A physician’s eligibility for AOA board certification begins upon completion of their specialty or subspecialty training program and ends on Dec. 31st of the following sixth year.
The following eligibility requirements must be met for AOA board certification:
- You must be a graduate of an AOA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine.
- You must hold an active license to practice medicine in a state or territory.
- You must adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.
- You must be a member in good standing of the AOA or Canadian Osteopathic Association.
- You must meet any specialty-specific requirements for board certification.
- You must pass all required certification exams.
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.
Re-Entry into the Certification Process
AOA membership and certification fees must be current to maintain active board certification. Should your dues payment lapse or CME credits go unmaintained, the AOA may initiate the process of deactivating your board certification. You’ll have ample opportunity and notice to comply with any requirement deficiencies for maintaining your certification.
Diplomates who hold a subspecialty certification must maintain their primary board certification. If you fail to maintain primary certification, the subspecialty certification will no longer be valid. To reinstate the primary certificate and the subspecialty certification, you’ll need to take and pass the primary board certification examination as well as the subspecialty examination. Primary board osteopathic continuous certification must be achieved prior to retaking the specialty exam.
The AOCSMEC shall have the power to recommend to the AOA Board of Osteopathic Specialists the revocation of the subspecialty certification of any diplomate whose certificate was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation, who exploits the certificate, violates the AOA Code of Ethics, or is otherwise disqualified.
If your certification was inactivated because you were dropped from AOA membership for nonpayment of dues, or nonpayment of the annual registration fee, reinstatement of your certificate will be automatic once you renew your AOA membership and/or pay the registration fee. Remedial requirements may be assessed by the specialty certifying board.
If you want to reactivate a lifetime, non-time-limited certification that was voluntarily inactivated at your request, you’ll need to comply with the requirements above, and gain approval from the American Osteopathic Conjoint Sports Medicine Examination Committee and the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists. You’ll need to pay any back AOA membership dues up to a maximum period of two (2) years, as well as any back AOA recertification registration fees, up to a maximum period of two (2) years. Finally, if the specialty certifying board specifies other remedial requirements, you’ll need to meet them.
Depending on the circumstances for inactivation of a non-time-limited certification, the Certification Compliance Review Committee may award a time-limited certification in lieu of the non-time-limited certification. Such action by the Certification Compliance Review Committee may be appealed to the BOS Appeal Committee and, if necessary, the AOA Board of Trustees.
Resolution 56: Eligibility for ABMS-Certified DOs
Resolution 56 defines the certification eligibility for ABMS-certified sports medicine physicians seeking certification from the AOCSMEC. To be eligible for Resolution 56, 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:
- Pathway must have been completed prior to 1995; and
- Candidate must meet any additional requirements set by the specialty board for certification.
- Be an AOA member in good standing at the time of application. If not a current AOA member, the applicant must pay the full dues amount at time of application. Note that the applicant is not required to hold state or specialty college membership at time of application.
- Meet AOA CME requirements.
- Additional requirements set forth by the specialty board and specialty colleges.
- Complete and submit the Application for AOA Certification Eligibility.
Right to Appeal
The American Osteopathic Conjoint Sports Medicine Examination Committee (AOCSMEC) is committed to assuring that aggrieved candidates for certification have access to an appeal process to address concerns regarding all certification and recertification examinations and other decisions of the AOCSMEC. If you feel that there was bias, prejudice or unfairness in the sports medicine certification exam or from a member of the examination team, or the certification exam failed to follow established procedures, you have the right to file an appeal with the AOCSMEC.
Appeals to the board can be made by submitting an Appeal Request Form to a member of the examination team, or by mail, fax or email. The candidate must submit the completed appeal request form within two hours of completion of the exam. Appeals must include:
- Your address and email address
- Date and location of the exam
- Details about why you’re appealing
- Your signature and the date
The exam committee will not consider appeals based on examination content, sufficiency or accuracy of answers to exam questions, scoring of the exam, and/or determination of the minimum passing score.
Appeals will be considered by the AOCSMEC. A majority vote of the Committee will determine whether the board accepts or denies the appeal. Candidates will be advised by certified mail of final action of the board within 10 working days.
Compliance with Federal Regulations
The AOCSMEC complies with all applicable federal and state regulations, including:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The AOCSMEC 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 AOCSMEC 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 AOCSMEC certification will be de-identified by the candidate prior to submission, such that the remaining information cannot be used to identify an individual patient.