Board Certification > Board Certification

Board Certification

Note: If you are considering becoming a Diplomate of the ABIHM, please read this entire page for important information.

Application for certification as a Diplomate of the ABIHM is exclusively for MD or DO physicians who choose to incorporate integrative holistic principles into their practices, and to demonstrate to their colleagues and patients that they have undergone the only comprehensive, peer-reviewed, psychometrically validated examination process in integrative holistic medicine.  The certification enables physicians to obtain a credential that attests to their knowledge in the field and affords them the recognition of having met a recognized standard of achievement. The ABIHM will phase out its certification process exclusive to MD’s and DO’s after the October 31st, 2014 exam.


Requirements at a Glance

1. Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements;
2. Copy or verification of active license to practice within one US state or Canadian province;
3. Copy or verification of previous or current board certification in your conventional specialty;
4. Essay that explains your journey in integrative medicine, focusing on one of ABIHM’s core principles.


The certifying process occurs as a seven year cycle. Maintenance of Certification is required every seven years, but does not involve sitting for the exam again. The following steps are necessary for initial certification:

1. First read the Policy Page, and the Certification FAQ’s Page of our website.

2. You must register online and pay applicable fees to launch the process. Please do not create a profile on the registration page unless you are prepared to make a payment for registration.

3. Log in on the top right yellow “Register or Log In” button of the homepage navigation bar. Read the account page carefully, and scroll to the bottom of the page. Under MY ABIHM, you will find MY CERTIFICATION PROGRESS, where you can upload the following documents: scanned copy or verification of active, unrestricted license to practice medicine within the USA or Canada (expiration date MUST be visible) AND copy or verification of board certification letter or diploma–current or expired–(or residency certificate if board eligible). If you do not wish to scan any documents, it is acceptable to copy and paste verification from your state/provincial medical board’s website and/or verification from your specialty board’s website onto a Word document, provided that we can identify the source and the expiration dates.  Candidates may sit for the exam if board eligible and have completed or are with two months of completing residency, but ABIHM Diplomate status cannot become activated until certification is obtained through an ACGME, AOA, or RCPSC approved specialty. Resident physicians who will graduate on 6/30/14 ARE eligible to take the May exam.

4. You must also upload a 600-1,000 word paper (1-3 pages) describing your “journey” as a physician and any education or interest in integrative/holistic medicine, including your reflection of any one of the 10 Core Principles of Integrative Holistic Medicine.

5. Achievement of a passing score on the certification exam.

Registration OPEN for 2 More 2014 Exams

New and unexpected announcement: Due to overwhelming demand and postponement of the ABoIM exam from May to November 2014, ABIHM has added a cycle of certification exams in 2014:

1. May 5th-16th, Computer Based Exam

2. October 31st, Pencil and Paper Exam, at the conclusion of the 15th Annual Science and Clinical Application of Integrative Holistic Medicine Conference in San Diego.

Click here to initiate registration.

Integrative Medicine: A Specialty in Transition

Since 2000, the ABIHM has been the only board to provide a peer-reviewed, psychometrically validated exam in comprehensive integrative holistic medicine. In November of 2014, that will change, when the emerging American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABoIM) offers its first examination, under the administration of the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). The ABoIM will require a fellowship level of training in integrative medicine. However, physicians who can demonstrate education/experience in integrative medicine by 12/1/16 are eligible to have the fellowship requirement waived. ABIHM Diplomates automatically qualify partially to have the fellowship requirement waived. Please thoroughly read our Specialty Page to fully understand the implications of the new board to you as an ABIHM candidate. The ABIHM offers our upcoming examination above as the final opportunity for candidates to help meet the eligibility requirements of the ABoIM.  ABIHM Diplomates who wish to become certified by the ABoIM must sit for the ABoIM exam. Once the ABoIM exam is launched, the ABIHM will continue to offer community, education, and a high standard of care as we develop our international academy; we will also continue to offer the maintenance of certification process to our Diplomates.

About the Computer Based Exam

Our May 2014 exam is available as computer based exams in 200 cities within the USA and Canada. Please see the Pearson Vue Exam Page to locate a testing site in your area.

