Certification Exam


To be eligible to earn a CAQ in Occupational Medicine, candidates must meet the criteria below:

  • Be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine
  • Satisfactorily complete a one-year internship in an AOA approved training program.
  • Satisfactorily complete at least 100 hours of AOA-approved CME within the last five years in occupational medicine. At a minimum, 50 hours will be Category 1. Alternatively, show successful completion of the American Osteopathic College of Occupational and Preventive Medicine’s Occupational Medicine Basic Course or comparable review course.
  • Maintain general certification through any AOA-approved primary specialty board.
  • 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 AOBPM:

  • Two letters from managers, administrators and/or industrial clients for whom you provide services clearly describing the services provided.
  • Documentation of 100 hours of postgraduate training within the past five years in occupational medicine, or proof you completed the AOCOPM Occupational Medicine Basic Course (or comparable review course).
  • Two letters of recommendations from persons, preferably colleagues, competent in your area of subspecialty interest.
  • Ten multiple-choice questions (which must be textually referenced) in the area of interest. Multiple questions from common information sources are allowed. See the  AOBPM item writing guidelines.
  • Copy of your current state medical license.

Exam Fees

A fee of $1,145 must accompany your completed application. This covers the non-refundable $295 application fee and the $850 exam fee. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid. For late applications (within 60 days of the exam), the application fee increases to $350. If an applicant fails any part of the exam, the fee for re-examination is $500 (one part) or $750 for two or more parts, in addition to a $150 re-application fee.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Occupational Medicine Certification Exam is offered one weekend, generally every spring in conjunction with the American Osteopathic College of Occupational and Preventive Medicine Mid Year Conference. The application period opens in fall and applications are due Dec. 1.

Exam Content Outline

The four-hour exam consists of two sections: multiple-choice and essay questions. For the multiple choice section, candidates will have two hours to answer approximately 100 multiple-choice questions. For the essay section, candidates will have two hours to answer four essay questions.

CAQ in Occupational Medicine
Epidemiology and Statistics 3%
Acute Disease Prevention 12%
Chronic Disease Prevention 5%
Impairment and Disability Evalutation 5%
Toxicology 15%
Injury Prevention 7%
Mental Health and Retardation 2%
Industrial Hygiene and Safety 16%
Substance Abuse 2%
Clinical Occupational and Environmental Medicine 13%
Legal and Regulatory Requirements 10%
Physical Hazards 5%
Biological Hazards 3%
Reproductive Hazards 2%

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.


Exam Failure

If a candidate fails any part of the exam, they may apply to re-take the exam components. Board-eligible candidate may sit for re-examination three times in a six-year period. This Board may require evidence of further training prior to re-examination.