Urology board certification is something that a urologist seeks in the immediate years after completing a urology residency and training. Board certification adds an extra "stamp of quality" to a urologist in practice. It confirms that the urologist has satisfied standards set for what is considered high-quality practice of urology. It generally involves a written and live exam.
The American Board of Urology sets standards for certification, recertification, and subspecialty certification in urology. According to the American Board of Urology: “To become certified, a urologist must have core competencies in all domains of urology, including but not limited to pediatric urology, endourology, female urology, andrology, oncology, urolithiasis, and general urology."
Although board certification in urology is strictly voluntary, you might have a lot more reason to trust someone who has passed the urology boards and maintains certification as years go by. The goal of certification is to ensure that urologists develop and maintain high-quality care practices.
Urology Subspecialty Board Certification
There are some cases in which you may be in need of a urologist with a particular subspecialty focus. For example, if you have kidney stones, you might want to find a urologist whose practice focuses on treating the issue -- preferably one who is board certified. If it is your child who needs to be treated, you'll want to seek out a pediatric urologist, and so on. Ask your referring physician for recommendations. You can also ask more about a particular urologist's training when you call to make your appointment.
Before you choose a urologist, there are other things that you might want to understand before you select a urologist:
- What is a urologist?
- What training is necessary to become a practicing urologist?
- What conditions does a urologist treat?
Maintaining Board Certification
Continuing medical education (CME) seminars are one way that urologists keep up with changes in the practice of urology. These seminars usually focus on smaller target areas in urology, such as pediatric urology or female urology. You may want to find out if your urologist is continuing to keep up with the changes in the field.
Need to find a urologist, or determine if yours has a particular specialty or subspecialty? Search by state or name on UCompare HealthCare, a free service of About.com.
Kogan BA, Trustees of the American Board of Urology. Demystifying the ABU (and interpreting the alphabet soup of acronyms associated with it). Can J Urol 2008 15(6):4349-52.
Shortliffe, L. Certification, recertification, and maintenance: continuing to learn. Urol Clin N Amer 2009 36:1:79-83.