To be able to schedule your four hour exam time and date with Pearson Vue within the two week window above, you must have provided payment to the ABIHM and uploaded all of your documents. Once your documents have been verified (always allow 2 business days for document verification to occur), we will than assign a unique Pearson ID to you (allow 7 days from verification to receipt of unique ID#). Once you have received your Pearson ID #, plan to allow up to 14 days before attempting to schedule an exam time with Pearson Vue. In order to choose a preferred testing center and time, it is advisable to become a Completed Applicant well in advance of the April 6th deadline. You must contact Pearson Vue to schedule an exam seating; they will not contact you. The first day that you will be able to schedule an exam seating with Pearson after becoming a Completed Applicant and being given your Pearson ID# is March 10th, 2014.

To learn about Pearson Vue’s identification process, what to expect from your visit to a Pearson Testing Site, and their privacy policies, click here.

Critical Deadlines

All required ABIHM Documents (completed profile, license, board certification documentation, and essay) must be uploaded to your ABIHM account by the following deadlines:

May 5th-16th, 2014 Computer Based Exam: Register and Submit All Documents by Sunday, April 6th, 2014

October 31st, 2014 Pencil and Paper Exam: Register and Submit All Documents by Friday, October 17th, 2014

IMPORTANT: Application components for all ABIHM exams must be uploaded onto your account area and should NOT be mailed, emailed, or faxed to the ABIHM office. Do NOT include CV’s or DEA registrations in your exam registration.

Click here to initiate registration.

Registering and Paying for the Exam

Exam fee for May Computer Based Exam: $975

Exam fee for October 31st San Diego Pencil and Paper Exam: $800 through 10/3/14; $850 through 10/17/14; $900 through 10/29/14. Registration closed after 10/29/2014.

Please read our policies carefully before registering for the exam, which include our cancellation and rescheduling regulations. You are not required to upload all of your documents at the time you register for the exam. As soon as payment for initial certification is complete, the Curriculum Study Guide will appear in your private account area. If taking the May exam, it behooves you to upload your documents as soon as possible after registration to ensure that you may schedule your exam at the Pearson Vue Testing Center location of your choice and the time that you prefer.

See Certification FAQ’s for more details.

Preparing for the Exam

We expect our Diplomates to have a comfortable working knowledge of the material in our Curriculum Study Guide (CSG), which appears as a pdf document in your account area upon exam registration. By no means are all questions on the exam derived from the CSG, and we also advise you to learn from other resources. Please see Resources for Learning for more details. We have launched a robust E-Learning Platform that includes video and audio learning opportunities from our recent Annual Conference (plus opportunities to earn up to 60.5 CME credits if you didn’t attend the November 2013 Annual Conference), and the searchable online version of the CSG. Though the conference speakers are not aware of the exam content, examinees who have attended the Annual Conference tend to find the experience to be beneficial for exam preparation. The ABIHM does not have banked questions from old exams to offer to exam candidates for preparation, but we do provide a two page sample document that can be found in the Downloadable Files section of the private account area, immediately available upon registration and payment.

Board Certification Check-List

1. Add,, and to your address book.

2. After payment, log in to the account page, and read thoroughly. At the bottom of the page under MY ABIHM, complete your profile, and if desired, your list of modalities and a mini web page (published after you pass the exam).

3. Upload required documents (see MY CERTIFICATION PROGRESS under MY ABIHM in your account area). MY CERTIFICATION PROGRESS is the area where you will also ascertain verification of documents and receive your ABIHM test results.

4. Read the files in the DOWNLOADABLE FILES section of the account page.

5. Ascertain that your status is “Completed Applicant”. If you are board eligible, your status will not advance to “Completed Applicant” before the exam. Confirm that your status is otherwise complete with ABIHM office.

6. Use your Pearson ID# to schedule directly with Pearson Vue (see above for more details).

7. Bring proper ID to the examination.

If you have purchased the Curriculum Study Guide (as a pdf document or as a SEPARATE subscription to the Comprehensive E-Guide) no more than one year prior to exam registration, please call this to our attention with an email to when you register for the exam so that your fee can be refunded. No refunds are available for the study guide if purchased as part of a bundled product within the ABIHM Education and Training area such as the multi-media library or other bundled products.