Board Eligibility

A physician’s eligibility for AOA board certification begins upon completion of his or her specialty or subspecialty training program and ends on Dec. 31 of the following sixth year. To be eligible for certification from the AOBNP, candidates must meet the criteria below:

  • Be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine or an ACGME-accredited program.
  • Satisfactorily complete a one-year internship in an AOA-approved training program.
  • Specific training and other requirements for the desired specialty or subspecialty.
  • Hold an unrestricted license to practice in a state or territory.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.

Candidates must petition the Board for entry into the initial pathway process. Candidates must enter at the beginning of the Board’s certification process and must follow the process as outlined by the Board’s requirements during the six years of board eligibility.

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.

In the event of extenuating circumstances, the Board may approve the extension of a candidate’s board eligibility termination date; the maximum extension will be three years.

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.

Resolution 56: Eligibility for ABMS-Certified DOs

Resolution 56 defines the certification eligibility for ABMS-certified physicians seeking primary certification from the AOBNP. To be eligible for Resolution 56, ABMS-certified osteopathic physicians must meet the following requirements:

  • Be certified by the ABMS and have completed residency training prior to submitting an application. Note that ABMS-certified osteopathic physicians who participated in a clinical pathway (in lieu of completing a residency program) to achieve ABMS certification may be allowed to enter the certification process under the following conditions:
    • The pathway must have been completed prior to 1995; and
    • The candidate must meet any additional requirements set by the specialty board for certification.
  • Applicants may be subject to additional requirements and fees as designated by the certifying board.
  • Complete and submit the application and release of information form.

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 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 mailed within 30 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 certification will be de-identified by the candidate prior to submissions, such that the remaining information cannot be used to identify an individual patient.