Physician Certification in Hyperbaric Medicine

Fee: $1,220
Exam format: 160 questions
Certification duration: 10 years

This exam is available to all MD & DO physicians. All candidates must:

  • Have an active valid US physician medical license
  • Have attained a primary board certification in an ABMS approved specialty
  • Provide verification of supervision of a minimum of 300 hyperbaric patient treatments within the prior 2 years
  • Have attended a primary training program approved by either the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine, the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, the US Department of Defense, or completed an approved hyperbaric fellowship
  • Provide a letter of Verification from program Medical Director or hospital administrator documenting good standing and active status of professional credentialing
  • Have an active membership in good standing with the ACHM

You will need to take the examination within a year’s timeframe of receiving your approval letter. Failing to test within one year will result in the loss of your examination fee.


After the initial certification period of 10 years, clinicians wishing to maintain active status of their certification in clinical hyperbaric medicine must take the recertification exam as well as confirm continued active practice in hyperbaric medicine. Recertification candidates must submit verification of supervision of a minimum of 100 hyperbaric patient treatments during the period of the prior 12 months. Successful completion of the recertification process will provide a 10 year renewal of the certificate of added qualification.

Exam Preparation: To prepare for the exam, you are encouraged to study HYPERBARIC MEDICINE PRACTICE 2nd and 3rd Editions by Eric P. Kindwall MD and Harry T. Whelan MD.

What is the difference between ABMS Board Certification vs ABWH Certification?

The ABWH does not administer a “board exam”, as relevant legal opinion and case law indicates that the terms “Board Examination” and “Board Certified” can be used ethically only by one of the 28 boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). While the ABWH anticipates eventual recognition by the ABMS, until this recognition occurs the ABWH can only confer on the successful applicant a Certificate of Added Qualification and Specialty Certification in the field of Clinical Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine.

For physicians who do not qualify for the ABPM or ABEM Hyperbaric Board Exam, the ABWH examination process is an excellent and recommended pathway for certification. The prerequisites for sitting for the ABWH Physician Certification in Hyperbaric Medicine are nearly identical to the prerequisites now demanded by the ABPM and the ABEM during the “grandfathered” practice track period. Applicants must be an ethical hyperbaric practitioner and a member of the ACHM, provide documentation of several criteria including completion of a 40-hour course in Clinical Hyperbaric Medicine approved as a core curriculum by the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine, the US Department of Defense, or the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, or have completed a one year approved fellowship in Clinical Hyperbaric Medicine. He or she must also submit documentation of supervision of at least 300 hyperbaric treatments.

The ABWH Physician Certification in Hyperbaric Medicine will require and attest to the same basic skills and knowledge now required by the ABPM and the ABEM. It will recognize and certify hyperbaric competence for mid-career physicians who cannot divorce themselves of their practices for a full year’s hyperbaric fellowship or for those physicians who do not meet the criteria to sit for the ABPM/ABEM. It will continue provide a pathway for certification once the ABPM/ABEM closes the practice track. It will provide nationally recognized credible evidence of competence to credentials committees, UHMS Hyperbaric Accreditation Survey Teams, and the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation.

The ABWH Physician Certification in Hyperbaric Medicine is endorsed by the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine. Successful completion of the ABWH examination process by members of the ACHM allows application for the special recognition and distinction as Fellows of the ACHM and use of the designation FACHM.