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 AOBPM 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 administration of the exam and will have two attempts to pass each step of the exam.
If the candidate is unsuccessful in passing the exam, they can petition the AOBPM for entry into the final pathway process. Prior activity toward certification will not be recognized. Candidates must participate in the first available administration of the exam and will have two attempts to pass each step of the exam.
Candidates who were not successful in becoming certified at the end of the final pathway have no further opportunity to become certified in the specialty or subspecialty.
Resolution 56: Eligibility for ABMS-Certified DOs
Resolution 56 defines the certification eligibility for ABMS-certified physicians seeking primary certification from the AOBPM. 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.
- ABMS-certified physicians can use their certification to count towards passing three of the four primary certification exam sections. Thus, they would only need to take is the oral exam.
- 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 AOBPM 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.
If an appeal is denied by the AOBPM, the candidate retains the right to appeal to the AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS) and AOA Board of Trustees.
Compliance With Federal Regulations
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The AOBPM 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 AOBPM 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 AOBPM certification will be de-identified by the candidate prior to submission, such that the remaining information cannot be used to identify an individual patient.