Written Exam

To be eligible for certification in Orthopedic Sports Medicine Subspecialty, candidates must meet the criteria below:

  • Must hold certification in orthopedic surgery from the AOBOS.
  • Must have been in the active practice of Orthopedic Sports Medicine for at least two years.
  • During years 2018-2022, any individual who has not completed an Orthopedic Sports Medicine Fellowship, but who otherwise meets the certification criteria, may apply to sit for the examination.
  • During year 2023 and thereafter, all individuals must have completed a minimum one year fellowship in an accredited AOA, AANA, RCPSC or ACGME sports medicine program to sit for the examination.
  • Must hold full operating privileges in a hospital or surgery center.
  • Hold an unrestricted license to practice in a state or territory.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.


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

  • A surgical log of all sports medicine operative and non-operative procedures performed during a consecutive 12-month period that falls within the two years. The list must include a minimum of 115 operative casts, at least 75 which must include a component of Arthroscopy. Ten additional cases should involve patients who were treated non-operatively. For full details, see the Orthopedic Sports Medicine Handbook.
  • A copy of the letter deeming your fellowship program status as program complete, if applicable. For years 2018-2022, fellowship is not yet required.
  • A copy of your current state medical license.

Exam Fees

An exam fee of $3,000 must accompany your completed application. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid.

If an applicant fails the exam, the fee for re-examination is $3,000.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Orthopedic Sports Medicine Subspecialty Certification Written Exam will be offered twice per year during years 2018-2020, generally conjunction with American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics meetings. The fall application period opens in May, and applications are due August 15. The spring application period opens in November and applications are due Jan. 15.

Exam Content Outline

The written exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions with topics taken from all areas of Orthopedic Sports Medicine. The source material for the examination questions is not limited to any particular text or journal.

Subspecialty Certification
Lower Extremity: Hip 10-14%
Lower Extremity: Knee 15-21%
Lower Extremity: Foot and Ankle 11-17%
Upper Extremity: Shoulder 12-18%
Upper Extremity: Elbow 10-16%
Upper Extremity: Wrist and Hand 12-14%
Non-Operative 11-17%

Exam Scoring

Scoring Criteria

AOA reports candidates’ certification results using standardized scaled scores. Scaled scores are more valid and reliable compared to raw scores and make scores comparable across different forms of the exam. The AOA reports scores on a 200 to 800-point scale with a scaled score of 500 or higher required to pass.

  • A scaled score of 500 represents the minimum level of knowledge and skill necessary to pass the exam as established by AOA Certifying Boards.
  • The highest possible scaled score is 800.
  • The lowest possible scaled score is 200.
  • Overall scores are based on the total number of items answered correctly, regardless of content area.

Results by Content Area

  • When possible, a breakdown of exam scores by content area is provided to help you identify your areas of strength and areas that may need more development.
  • The number of items for each content area indicates the relative amount of test questions on the exam for that content area.
  • Content area scores are not weighted to calculate your overall score; each content area is scored separately after the overall analysis is complete.