TBCE Reports:  “Diplomates and Certifications"
Written by Editor   
Thursday, August 13, 2015 12:00 AM

One issue that TBCE Enforcement Committee members have seen is the improper use of the term “board certified” by licensees.  The use of this term is allowable if one currently holds a diplomate, fellow, or other certification or credential from a specialty board. Specialty boards award these certifications/credentials to licensees who have completed some specified amount of training and/or examination.

While the TBCE does not regulate these specialty boards, the use of the term “board certified” is regulated by the TBCE.  Many licensees describe themselves in advertising or in their CVs as a diplomate of or board certified by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE).  This is inappropriate, the TBCE states, considering it suggests advanced training.

NBCE Examinations Parts I-IV are a prerequisite to licensure, but completion of these examinations does not grant any certification or diplomate status to licensees. In 1982, the NBCE rescinded the “Diplomate” terminology to avoid any misunderstanding of the distinction as it applied to specialty health care councils.

Only those individuals who received an NBCE Diplomate certificate issued upon successful completion of Parts I and II through the March 1983 administration may use the term “Diplomate” to describe a credential from the NBCE.  Those who completed Part I and Part II prior to 1983 should indicate, “holds NBCE Diplomate Certificate 19XX.”

Any other use of “Diplomate” in any manner in association with NBCE, including advertising or promotional materials, whether intentional or unintentional, is misleading and confusing to the general public and is not permissible. Today, examinees who successfully complete NBCE Parts I, II, III and IV are awarded an NBCE Certificate of Attainment.

Because NBCE examinations are only one portion of the licensure requirements determined by individual states, mention of the NBCE name in promotional materials could be misleading if not fully explained to and fully understood by the public. States may view use of the term “NBCE Diplomate” as a misstatement of credentials and as a cause for action against licensure.

Similarly, the TBCE does not grant to a licensee any status authorizing the use of the term “board certified by the TBCE.” 

Improper use of the term board certified or improper reference to a specialty status in advertising or public communication could be considered false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or unfair advertising.

Board Rule 77.2 provides guidance on the use of the term “board certified.” In any form of public communication using the phrase board certified or similar terminology associated with any credentials, a licensee must identify the board certifying said credentials.

Source:  http://www.tbce.state.tx.us/newsletter/2015/NLJuly2015.pd