Board Eligibility

A physician’s eligibility for AOA board certification begins upon completion of their specialty or subspecialty training program and ends on Dec. 31 of the following sixth year.

Board eligibility status will be automatically terminated in the following circumstances:

  • After completion of the board eligibility timeframe.
  • Upon denial of an appeal to extend the board eligibility timeframe for an individual.
  • Upon award of certification.

The following eligibility requirements must be met for AOA board certification:

  • You must be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine and have completed an AOA or ACGME-accredited training program OR be a graduate of a LCME-accredited medical school and have completed an ACGME-accredited training program.
  • You must hold a valid, active license to practice medicine in a U.S. state, commonwealth, District of Columbia, or U.S. territory.
  • You must adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.
  • You must follow the process as outlined by the board’s requirements and meet any specialty-specific requirements for board certification during the six-year board eligibility period.
  • You must pass all required certification exams.

Re-Entry into the Certification

A physician who has not obtained final certification at the end of six years of board eligibility may petition the AOBNP for re-entry into the certification process.

Upon acceptance by the Board, the candidate must start at the beginning of the certification process. Any prior activity toward certification will not be recognized. Candidates must participate in the first available administration of the exam. If the candidate fails an exam, the candidate must participate in the next available examination administration.

Candidates who were not successful in becoming certified at the end of the first re-entry pathway process may pursue certification only by petitioning the certifying board for entry into the final pathway process.

Candidates must meet criteria established by the AOBNP to enter the final pathway process. They must enter at the beginning of the certification process and participate in the first available exam administration. They will have two attempts to pass each step of the exam. Candidates who were not successful in becoming certified at the end of the final pathway have no further opportunity to become certified in their specialty.

Right to Appeal

If a candidate feels that the actions of the AOBNP with regard to any part of the examination constitute unequal application of the regulations and requirements or standards, unwarranted discrimination, prejudice, unfairness or improper conduct of the examination, he or she has the right to appeal to this Board.

Appeals to the board must be made in writing via email to the chair of the Board stating the reasons for the appeal and should include any applicable appeal fee as well as any supporting documentation for proper review of the case. The appeal must be emailed within 7 days of receiving exam results.

The AOBNP will not consider appeals based on exam content, sufficiency or accuracy of answers to exam questions, scoring of the exam, and/or the determination of the minimum passing score. If an appeal is denied by the AOBNP, the candidate retains the right to appeal to the AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS).

Compliance With Federal Regulations

The AOBNP complies with all applicable federal and state regulations, including:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The AOBNP 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 AOBNP 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 AOBNP certfication will be de-identified by the candidate prior to submissions, such that the remaining information cannot be used to identify an individual patient.