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Training and Initial Certification

2023 Written Exam - Key Features Pilot

The American Board of Thoracic Surgery will be pretesting questions within the December 2023 Qualifying Exam (QE).  The questions will not be identifiable to the examinee.  These pilot questions will not be counted toward the examinees’ overall examination performance.  The purpose of pretesting these questions is to gather statistical data for the construction of future examinations. Sample pilot questions can be found HERE.


2023 Exam Dates
Applications - Closed 
Written Exam:  December 4-8

Board Eligible
The Board will recognize an individual as being "Board Eligible" when he/she/they has an approved application on file with the Board.

Examination Blueprint
The blueprint for the Written Exam is now available for candidates.

Written Exam Blueprint  


5-Year Pass Rate
Click Here  to view the Pass Rate for the past 5 years.

Pathways to

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Exam Dates
and Fees

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ABTS Oral Exam Orientation Video for Candidates
Candidates for both the Primary and Congenital Oral Examinations are encourage to view an Orientation Video by Dr. Stephen C. Yang, the ABTS Examination Chair, before taking the certifying exam.

New Certification Operative Pathway
The American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS) has approved a new Cardiac Operative Pathway for certification for residents who start their training on or after July 1, 2022.  To learn more about the Cardiac Pathway Index Case Requirements, click HERE .

Alternate Pathway to Certification

The 2023 application process for the Alternate Pathway to Certification is closed.  The Alternate Pathway to Certification is for truly exceptional cardiothoracic surgeons who are International Medical Graduates.  To learn more about this pathway and the application process, CLICK HERE.

Part I (Written) Exam
The ABTS will be using the 8th edition of the American Joint Commission on Cancer TNM staging system for the Part I(Written) Exam

The Board does NOT consider SESATS a primary reference guide for the Part I (Written) Examinations.  The Board encourages candidates to consider preparing for the Written Exam by using more formal reference materials, such as cardiothoracic textbooks, journals, and courses. The Board uses SESATS as a basis for its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Exam.

Pearson Testing Center
To learn more about the test taking experience at Pearson Testing Centers, please Click Here.