Subspecialty Certification Exam


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

  • Hold AOBNP certification in general psychiatry that is active and in good standing.
  • Satisfactorily complete four years of AOA approved training, of which two years must be in Child Psychiatry, and at least two years of AOA-approved residency training in general or Child Psychiatry, or one year of an AOA-approved residency in general Psychiatry 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 or an ACGME-accredited program.
  • 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 your residency program and are in good standing.

Exam Fees

An application fee of $1,500 must be submitted with your completed application. This covers the application fee and initial examination fee.

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

Exam Cancellation Fees

  • 0 – 30 days before the exam: no refund
  • 31 days or more prior to the exam date: 50% refund
  • No refunds of late fees
  • Rejected Applications: 75% refund

Note: Prior to submitting your application, please be certain that you meet the criteria to apply.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Written Exam is typically offered once annually. The application period opens six months prior to the exam. Upon successful completion of the application process, the AOBNP will advise applicants via email of acceptance to take the exam.

The first application deadline will be 60 days prior to the first date of the exam administration window. The final deadline will be 30 days prior to the exam administration window.

All candidates requesting exam accommodations must submit their requests at the time of application and by the final application deadline (30 days prior to the exam).

Exam Content Outline

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Subspecialty Certification Exam consists of four sections: a written section, a live patient interview, a videotape section and consultation/liaison section.

  • The written examination will be a two-hour examination consisting of 100 questions containing material on child development, adolescent development, diagnoses, case presentation, pharmacology and neurology. Questions are taken from current literature and texts. Each section is about 60 minutes in length with one scheduled 10-minute break. Please note the exam clock will resume after the scheduled break even if you have not returned.
  • For the live interview section, the candidate will conduct a 20-minute interview with a child/adolescent. This portion of the exam tests the candidate’s interviewing skills, data gathering, differential diagnosis, treatment planning and disposition recommendations for 30 minutes after the interview.
  • For the videotape section, candidates will view a videotaped interview of a child or adolescent. This section of the exam tests the candidate’s observational skills, differential diagnosis, treatment planning and disposition recommendations.
  • The consultation/liaison section includes two written case presentations of pediatric psychiatric consultations and may be given separately or immediately after the video exam. The consultation section encompasses the utilization of osteopathic principles and examines problem definitions; formulation of needs and goals; intervention plan; and issues of ethics, law, language and inter-professional relationships. This segment shall last approximately one hour after the video is watched.

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.