Written Exam


To be eligible for certification in Correctional Medicine, candidates must meet the criteria below:

  • Hold active primary certification from one of the AOCCMEC participating specialty boards:
    • American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians
    • American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine
    • American Osteopathic Board of Preventive Medicine
  • Satisfactorily complete a two-year AOA- or ACGME-approved fellowship in Correctional Medicine.
    • If the applicant did not complete such a fellowship, he or she may be eligible to apply via the clinical practice pathway if the applicant has:
      • Completed the Bureau of Prisons basic course OR has earned at least 30 hours of in-person CME in Correctional Medicine in the last 36 months, followed by a formal assessment.
      • Spent a minimum of 20% of practice time in the field of Correctional Medicine over the last three years.
      • Note that the clinical pathway option expires with the 2019 examination.
  • Hold an unrestricted license to practice in a state or territory.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.


At the time of application, you must submit the following to the AOCCMEC:

  • Completed electronic application
  • Two identical passport-sized photos
  • Copy of your AOA-approved internship certificate
  • Copy of your AOA-approved residency certificate
  • Copy of your AOA-approved fellowship certificate
    • If applying via the clinical practice pathway, you must submit the following instead of a fellowship certificate:
      • Documentation of completion of the Bureau of Prisons basic course OR 30 hours (within 36 months preceding the application deadline) of in-person CME in Correctional Medicine.
      • Documentation of a three-year period in which a minimum of 20% of practice time was in Correctional Medicine.
  • Ten textually referenced multiple-choice questions on Correctional Medicine. References must include title, date of publication (within the last 5 years), author and page numbers. Candidates are eligible to receive one AOA Category 1-B CME credit per question.
  • Copy of your primary board certification certificate.
  • Copy of your current state medical license.

Exam Fees

An application fee of $100 and an exam fee of $1,200 must accompany your completed application. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Correctional Medicine Written Exam is offered once a year, generally every fall. The application period opens in the spring and applications are due July 1.

Exam Content Outline

The written exam will assess the candidate’s knowledge and clinical judgment in aspects of correctional medicine required to perform at a high level of competence. It consists entirely of 100 multiple-choice questions on the below topics:

Subspecialty Certification
Trauma and Emergencies a. Seizures 1% b. Chest Pain 1% c. Fractures 1% d. Hypertensive Crisis 1% e. Dysrhythmias 1% f. Allergic Reactions 1% g. Withdrawal 1% h. Overdoses 1% i. Acute Mental Status Changes 1% 9%
History and Referrals 10%
Chronic Illness a. Diabetes 1% b. Hypertension 1% c. CAD 1% d. CHF 1% e. Thyroid Disease 1% f. HIV 1% g. Hepatitis C 1% h. Hepatitis B 1% i. Paraplegia 1% 9%
Psychiatric a. Behavior Disorders 1% b. Bipolar 1% c. Anxiety/Panic Attacks 1% d. Sleep Disturbances 1% e. Schizophrenia 1% f. Suicide 1% g. Depression 1% h. Food Strikes 1% i. Psychosis 1% 9%
Management 9%
Levels and Continuity of Care a. Short-Term Unsentenced Detainees 4% b. Long-Term Sentenced Prisoners 4% 8%
Special Populations a. Youth 3% b. End of Life 1% c. Elderly 2% d. Victimization 1% e. Language Barriers 1% f. Homosexuals 1% g. Transsexuals 1% h. Death Sentence 1% 11%
Female a. Pregnancy 4% b. Other 4% 8%
Infections a. TB 2% b. Syphilis 1% c. Herpes 2% d. MRSA 2% e. Fournier’s Gangrene 1% f. GC and Chlamydia 1% 9%
Law and Regulations a. Federal 5% b. State and Local 5% 10%
Other a. Dental 4% 8%

The AOCCMEC neither provides nor endorses any preparatory guides, study methods or review courses. Extensive self-study of Correctional Medicine in texts, journals, participation in CME programs and review courses in Correctional Medicine can be useful.

Exam Scoring

Scoring Criteria

AOA reports candidates’ certification results using standardized scaled scores. Scaled scores are more valid and reliable compared to raw scores and make scores comparable across different forms of the exam. The AOA reports scores on a 200 to 800-point scale with a scaled score of 500 or higher required to pass.

  • A scaled score of 500 represents the minimum level of knowledge and skill necessary to pass the exam as established by AOA Certifying Boards.
  • The highest possible scaled score is 800.
  • The lowest possible scaled score is 200.
  • Overall scores are based on the total number of items answered correctly, regardless of content area.

Results by Content Area

  • When possible, a breakdown of exam scores by content area is provided to help you identify your areas of strength and areas that may need more development.
  • The number of items for each content area indicates the relative amount of test questions on the exam for that content area.
  • Content area scores are not weighted to calculate your overall score; each content area is scored separately after the overall analysis is complete.