Why See A Board-Certified Allergist?

What kind of doctor is an allergist?

Many patients initially see their primary care physician for their allergy and asthma symptoms. When symptoms are not controlled by over-the-counter medication or some prescriptions, then a PCP physician may refer them to a specialist. An allergist is a physician who has undergone at least two additional years of specialized training in Allergy & Immunology in addition to medical school and residency. Allergists are specifically trained to diagnose and treat patients who have asthma, allergies, and immunologic diseases.

Training Required

It usually takes at least nine years of training beyond a bachelor’s degree for a physician to become an Allergist/Immunologist. After completing medical school and graduating with a medical degree (either MD or DO), a physician planning to specialize in allergy/immunology must next undergo three or four years of residency training either in Internal Medicine or Pediatrics. Once this primary specialty training is completed, the Allergy/Immunology candidate must pass the certification exam of either the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), or both.

Physicians then complete at least two additional years as a fellow in an accredited Allergy-Immunology training program to specialize in allergy/immunology. Once completed, to be listed as American Board of Allergy/Immunology certified, the candidate must pass the certifying examination successfully. This exam demonstrates that the Allergist/Immunologist has the knowledge, skills, and experience required to provide high-quality care to patients with allergic and immunologic disorders.

What Board Certification Means

The American Board of Medical Specialties website describes Board Certification as:

“Specialty certification in the United States is a voluntary process. While medical licensure sets the minimum competency requirements to diagnose and treat patients, it is not specialty specific. Board certification—and the Gold Star—demonstrate a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice.

The Gold Star signals a board-certified physician’s commitment and expertise in consistently achieving superior clinical outcomes in a responsive, patient-focused setting. Patients, physicians, healthcare providers, insurers and quality organizations look for the Gold Star as the best measure of a physician’s knowledge, experience, and skills to provide quality healthcare within a given specialty.”

The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes 145 medical specialties and subspecialties. The American Board of Allergy and Immunology is the only recognized specialty that cares for patients with allergic and immunological diseases.