Members of the specialty of allergy/immunology are physicians who are specifically trained to diagnose and treat patients who have asthma, allergic and immunologic diseases. An allergist-immunologist is a physician who has successfully completed an accredited educational program in allergy and immunology. A board-certified allergist also holds a certification from the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI).
It 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 in the United States), a physician planning to specialize in allergy/immunology must receive three or four years of residency training either in internal medicine (to become an internist) or pediatrics (to become a pediatrician). Once this primary specialty training is completed it is necessary for the allergy/immunology candidate to pass the certification exam of either the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) or both. To specialize in allergy-immunology the candidate must complete at least two additional years as a fellow in an accredited allergy-immunology training program. This qualifies the individual to sit for the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI) certification exam. To be listed as ABAI-certified it is necessary for the candidate to successfully pass the certifying examination. This demonstrates that the allergist/immunologist has the knowledge, skills, and experience to provide high-quality care to patients with allergic and immunologic disorders.