Update on pathway to Family Physicians certification

Monday, August 12, 2019

The American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians (AOBFP) is opening up new pathways and options for certification with several important changes.

Start the board certification process during residency

The AOBFP announced an Early Entry Certification (EEC) program that will allow qualified candidates to seek board certification while still completing their family medicine residency. DOs in an AOA- or ACGME-accredited family medicine residency program, as well as MDs enrolled in an ACGME osteopathically-recognized family medicine residency may participate in the EEC program.

Participating residents must successfully complete two AOBFP in-service exams, and then take the EEC initial board certification examination in the final year of residency. The EEC examination will contain fewer questions and be available at a lower cost than the traditional cognitive examination for board certification. Upon passing the exam, diplomates will enter into Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC).

OMT exam now optional

In another change adopted by AOBFP, the OMT/Performance Examination will now be optional. All candidates pursuing AOBFP board certification must take a written examination containing osteopathic content, but may choose whether to take the practical examination assessing OMT skills. Those who successfully complete the OMT/Performance Examination will receive a certification in Osteopathic Family Medicine and OMT. Those who do not take the practical will receive certification in Osteopathic Family Medicine.

Family medicine physicians who choose initial certification without OMT will have the option to take the practical exam at a later date and add the OMT distinction to their certification.

OMT practical examination optional for recertification

The OMT practical examination will be required for initial certification only. Diplomates certified in Family Medicine with OMT will be able to retain that distinction throughout their career without having to recertify in OMT as long as they maintain their OCC requirements. Diplomates may choose to be assessed and evaluated on their OMT skills by registering for the practical examination during their active certification timeframe.

These changes were reported at the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians annual meeting in March 2019. Further information will be disseminated as it becomes available. Questions may be directed to Jessica Dangles, AOBFP Certification Director, at