A physician’s eligibility for AOA board certification begins upon completion of their specialty or subspecialty training program and ends on Dec. 31 of the following sixth year.
Board eligibility status will be automatically terminated in the following circumstances:
- After completion of the board eligibility timeframe.
- Upon denial of an appeal to extend the board eligibility timeframe for an individual.
- Upon award of certification.
The following eligibility requirements must be met for AOA board certification:
- You must be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine and have completed an AOA or ACGME-accredited training program OR be a graduate of a LCME-accredited medical school and have completed an ACGME-accredited training program.
- You must hold a valid, active license to practice medicine in a U.S. state, commonwealth, District of Columbia, or U.S. territory.
- You must adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.
- You must follow the process as outlined by the board’s requirements and meet any specialty-specific requirements for board certification during the six-year board eligibility period.
- You must pass all required certification exams.
Re-Entry into the Certification Process
A physician who has not obtained final certification at the end of six years of board eligibility may petition the AOBOO-HNS for re-entry into the certification process. In order to be approved for re-entry, the candidate must complete 75 CME credits in the specialty following the most recent examination attempt.
Upon acceptance by the Board for the first re-entry process, the candidate must start at the beginning of the certification process. Prior activity toward certification will not be recognized in the first re-entry process. Candidates must participate in the first available administration of the qualifying examination and will have two attempts to pass each step of the examination process. If unsuccessful on a given administration, the candidate must participate in the next available examination administration.
Candidates who were not successful in becoming certified at the end of the first re-entry pathway process may pursue certification only by petitioning the certifying board for entry into the final pathway process. Candidates must participate in the first available administration of the qualifying examination and will have two attempts to pass each step of the examination process. If unsuccessful on a given administration, the candidate must participate in the next available examination administration. The AOBOO-HNS may require the candidate to fulfill additional requirements prior to sitting for the certification exam.
Candidates who were not successful in becoming certified at the end of the final pathway have no further opportunity to become certified.
Resolution 56: Eligibility for ABMS-Certified DOs
Resolution 56 defines the certification eligibility for ABMS-certified physicians seeking primary certification from the AOBOO-HNS. To be eligible for Resolution 56, ABMS-certified osteopathic physicians must meet the following requirements:
- Be certified by the ABMS and have completed residency training prior to submitting an application. Note that ABMS-certified osteopathic physicians who participated in a clinical pathway (in lieu of completing a residency program) to achieve ABMS certification may be allowed to enter the certification process under the following conditions:
- The pathway must have been completed prior to 1995; and
- The candidate must meet any additional requirements set by the specialty board for certification.
- Additional requirements and fees as designated by the certifying board.
- Complete and submit application and release of information form.
AOA Recognition of Allopathic Training
Osteopathic physicians who trained in allopathic residencies and fellowships must apply for AOA recognition of their training in order to become osteopathically board certified. If you trained allopathically, you’ll need to follow these steps to receive this recognition.
AOA recognition of your ACGME internship
To get your ACGME internship (Resolution 42) recognized by the AOA, you’ll need to complete the necessary paperwork with the AOA Education Department by submitting an online application. If you completed federal or military PGY1 training, you’ll use this online application. For questions about the process and the status of your application, email PGY1@osteopathic.org.
AOA recognition of your ACGME residency/fellowship
To get your ACGME residency program recognized by the AOA, you’ll need to complete paperwork with the AOA Education Department by submitting an online application. For questions about the process and the status of your application, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right to Appeal
If a candidate feels that the actions of the AOBOO-HNS with regard to any part of the examination constitute unequal application of the regulations and requirements or standards, unwarranted discrimination, prejudice, unfairness or improper conduct of the examination, he or she has the right to appeal to this Board.
Appeals must be made on an appeal request form and submitted to a member of the examination team within two hours of the exam administration. Appeal request forms will be provided to all candidates prior to the start of the exam. All appeals submitted after the two-hour deadline will be denied.
A majority vote of the committee will determine whether the AOBOO-HNS accepts or denies the appeal.
Candidates will be advised by the AOBOO-HNS of the Appeal Committee’s decision by email. If the Appeal Committee accepts an appeal, then the candidate’s examination will not be scored or recorded, and the candidate has the right to take a new exam at the next scheduled exam date with no additional fee.
If an appeal is denied by the AOBOO-HNS, the candidate retains the right to appeal to the AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS) and AOA Board of Trustees.
The AOBOO-HNS will not consider appeals based on examination content, sufficiency or accuracy of given answers, scoring of the examination or individual questions, and/or the determination of the minimum passing score. If a candidate’s six years of board eligibility is set to expire while he or she is appealing a failed exam, their board eligible status will not terminate until the appeal is resolved.
Compliance With Federal Regulations
The AOBOO-HNS complies with all applicable federal and state regulations, including:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The AOBOO-HNS complies with requirements prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation, as well as regulations for Title II and Title III (and all subsequent regulations) as printed in the federal register.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): In compliance with the HIPAA Act of 1996 and any subsequent modifications, the AOBOO-HNS ensures that individuals’ health information is properly protected, while allowing the flow of health information to provide and promote high quality health care. All medical records submitted for review by candidates for AOBOO-HNS certification will be de-identified by the candidate prior to submission, such that the remaining information cannot be used to identify an individual patient.