What is the difference between board certified and non-board certified surgeons? January 21, 2023 Surgeons can practice medicine with or without board certification. However, board-certified surgeons have taken the extra step to gain recognition from the American Board of Medical Specialties. This certification indicates a dedicated expertise in the surgeon’s field of practice. Both Dr. Downey and Dr. Bullocks are board-certified specialists in their field, which gives them the unique opportunity to provide expert care to each of their patients.