What is the ACBSP™? What are the CCSP® and DACBSP® certifications?

Since 1980, the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians™ (ACBSP™) has led the development of sports medicine certification and has managed a world-class credentialing process that ensures certified sports chiropractors meet competency standards to effectively work with and treat athletes and those engaged in athletic activities. In addition, ACBSP offers continuing education and research seminars to facilitate the dissemination of the latest scientific knowledge, treatment trends, and best practices for patient care. ACBSP is the certifying agency for chiropractic sports medicine and the sole chiropractic sports medicine certifying agency recognized by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). There are two levels of post-graduate chiropractic sports medicine certification. The first is the Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician® (CCSP®). The second is the advanced sports medicine certification, the Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physician® (DACBSP®).  ACBSP is the certifying board for chiropractic sports medicine doctors while the American Chiropractic Association Council on Sports Injuries and Physical Fitness (ACA Sports Council) is a trade organization like the ACA. The purpose of a trade organization is to assist its members to develop business. ACBSP does not have members, rather it has certificants. The purpose of the ACBSP is to determine and maintain minimum competency evaluation standards for chiropractic sports medicine and to ensure the integrity of the CCSP and DACBSP certifications. ACBSP governs and administers the CCSP and DACBSP certifications. Various accredited chiropractic colleges offer the curricula and training leading to qualification for taking the certification exams. The ACBSP governs the administration of the examinations and certifications. These certifications are designed for chiropractic doctors who want to specialize in chiropractic sports medicine. The CCSP certification is pre-requisite to the DACBSP certification. Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician®The CCSP certification requires post-graduate education in chiropractic sports medicine or a closely related discipline. Licensed doctors of chiropractic who satisfy one of the following, and are able to provide official documentation demonstrating such, are eligible to take the CCSP examination. 

  1. Completed a minimum of 100 hours of postgraduate education in the Certified Chiropractic Sports Physicians® program from an accredited chiropractic college.
  2. Possess a current Athletic Trainer (ATC) Certification
  3. Completed a Masters of Science (MS) program in exercise and sport science or equivalent program from an accredited college
  4. Completed the first year of a sports medicine residency program with an accredited college

All candidates must have completed a hands-on emergency procedures course and a healthcare-provider level CPR certification course with a hands-on component as part of their program or study or in addition to their program. Online CPR courses that do not include a live assessment component are not acceptable. Candidates must provide documentation of successful completion of both courses prior to sitting for the exam. The CPR certification must be valid on the exam date. Once these requirements are met the doctor may submit application to the ACBSP national office to take the CCSP written exam. The exam consists of 250 multiple-choice questions and is administered in two parts on the same day. The entire exam, including the instruction period and mid-exam break, is typically scheduled for a five-hour session. CCSP certification candidates may attempt the exam up to three times and must pass the exam within three years of the date of completion of the qualifying post-graduate education program. Diplomate American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians® The CCSP certification is pre-requisite to earning the DACBSP certification. Earning the DACBSP certification requires successful completion of a written exam, a six-station practical exam, a written project, and 100 hours of practical experience in the field. Licensed doctors of chiropractic who satisfy one of the following, and are able to provide official documentation demonstrating such, are eligible to sit the DACBSP examination: 

  1. Active Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician/Practitioner® (CCSP®) with completion of minimum of 200 hours postgraduate education in the DACBSP Program, from an accredited chiropractic college
  2. Active Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician/Practitioner® (CCSP®) with completion of a Masters of Science (MS) degree in an equivalent program in the domain of sports medicine.
  3. Completion of a sports medicine residency program in its entirety.

DACBSP candidates must maintain their CCSP certification in a current and active status with the ACBSP. If the doctor’s CCSP certification is found to not be in good standing with the ACBSP that status of the certification must be rectified prior to be permitting to taking the exams or acceptance of field hours or the written project. DACBSP certification candidates may attempt the written and practical exams up to three times and must pass both of the exams and complete the practical experience (field hours) requirement within three years of the date of completion of the post-graduate education program. The candidate must successfully complete the written project requirement within five years of the date of completion of the post-graduate education program. Certification Maintenance and Continuing Education RequirementsWhile the ACBSP™ certifications do not have an expiration date, the doctors who hold the certifications must meet an annual continuing education requirement to remain active. The ACBSP maintains continuing education and CPR certification standards so that all active certificants maintain their competency in their specialty field of chiropractic sports medicine. These standards are designed to protect the integrity of ACBSP certificants and the patients they serve. The ACBSP Board of Directors reserves the sole and exclusive right to revise the certification maintenance requirements. Currently the certification maintenance requirements are as follows. 

  1. All CCSP® certificants are required to attend 12 hours of continuing education specific to the topic of sports medicine each calendar year.
  2. All DACBSP® certificants are required to attend 24 hours of continuing education specific to the topic of sports medicine each calendar year.
  3. All certificants must maintain active healthcare provider level CPR certification at all times from the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or equivalent certification.
  4. All certificants must pay an annual maintenance fee set by the board of directors.
  5. All certificants must complete a certification maintenance registration form annually. The web-based registration form requires each active certificant to:
    1. Provide current personal and business demographic data.
    2. Attest to his/her current compliance and continued compliance with the requirements of the ACBSP Certification Maintenance and Continuing Education Policy.
    3. Attest to his/her acceptance of the Certificant and Candidate Agreement and Release.
  6. All ACBSP certificants are required to maintain personal records as evidence of meeting the requirements described here.

Failure to comply with ACBSP™ certification maintenance policies will result in the individual’s certification being designated as inactive. Once the certification is placed into inactive status, the doctor is prohibited using the certification marks of the ACBSP and from identifying themselves as certified by the ACBSP, until such time as active certification status has been granted by ACBSP, within its sole and exclusive authority. Once the certification is designated as inactive the doctor’s information will be removed from the online Certificant Directory on the ACBSP website.  The annual maintenance fees paid by active certificants support board and organizational business operations including direct and indirect costs related to providing certificant and certification management services. Functions of the business operations include but are not limited maintaining the integrity of the certification exams and the certification process as well as certificant services and management. The fee for the 2017 certification maintenance period is $125 when paid prior to January 31, 2017 and $150 when paid February 1, 2017 or after. If a certificant allows his/her certification to lapse into inactive status and wishes to reactivate his/her certification a $50 administrative fee will be assessed in addition to all certification maintenance fees due.