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What is a Board-Certified Pain Management doctor?

Updated: Aug 18, 2023


Board Certification is an additional step a medical doctor can take to show they are at the top of their profession and delivering high-quality care to their patients. By being board-certified, a doctor demonstrates their expertise in their medical specialty.



Doctor and Patient


Having a medical license to practice in a certain state does not mean you are board-certified. In order to get a medical license, state medical boards require you pass a series of general licensing exams and undergo one to three years of training after being graduated from medical school. The requirements vary by state. In California, one to two years of postgraduate training are required to get a medical license. I have a medical license in California.


To become board-certified, a physician has to complete a specialty-specific residency program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Examples of these specialties include Anesthesiology, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Orthopedic Surgery, Psychiatry, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. After finishing a residency program, you need to get an unrestricted medical license and pass a combination of exams including a written exam, an oral exam, and a practical exam. The requirements are going to depend on the residency you completed. After that, you can get additional training through a fellowship and be subsequently board-certified in that sub-specialty. The requirements, again, are going to depend on the fellowship.


My board certification process in Pain Medicine involved first getting board-certified in Anesthesiology. I completed my general licensing exams during medical school and residency. During my fourth year and final year in residency, I applied for an unrestricted medical license in California. After my residency, I moved to Los Angeles to complete a Pain Medicine fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. During and after my fellowship, I completed the required written exam and oral exams to become board-certified in Anesthesiology by the American Board of Anesthesiology. I followed that by taking the required written exam to become board-certified in Pain Medicine.



The American Board of Anesthesiology Board Certification Specialty Certificate in Anesthesiology, Dr. Brian Lai MD, May 18, 2017 to December 31, 2027

The American Board of Anesthesiology Board Certification Subspecialty Certificate in Pain Medicine, Dr. Brian Lai MD, September 9, 2017 to December 31, 2027


Request an appointment on our contact page and see how I, as a board-certified interventional pain specialist, can get you on your way to getting rid of your pain and living your life.

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