Applications open for early entry initial board certification in family medicine

Current third-year family medicine residents will be able to take a shorter, less expensive cognitive exam in their final year of training.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Third-year family medicine residents can begin the board certification process in February through a new early entry pathway, the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians (AOBFP) announced.

Participants must complete two osteopathic in-service exams (ISE or ISE+) produced and administered by ACOFP, and take the early entry initial board certification examination in their final year of residency.

Exam dates

The first early entry initial exams will be held Feb. 29 through March 14, 2020, at Pearson VUE testing centers throughout the country. View full eligibility and application information.

Because it follows the in-service exams, the early entry exam will contain fewer questions and is priced lower than the traditional cognitive examination for board certification, says Genie James, AOA senior vice president of certifying board services.

‘An important change’

“This is an important change for new physicians that acknowledges the academic rigor of their training programs,” James explains. “A physician’s skills and training are fresh in residency, so the exam is shorter than the traditional assessment, which may be taken years after a physician enters practice.”

Candidates may also decide whether to take the optional osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) performance exam to become board certified in osteopathic family medicine and OMT. The OMT performance exam can also be taken at a later date.

Deadlines and fees

The first deadline to register for the early entry initial certification exam is Jan. 3, 2020. The fee is $400. The final deadline is Jan. 31, 2020; a $100 late fee applies. Candidates are advised to schedule exams as early as possible to ensure a spot is available at the most convenient test center for them.

Learn more about the Early Entry Initial Certification program. Please direct questions to