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 AOBOS for re-entry into the certification process.
Upon acceptance by the Board, the candidate must start at the beginning of the certification process. Prior activity toward certification will not be recognized. Candidates must participate in the first available exam administration and will have two attempts to pass the exam. If unsuccessful on a given administration, the candidate must participate in the next available exam.
Candidates who are not successful in becoming certified at the end of this first re-entry process may pursue certification only by petitioning the AOBOS for entry into the final pathway process. The final pathway follows the same requirements as the first re-entry process.
Candidates who were not successful in becoming certified at the end of the final pathway have no further opportunity to become certified by this Board.
Resolution 56: Eligibility for ABMS-Certified DOs
Resolution 56 defines the certification eligibility for ABMS-certified physicians seeking primary certification from the AOBOS. 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.
Right to Appeal
If a candidate feels that the actions of the AOBOS 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.
Specific Appeal Policy details can be found here.
A majority vote of the committee will determine whether the AOBOS accepts or denies the appeal.
Candidates will be advised of the Board’s decision by email from the Board. 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 applicable, the candidate’s original case log will be utilized and the next clinical exam will be conducted by different examiners.
If an appeal is denied by the AOBOS, the candidate retains the right to appeal to the AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS) and AOA Board of Trustees.
The AOBOS will not consider appeals based on examination content, sufficiency or accuracy of answers given to examination questions, scoring of the examination, scoring of answers to individual questions, and/or the determination of the minimum passing score.
Compliance With Federal Regulations
The AOBOS complies with all applicable federal and state regulations, including:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The AOBOS 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 AOBOS 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 AOBOS certification will be de-identified by the candidate prior to submission, such that the remaining information cannot be used to identify an individual patient.