Dermatopathology Subspecialty Certification Exam


To be eligible for examination and certification in Dermatopathology, the applicant must meet all of the following minimum requirements.

  • Be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine.
  • Hold an unrestricted license to practice in a state or territory.
  • Hold primary board certification from the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology (AOBD) or the American Osteopathic Board of Pathology (AOBP).
  • Complete a one year AOA-approved postgraduate training program in Dermatopathology.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.


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

  • A copy of your osteopathic medical school diploma.
  • A copy of your medical license.
  • A copy of your Dermatology or Pathology board certification.
  • Proof of one year of postgraduate training in Dermatopathology and letter of recommendation from program chairman.

Exam Fees

An application fee of $1,800 must be submitted with your completed application, either by check or credit card. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid. No amount of the examination fee paid shall be returned after the application has been processed.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Dermatopathology Subspecialty Certification Exam will be offered Sept. 27, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee. If no exams are currently listed, please check back soon to find out when future exams will be offered.

Exam Content Outline

The Dermatopathology Subspecialty Certification Exam consists of three parts: Part 1: Written Exam The Written Exam portion contains questions covering representative topics, as follows:

  • Genodermatoses
  • Noninfectious erythematous papular and squamous diseases
  • Vascular diseases
  • Noninfectious vesiculobullous and vesiculopustular diseases
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Drug eruptions
  • Photosensitivity disorders
  • Disorders associated with physical agents
  • Noninfectious granulomas
  • Degenerative diseases and perforating disorders
  • Nutritional deficiency and gastrointestinal disease
  • Metabolic diseases of skin
  • Inflammatory diseases of epidermal appendages and cartilage
  • Inflammatory diseases of the subcutaneous fat
  • Bacterial disease
  • Treponemal diseases
  • Fungal disease
  • Protozon disease
  • Parasitic infestations
  • Viral disease
  • The histiocytoses
  • Pigmentary disorders of the skin
  • Benign pigmented lesions and malignant melanoma
  • Tumors and cysts of the epidermis
  • Tumors of epidermal appendages
  • Cutaneous lymphomas and leukemias
  • Tumors of fibrous tissue
  • Vascular tumors and tumor-like conditions
  • Tumors of fatty, muscular and osseous tissue
  • Tumors of neural tissue
  • Metastatic carcinoma of the skin

Part 2: Clinical Images Clinical dermatology with pathological correlation, electron microscopy, mycology, entomology, etc. Part 3: Digital images of glass slides Candidates will examine sets of representative slides or digital images of glass slides and answer a series of multiple choice questions. Slides will be viewed using ImageScope, an Aperio program that serves as a “virtual microscope,” allowing examiners to slide and rotate images with a scanning power up to 40X. It is highly recommended that candidates download the free Aperio ImageScope to become familiar with manipulating digital slides prior to the exam. Alternatively, candidates may sign in as a guest on Aperio’s slidehosting site to browse slides. More information can be found in the Orientation to Using Virtual (Digital) Slides for Certification Exams.

Dermatopathology Certification & OCC
Genodermatoses 2%
Noninfectious Erthematous Papular and Squamous Diseases 4%
Vascular Diseases 3%
Noninfectious Vesiculobullous and Vesiculopustular Diseases 3%
Connective Tissue Diseases 3%
Drug Eruptions 3%
Photosensitivity Disorders 3%
Disorders Associated with Physical Agents 2%
Noninfectious Granulomas 4%
Degenerative Diseases and Perforating Disorders 3%
Nutritional Deficiency and Gastrointestional Disease 2%
Metabolic Disease of Skin 2%
Inflammatory Disease of Epidermal Appendages and Cartilage 4%
Inflammatory Disease of the Subcutaneous Fat 2%
Bacterial Disease 2%
Treponemal Disease 2%
Fungal Disease 3%
Protozon Disease 3%
Parasitic Infestations 3%
Viral Disease 5%
The Histiocytoses 2%
Pigmentary Disorders of the Skin 3%
Benign Pigmented Lesions and Malignant Melanoma 6%
Tumors and Cysts of the Epidermis 6%
Tumors of Epidermal Appendages 2%
Cutaneous Lymphomas and Leukemias 4%
Tumors of Fibrous Tissue 5%
Vascular Tumors and Tumor-Like Conditions 3%
Tumors of Fatty, Muscular and Osseous Tissue 3%
Tumors of Neural Tissue 2%
Metastatic Carcinoma of the Skin 3%

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.

Exam Failure

A candidate who fails any part of the exam may apply to retake that part when the next exam is conducted. If any part of the exam is failed three times, the candidate will be required to complete additional training assigned by the Board prior to re-applying to take the exam.