Training Requirements

Training programs in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery in the United States are evaluated by the Residency Review Committee for Otolaryngology (RRC), which consists of representatives from the American Medical Association (AMA), the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the ABOto, and are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).  Information concerning approved educational programs can be found in the Graduate Medical Education Directory published by the American Medical Association.

Individuals who enter otolaryngology-head and neck surgery training on or after July 1, 2005 must satisfactorily complete a minimum of five years of training, as specified below, in an ACGME-approved program(s):

Residency programs must be of five years duration, with at least nine months of basic surgical, emergency medicine, critical care, and anesthesia training within the first year; including at least 48 months of progressive education in the specialty.  This training must include a final year of senior experience.  This final year must be spent within the accredited program in which the previous year of training was spent, unless prior approval is obtained from the ABOto.
The first year of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery training should include a minimum of five months of structured education in at least three of the following areas: general surgery, thoracic surgery, vascular surgery, plastic surgery, and surgical oncology.  In addition, one month of structured education in each of the following four clinical areas: emergency medicine, critical care unit, anesthesia, and neurological surgery.  An additional maximum of three months of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery is optional, and any remaining months of the PGY-1 year must be completed in  an ACGME approved program, or rotations specifically approved by the RRC.