Absence from Training Policy


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The ABA has established certain training requirements for a candidate to enter its exam system. The following outlines permissible absences that will not result in delay in a candidate being eligible to enter the exam system:

  • Without prior approval from the ABA, a resident may be absent from training up to a total of 60 working days (12 weeks) during the CA 1-3 years of training.
  • Attendance at scientific meetings, not to exceed five working days per year, shall be considered part of the training program and not count toward the absence calculation.
  • Residents should also comply with the policy of the institution and department in which that portion of the training is served for the duration of any absence during the clinical base year.
  • The ABA will consider requests for up to 40 additional days (8 weeks) away from training (over and above the 60 working days). Such additional leave of absence time must be approved by the ABA as follows:
    • Any request for such leave must be received by the ABA within four weeks of the resident’s resumption of the residency program.
    • The request shall be in writing from the program director, countersigned by the department chair (if that person is different than the program director), and the resident.
    • The request must include: (1) the reason for the absence training request (as an example, serious medical illness, parental or family leave that are covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act would be reasons acceptable to the ABA) and (2) documentation about how all clinical experiences and educational objectives will be met.

Absences in excess of those described above will require lengthening of the total training time to compensate for the additional absences from training. The additional training days required will be equal to the total number of working days missed beyond (1) the 60 working days (without need for ABA approval); and (2) the additional 40 working days (approved by the ABA).

Residents who have their residency extended may sit for the Summer ADVANCED Exam if they complete all requirements by Sept. 30 of the same year. They may sit for the Winter ADVANCED Exam if they complete all requirements by March 30 of the same year.

A lengthy interruption in training may have a deleterious effect upon the resident’s knowledge or clinical competence. Therefore, when there is an absence for a period more than six months, the ABA Credentialing and Continuing Certification Committee shall determine the number of months of training the resident must complete subsequent to resumption of the residency program to satisfy the training required for admission to the ABA exam system.


The Absence from Training Policy provides residents with additional time away from training for family and medical leave without extending training, where applicable. The following guidelines are designed to help program directors manage requests related to this policy.

Qualifying Circumstances for Extended Leave (up to 40 additional day/eight weeks)

This policy is designed to align with circumstances covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows for reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. These reasons may include:

  • The birth and care of a newborn, adopted or foster child
  • The care of an immediate family member (child, spouse or parent) with a serious health condition
  • The resident’s own serious health condition
Health Conditions Deemed “Serious”

A serious illness is defined as an illness, injury, ailment, impairment or physical/mental condition that involves an overnight hospital or hospice stay or ongoing medical treatment by a healthcare provider. Ongoing or continuous treatment by a medical provider generally includes:

  • An incapacitated state lasting longer than three consecutive days and/or subsequent treatment that involves a regimen of continuing treatment beyond drinking fluids, bedrest, exercise or taking overthe-counter medicines.
  • Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or prenatal care
  • Any period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term
  • Any period of incapacity for treatment of chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.
  • Any absence or period of incapacity resulting from multiple treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis or physical therapy

These conditions should keep the resident or an immediate family member from performing his/her job, attending school or doing other routine activities that would allow the resident to perform at his/her normal capacity.

Conditions or Circumstances Not Covered by This Policy

Our Absence from Training Policy should not be applied to routine medical exams or checkups (e.g., physicals or dental exams), common colds, flu, earaches, stomach aches or other routine doctor visits or ailments. This leave may also not be used for jury duty, non-medical-related appointments, vacations or other routine life occurrences. Conditions not considered serious for purposes of this policy include:

  • The common cold, flu, earaches and other ailments mentioned above, unless complications arise
  • Routine medical exams
  • Conditions requiring over-the-counter medication, bedrest, drinking fluids, exercise and similar activities that can be applied without a visit to a healthcare provider
  • Cosmetic treatments unless they require inpatient hospital care or complications arise
Qualifying for Additional Time
  • A letter of request from the residency program director must come within four weeks of the resident’s resumption of training.
  • Request letters must be in writing from the program director and countersigned by the resident and department chair.
  • Requests must include the reason for the leave, which should align with the reasons outlined in the guidelines with documentation about how clinical experience and educational objectives will be met.
  • Requests must be approved/supported by the program prior to submission to the ABA. Programs have the discretion to decline resident requests.
  • If the resident does not qualify for the additional absence from training that was previously taken, his/her residency training may be extended to compensate for the additional absence, per the policy.