Endodontic Board Certification: A Review of Factors Affecting the Certification Rate

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Abstract

Introduction

Board certification identifies clinicians who possess advanced proficiency and expertise within their field. Only 23% of endodontists are board certified (the lowest among all dental specialties). The aim of this study was to determine the factors that influence endodontists’ decisions regarding the completion of board certification.

Methods

A 16-question survey was e-mailed to 5073 US endodontists and residents who are American Association of Endodontists members.

Results

A total of 1603 endodontists and residents responded, corresponding to an overall response rate of 31.6%. Of those respondents, 73.8% felt board certification was important. Among endodontists, 32% were board certified, 24.4% had plans of becoming board certified, and 43.6% had no plans to become board certified. The most common reasons for not pursuing board certification were “graduated too long ago,” “don’t have time,” “process is too long,” and “not required to become an endodontist.” Board-certified endodontists were more likely to believe board certification was important compared with their non–board-certified counterparts (97.5% vs 60.3%, P < .0001), and were more likely to have received training at programs that encouraged and provided assistance in completion of the certification process. Residents were more likely to plan on becoming certified compared with non–board-certified endodontists (89.6% vs 35.9%).

Conclusions

Despite widespread agreement regarding the importance of board certification, a strikingly low percentage of endodontists are board certified. Views provided by endodontists and endodontic residents provide insight that may be used to guide changes that will effectively increase the percentage of board-certified endodontists.

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