As ABO board certification becomes more valued in the optometry profession and our number of Diplomates grows, I often get asked how our fees compare to other medical boards. This can be a tough question considering the vast difference in size of many board organizations. Covering operating expenses for a board with 80,000 members can be quite different than covering operating expenses for a relatively new board with 3,000 members.
ABO board certification was developed based on the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) model. As such, our fee structure closely resembles that of ABMS member boards. We have an application fee, an exam fee and an annual MOC fee. This, however, is where many of the similarities end. As a smaller board, ABO has several advantages as well as disadvantages that play into establishing fees.
- Small staff
- Large volunteer base
- Wider choice in vendors
- Limited operating expenses
- Smaller number of members to generate revenue
- Minimum pricing levels set by vendors
When ABO was formed in 2010, our goal was to keep the program as affordable as possible while maintaining quality, value and relevance. Six years later, this is still our goal. We operate with a lean staff and budget and have developed relationships with vendors that allow us to offer a high quality program with reasonable expenses. We also have a tremendous network of volunteers and subject matter experts who work with ABO to provide high-quality exam content and learning modules. ABO is working hard to ensure our Diplomates are being assessed fair and reasonable fees for participating in a valuable, high-quality board certification program. Below is a chart that provides a simple comparison of fees charged by ABO as well as similar medical board organizations.