Board Certification 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
Diplomates who hold a subspecialty certification must maintain their primary board certification. If you fail to maintain primary certification, the subspecialty certification will no longer be valid. To reinstate the primary certificate and the subspecialty certification, you’ll need to take and pass the primary board certification examination as well as the subspecialty examination. Primary board osteopathic continuous certification must be achieved prior to retaking the specialty exam.
The AOCDEC shall have the power to recommend to the AOA Board of Osteopathic Specialists the revocation of the subspecialty certification of any diplomate whose certificate was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation, who exploits the certificate, violates the AOA Code of Ethics, or is otherwise disqualified.
If your certification was inactivated due to nonpayment of the annual registration fee, reinstatement of your certificate will be automatic once you pay the registration fee. Remedial requirements may be assessed by the specialty certifying board.
If you want to reactivate a lifetime, non-time-limited certification that was voluntarily inactivated at your request, you’ll need to comply with the requirements above, and gain approval from the AOCDEC and the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists. You’ll need to pay any back AOA recertification registration fees, up to a maximum period of two (2) years. Finally, if the specialty certifying board specifies other remedial requirements, you’ll need to meet them.
Depending on the circumstances for inactivation of a non-time-limited certification, the Certification Compliance Review Committee may award a time-limited certification in lieu of the non-time-limited certification. Such action by the Certification Compliance Review Committee may be appealed to the BOS Appeal Committee and, if necessary, the AOA Board of Trustees.
Right to Appeal
The AOCDEC is committed to assuring that aggrieved candidates for certification have access to an appeal process to address concerns regarding all certification and recertification examinations and other decisions of the committee. If you feel that there was bias, prejudice or unfairness in the sports medicine certification exam or from a member of the examination team, or the certification exam failed to follow established procedures, you have the right to file an appeal with the AOCDEC.
Appeals to the board can be made by submitting an Appeal Request Form to a member of the examination team, or by mail, fax or email. The candidate must submit the completed appeal request form within two hours of completion of the exam. Appeals must include:
- Your address and email address
- Date and location of the exam
- Details about why you’re appealing
- Your signature and the date
The exam committee will not consider appeals based on examination content, sufficiency or accuracy of answers to exam questions, scoring of the exam, and/or determination of the minimum passing score.
Appeals will be considered by the AOCDEC. A majority vote of the Committee will determine whether the board accepts or denies the appeal. Candidates will be advised by certified mail of final action of the board within 10 working days.
Compliance with Federal Regulations
The AOCDEC complies with all applicable federal and state regulations, including:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The AOCDEC complies with requirements prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation, as well as regulations for Title II and Title III (and all subsequent regulations) as printed in the federal register.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): In compliance with the HIPAA Act of 1996 and any subsequent modifications, the AOCDEC ensures that individuals’ health information is properly protected, while allowing the flow of health information to provide and promote high quality health care. All medical records submitted for review by candidates for AOCDEC certification will be de-identified by the candidate prior to submission, such that the remaining information cannot be used to identify an individual patient.