Exam Policies

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.

Code of Conduct: Irregular or Improper Behavior

Because of the AOA’s commitment to the high level of confidentiality and integrity of our certifying board examinations, board examination results and questions of improper conduct are reviewed by board members. Improper behavior, including but not limited to, giving, receiving, or otherwise obtaining unauthorized information or assistance, looking at or utilizing the test material of others, taking notes, failing to comply with computer site staff instructions, talking with other candidates or other disruptive behavior will be considered cause for review of conduct and a possible violation of the certification process. Candidates must not discuss the examination while the session is in progress. Candidates must not disclose the contents of the examination to others or reproduce the examination or any portion of the examination in any manner, including without limitation reconstruction through memorization, electronic means, or dictation. All AOA examinations are copyrighted and protected by federal law. The above policies apply to all examinations administered by any AOA specialty certifying board.

It is a criminal offense to copy or reproduce any portion of the certifying examinations. Each board will monitor examinations for irregular or improper behavior by direct observation, statistical analysis, and by other means. Irregular or improper behavior will constitute grounds for invalidation of the candidate’s examination and each board reserves the right to invoke other sanctions, such as exclusion from future examinations, revocation of board certification, and reporting misconduct to censing bodies or law enforcement agencies.