASAM administered an exam for physicians to be certified in addiction medicine from 1984 - 2008. The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) began administering the exam in 2010. ASAM-certified physicians can be verified by contacting ASAM.
Certification Pathways for Non-Physicians
The Addictions Nursing Certification Board (ANCB)
ANCB administers nursing specialty certification exams for registered nurses and registered nurses of advanced practice committed to the prevention, intervention, treatment, and management of addictive disorders. Detailed information about the exams, application process, and eligibility pathways is available on the ANCB website.
The National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCC AP)
NCC AP administers voluntary national and international certification exams intended for counselors working within substance use disorders/addiction-related disciplines who wish to demonstrate their skills gained through years of supervised work experience. Detailed information about the exams, application process, and eligibility pathways is available on the NAADAC website.