Written Exam


To be eligible for certification in physical medicine and rehabilitation, candidates must meet the criteria below:

  • Be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine
  • Hold an active license to practice in a state or territory.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.
  • Satisfactorily complete a one-year internship in an AOA approved training program.
  • Satisfactorily complete three years of AOA-approved training in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
    • DOs who completed an ACGME residency may pursue AOBPMR certification if their training has received AOA approval.
  • One year of full-time practice as a physiatrist following residency, a one-year fellowship, or an acceptable combination of the two.
  • Successfully sit for and pass all sections of the certification examination.


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

  • Completed, signed online application.
  • All required fees.
  • Current CV/resume.
  • Three letters of reference from a physician familiar with the applicant’s clinical practice. Letters must be submitted directly to the AOBPMR.

The AOA will verify on the candidate’s behalf the following information:

  • Osteopathic degree
  • AOA-approved internship completion
  • Completion of three-year residency
  • Current state medical license

Exam Fees

An application fee of $750 must be submitted with your completed application. The fee increases to $850 if received fewer than 60 days prior to the exam. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid.

All fees are non-refundable. Candidates cancelling their exams more than three weeks prior to the exam may take the exam at a future date for a re-scheduling fee of $100. Candidates cancelling their exams less than three weeks prior to the exam date may take the exam at a future date for a $200 rescheduling fee. If an applicant fails any part of the exam, the fee for re-examination is $750. All these fees are determined yearly and subject to change.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Written Exam is offered twice each year, generally every spring and fall. Applications for the exams are due six weeks prior to the exam.

Exam Content Outline

The initial AOBPMR certification exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. Candidates have four hours to complete the exam.

Primary Certification
Rehabilitation of Brain, Spinal Cord/Muscle, and Connective Tissue Disorders 27% – 31%
Interventional Therapeutics: Spine and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment and Pain 25% – 29%
Prosthetics, Orthotics, Sports Medicine, Orthopedic disorders, MSK disorders, Occupational-Industrial, Return to Work and Assistive Devices 24% – 28%
Special Populations 16% – 20%