Written Exam


The following requirements must be completed before you may sit for the Written Exam for subspecialty certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine:

  • General certification from a primary AOA certification board that is active and in good standing.
  • Successful completion of a one-year AOA-approved fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine, completed after July 1, 2009.
  • Hold a valid and active license to practice medicine in a U.S. state.


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

  • A completed application.
  • All required fees.
  • Substantiation of your expertise in hospice and palliative medicine from the program director in the Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship.

Exam Fees

An application fee of $1,200 must be submitted with your completed application. The late application fee is $200. All fees must be submitted at time of application

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Hospice and Palliative Care subspecialty certification exam is held once per year, generally every August. The application period opens in December, the year before the exam, and applications are due June 1, with a final deadline of July 1.

Exam Content Outline

The Hospice and Palliative Medicine exam is a 4.5-hour written examination consisting of 200 multiple-choice, single-answer questions. Questions are taken from current literature, including journals, monographs, recent publication, and recognized texts.

Topics include the following:

Subspecialty Certification
Approach to care 6-12%
Psychosocial and spiritual considerations 7-13%
Impending death 5-11%
Grief and bereavement 3-9%
Medical management 41-47%
Communication and teamwork 4-10%
Ethical and legal decision making 5-11%
Prognostication and natural history of serious history 5-11%