- You must be a graduate of an AOA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine.
- You must hold an active license to practice in a state or territory.
- You must be able to show evidence of conformity to the AOA Code of Ethics.
- You must be a member in good standing of the AOA or the Canadian Osteopathic Association at the time of application.
- You must meet all specialty-specific requirements for board certification, which may include training and/or documented professional experience.
- You must pass all required certification examinations, which may include written, oral and/or clinical practice components.
Primary certification represents a distinct and well-defined field of osteopathic medical practice. Physicians earn primary board certification when they meet all requirements of the certifying board for a specified field of medicine.
Subspecialty certification is a modification of a primary certificate to reflect additional training of at least one year in length and satisfactory completion of certifying examination in that field. The training required for subspecialty certification must incorporate a specific and identifiable body of knowledge within the broader practice of the primary specialty. For example, a physician can hold general certification in family practice, with subspecialty certification in geriatric medicine.
The AOA’s Department of Certifying Board Services administers the processes of board certification and osteopathic continuous certification for 18 specialty certifying boards, offering certifications in 29 primary specialties and 77 subspecialties. View the full list.
A conjoint examination program is formed when the identifiable body of knowledge for subspecialty certification overlaps more than one specialty or subspecialty area.
Certification of Added Qualifications. This is a term used solely by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians (AOBFP) to describe a subspecialty certification obtained under AOBFP’s jurisdiction.
Duration of the certification process varies by specialty. Please view requirements from your specialty board to learn more.
In 2013, all AOA specialty boards transitioned to osteopathic continuous certification (OCC), replacing the previous recertification process. All certificates are time-limited for 10 years or less. You are eligible to participate in OCC even if you hold a non-expiring certificate. The following chart outlines certificate time limits for each osteopathic certifying board.
|SPECIALTY BOARD||TIME LIMIT (IN YEARS)|
Neurology & Psychiatry
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Ophthalmology & Otolaryngology
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Once the AOA Department of Certifying Board Services receives your recommendation for certification from the specialty certifying board, your certification will take approximately eight weeks to process.
The AOA is the final approving body for board certification. Prior to activation, AOA staff will verify that your training has been deemed complete by the program, specialty college and the AOA. You will receive written confirmation via email that your certification has been conferred. During this process:
- Your AOA membership must remain current and in good standing.
- All training and specialty college requirements must be completed to ensure no delay in conferring certification.
- You must not claim to be certified until you receive a letter from the AOA conferring certification.
The AOA will notify your specialty certifying board upon conferring your certification. The specialty board will process your certificate and it will be mailed to the address the specialty board has on file. The process should take no longer than 90 days from the day you receive your letter from the AOA.
Yes! A Certified Electronic Certificate (CeCertificate) will be provided to AOA diplomates with initial or Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) certificates issued on or after Nov. 1, 2017.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a copy of your AOA Physician Profile Report.
Health care organizations, credentialers, and state medical licensing boards can order physician profiles by visiting AOA Physician Profiles. This service is free of charge for state medical licensing boards.
All physicians with a time-limited certificate are required to participate in Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC).
View your CME report by logging on to Osteopathic.org and selecting “View CME Report” on the right side of the home page.
It can take up to one week for CME credits to show up on your report. If you believe an error has been made, please contact the AOA Customer Resource Center (CRC) at email@example.com or (888) 62-MYAOA (888-626-9262).
The CRC is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.
Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) is a process through which board certified DOs maintain current status and demonstrate competency in their specialty area. The goals for OCC are to provide certified physicians with a process to continually assess and improve their skills and to assure patients and the public that certified physicians are being assessed through reliable and valid measures. Learn more and get details on the five components of OCC.
All diplomates with time-limited certification are required to participate in Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC).
By choosing not to participate in Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC), you are voluntarily suspending the rights to your board certification.
If you have a non-time-limited certification, you are not required to participate in Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) at this time; however, you are strongly encouraged to participate. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has agreed to accept OCC for Maintenance of Licensure (MOL). If you do not participate in OCC, you may have additional requirements for MOL as prescribed by the state(s) where you are licensed. Diplomates with non-time-limited certificates will still be required to maintain their license to practice and to maintain AOA membership, including meeting all CME requirements for their specialty.
If you are a time-limited certificate holder, each specialty has its own OCC requirements. To learn more,
You can log in to www.osteopathic.org and access the My AOA section to view your progress toward meeting requirements for an Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) cycle.
A subcommittee of the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists has been created to monitor license suspensions on a case by case basis with the input of the individual certifying board.
Components 1 and 5 must be verified prior to taking an Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) examination.