Written Exam


The following training requirements must be completed before a candidate may sit for the Written Exam for subspecialty certification in Pulmonary Disease:

  • Have completed two years of an AOA-recognized fellowship program in Pulmonary Disease or combined Pulmonary Disease/Critical Care Medicine. You must have completed the training by Aug. 15 of the year you intend to sit for the Written Exam.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.


Once training requirements for eligibility are met, candidates must submit the following:

  • A completed application.
  • Required fees.
  • Proof of an active medical license.
  • Initial applicants and applicants who have not completed their training must submit a Program Director report verifying clinical competence and the completion date of an AOA-recognized fellowship training program.
  • If you completed your training in an ACGME fellowship program, submit a letter from the AOA stating that the ACGME fellowship training has been AOA-recognized.

Exam Fees

An exam fee of $800 must be submitted with your completed application. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid. Exam applications submitted after June 1 will incur a non-refundable $200 late fee. No applications will be accepted after July 1. All cancellations must be made in writing. No exam fees are refunded unless the candidate withdraws from the examination process, which will result in a loss of board eligibility. Otherwise, candidates’ fees are credited toward the next year’s examination, less the applicable cancellation fee, and will remain board eligible until June 1 of the following year. Cancellation fees are as follows:

  • Before June 1: $100 cancellation fee
  • Between June 1 and July 1: $400 cancellation fee
  • After July 1: $800 cancellation fee

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Pulmonary Disease Written Exam is offered in August. The application period opens the previous year, starting in December.

Exam Content Outline

The Pulmonary Disease Written Exam tests the knowledge and understanding of basic science and clinical knowledge, skills and principles critical to the practice of Pulmonary Disease. The seven-hour exam consists of 300 multiple choice questions in the following areas:

Subspecialty Certification
  1. 1. Respiratory structure and function
  2. 2. Asthma
  3. 3. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  4. 4. Sleep disorders
  5. 5. Bronchiectasis/cystic fibrosis
  6. 6. Interstitial lung disease
  7. 7. Pneumonia/pulmonary infections
  8. 8. Tuberculosis
  9. 9. Benign/malignant neoplasms
  10. 10. Occupational disorders
  11. 11. Sarcoidosis
  12. 12. Lung abscess
  13. 13. Physical, chemical, and aspiration injuries
  14. 14. Disorders of diaphragm, chest wall, pleura, and mediastinum
  15. 15. Disorders of ventilatory control
  16. 16. Pulmonary hypertension/ vascular disorders
  17. 17. PE/DVT
  18. 18. Interpretation imaging studies/pathologic specimens
  19. 19. Interpretation PFTs
  20. 20. ARDS/respiratory failure
  21. 21. ICU management/ventilatory care
  • 2-6%
  • 3-7%
  • 4-8%
  • 3-7%
  • 1-3%
  • 10-14%
  • 10-14%
  • 6-10%
  • 2-6%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-3%
  • 1-5%
  • 2-6%
  • 1-4%
  • 2-6%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-5%
  • 7-11%
  • 4-8%
  • 1-5%

Exam Scoring

The AOBIM sets passing standards for the Written Exam using a measurement model known as “criterion-referenced standard setting.” Using this model, the board specifies the particular content and level of content difficulty necessary to be considered a passing candidate. All examination results will be reviewed by the board. Results will be released electronically through the AOBIM’s application portal. Candidates must be program complete and maintain AOA membership in order to access electronic results.