Subspecialty Certification Exam


To be eligible for subspecialty certification in Child and Adolescent Neurology, candidates must meet the criteria below:

  • Hold AOBNP certification in general neurology that is active and in good standing.
  • Satisfactorily complete four years of AOA-approved training, of which two years must be in child neurology, and at least two years of AOA-approved residency in general or child neurology, or one year of an AOA-approved residency general in neurology and one year in pediatrics.
  • Practice in the specialty should be a minimum of 75% of your total clinical time.
  • Successfully sit for and pass all sections of the certification examination.


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

  • Completed application.
  • Proof of graduation from a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine.
  • Proof of satisfactory completion of an AOA-approved internship.
  • A letter from the director of the residency program certifying that you are within six months of completion of residency program and in good standing.
  • If you completed an ACGME residency, you must include a letter from the American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists granting approval of the program as complete.

Exam Fees

An application fee of $1500 must be submitted with your completed application. This covers the $300 application fee and $1,200 initial examination fee. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid.

No amount of the examination fee paid shall be returned after the application has been processed.

If an applicant fails any part of the exam, the fee for reexamination is $950.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Child/Adolescent Neurology Subspecialty Certification Exam is offered once per year, generally every May. The application period opens in Februrary. Applications are due in May.

Exam Content

The Child/Adolescent Neurology Subspecialty Certification Exam intends to measure clinical competency in child neurology. Clinical competency includes an understanding of child neurologic disorders and the ability to utilize this knowledge in clinical practice. It also implies that appropriate ethical standards have been met.

The examination consists of oral and clinical sections. The oral section will be 120 minutes of discussion, including vignettes and review of live patient exams.

During the 120-minute clinical section, candidates will assess the history and physical examination of two patients and answer multiple-choice questions in pediatric EEG and neuroimaging. The candidate is given 30 minutes to examine each patient followed by 30 minutes of discussion. The live patients and vignettes will be representative of common and as well as rare problems encountered in clinical practice; for example, an uncommon degenerative disorder and common migraine may be presented. The exam will include content questions and discussion in the following areas: Mental Retardation, Hereditary, Movement Disorders, Headache, Epilepsy, Neuroimaging, Neuromuscular, and Neurophysiology.

Exam Scoring

Scoring Criteria

AOA reports candidates’ certification results using standardized scaled scores. Scaled scores are more valid and reliable compared to raw scores and make scores comparable across different forms of the exam. The AOA reports scores on a 200 to 800-point scale with a scaled score of 500 or higher required to pass.

  • A scaled score of 500 represents the minimum level of knowledge and skill necessary to pass the exam as established by AOA Certifying Boards.
  • The highest possible scaled score is 800.
  • The lowest possible scaled score is 200.
  • Overall scores are based on the total number of items answered correctly, regardless of content area.

Results by Content Area

  • When possible, a breakdown of exam scores by content area is provided to help you identify your areas of strength and areas that may need more development.
  • The number of items for each content area indicates the relative amount of test questions on the exam for that content area.
  • Content area scores are not weighted to calculate your overall score; each content area is scored separately after the overall analysis is complete.

Exam Failure

Candidates who fail an exam will be advised of their weakness in failed area(s) and may, upon payment of the re-examination fee, repeat the examination the following year.

Applicants who fail to sit for the examination they have registered for will be required to submit a new application and pay the full fee for the next examination. Candidates who are unable to sit for their scheduled exam due to an emergency should contact the Board within 30 days of the exam to be given consideration of waiving the reapplication process and fees for the next exam.