Board Eligibility

A physician’s eligibility for AOA board certification begins upon completion of their specialty or subspecialty training program and ends on Dec. 31 of the following sixth year.

Board eligibility status will be automatically terminated in the following circumstances:

  • After completion of the board eligibility timeframe.
  • Upon denial of an appeal to extend the board eligibility timeframe for an individual.
  • Upon award of certification.

The following eligibility requirements must be met for AOA board certification:

  • You must be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine and have completed an AOA or ACGME-accredited training program OR be a graduate of a LCME-accredited medical school and have completed an ACGME-accredited training program.
  • You must hold a valid, active license to practice medicine in a U.S. state, commonwealth, District of Columbia, or U.S. territory.
  • You must adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.
  • You must follow the process as outlined by the board’s requirements and meet any specialty-specific requirements for board certification during the six-year board eligibility period.
  • You must pass all required certification exams.

Re-Entry into the Certification Process

A physician who has not obtained final certification at the end of six years of board eligibility may petition the AOBD for first re-entry into the certification process as outlined in the BOS Handbook (Article VI, Section 3). If unsuccessful in the first re-entry process a physician may petition the AOBD for the final pathway into the certification process. The petition must include:

  • Active valid license to practice medicine.
  • Conformity to the AOA Code of Ethics.
  • Completion of 100 hours of dermatology CME and board review courses within two years of the candidate’s petition to sit for the exam.

If approved by the Board, the candidate must enter at the beginning of the board’s certification process and participate in the first available administration of the exam. The candidate will have two consecutive attempts to pass each step of the exam process.

Right to Appeal

If a candidate feels that the actions of the AOBD with regard to any part of the examination constitute unequal application of the regulations and requirements or standards, discrimination, prejudice, unfairness or improper conduct of the examination, he or she has the right to appeal to this Board by contacting aobd@osteopathic.org. The AOBD will not consider appeals based on examination content, sufficiency or accuracy of answers given to examination questions, scoring of the examination, scoring of answers to individual questions, and/or the determination of the minimum passing score.

Compliance With Federal Regulations

The Board is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for candidates who meet ADA eligibility. The Board will provide or allow the use of necessary auxiliary aids, services or testing conditions that do not fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge intended to be tested.

To effectively implement this policy, candidates must notify the AOBD at the time of application (before or by August 1 of the year of exam). This deadline allows the AOBD to request the necessary documentation, to review the records and to verify the disability.

The Board supports the intent of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for all patients or patient records that may be used as part of any part of the AOBD board certification process.


The AOBD has authority to recommend to the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS) the revocation of any diplomate’s certification that was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation or who exploits the certification, violates the AOA Code of Ethics, or is otherwise disqualified.

Upon official action revoking a certification, a diplomate’s name will be removed from the certification register of the AOA. Reinstatement of a revoked certificate requires review by the AOBD and the BOS Certification Compliance Review Committee