Written Exam


To be eligible for certification in Psychiatry, candidates must meet the criteria below:

  • Be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine.
  • Satisfactorily complete a one-year internship in an AOA approved training program.
  • Satisfactorily complete three years of AOA-approved training in Psychiatry, Child Psychiatry, or a combination of the two.
  • Successfully sit for and pass all sections of the certification examination.
  • Hold an unrestricted license to practice in a state or territory.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.
  • Practice in the specialty should be a minimum of 75% of your clinical time.


At the time of application, you must submit the following to the AOBNP:

  • Completed application.
  • Copy of your diploma from a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine.
  • Certificate of internship or letter from program director stating you satisfactorily completed an AOA-approved internship.
  • Certificate of residency (if completed). If not yet completed, a letter from Residency Director certifying that you are within six months of completing training.
    • If you completed an ACGME residency, you must include a letter from the American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists (ACONP) stating that approval of your Residency is pending with the AOA.
  • Copy of your current state medical license.
  • One passport photo or copy of a government issued ID, i.e., driver’s license, passport.

Exam Fees

An application fee of $1,650 must be submitted with your completed application. This covers the $350 application fee and $1,300 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 the exam, the fee for reexamination is $1,200.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Psychiatry Written Exam is offered once a year at a Pearson Vue testing center. The application period usually opens in September, and applications are due by Feb. 10. Upon successful completion of the application process, the AOBNP will advise applicants via email of acceptance to take the exam.

Exam Content Outline

The Written Exam consists of 300 multiple-choice, single-answer questions in a pass/fail format. All questions are evenly weighted and the examination is subjected to conventional psychometric analysis using accepted modern methods of key validation and item scoring. The total examination time will take six hours and will be proctored. No questions pertaining to exam content are allowed during the examination.

Primary Certification
  1. Neurology for the Psychiatrist
  2. Assessment for the Psychiatrist
  3. Psychiatric disorders
  4. ECT
  5. Manual medicine
  6. Psychotherapies
  7. Pharmacologic agents
  8. Biopsychosocial medicine
  9. Psychoactive substance use/abuse
  10. Life cycle