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.
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 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.
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 American Osteopathic Board of Surgery to re-enter the certification process, but they will be required to restart the process from the beginning and must participate in the first available administration of the exam. The candidate will have two attempts to pass each step of the exam process. If unsuccessful on a given exam, the candidate must participate in the next available exam.
Candidates who fail any exam required for certification (Written, Oral or Clinical) three times must re-enter the certification process from the beginning and must participate in the first available administration of the exam. The candidate will have two attempts to pass each step of the exam process. If unsuccessful on a given exam, the candidate must participate in the next available exam.
In order to be granted re-entry into the certification process, a candidate must meet specific criteria to be recommended by the board. If the board-recommended criteria are not met, the candidate will no longer be eligible to continue the certification process.
Subspecialty Certification Eligibility
To be eligible for AOBS subspecialty certification in Surgical Critical Care, a candidate must:
- Earn primary certification through the AOBS or American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine.
- Successfully complete at least a one-year training program in Surgical Critical Care through the AOA or the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons.
- Pass a Written Exam in Surgical Critical Care (to be taken following completion of training).
Resolution 56: Eligibility for ABMS-Certified DOs
Resolution 56 defines the certification eligibility for ABMS-certified surgeons seeking primary certification from the AOBS. 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:
- The pathway must have been completed prior to 1995; and
- The 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
If a candidate feels that actions of the AOBS with regard to any part of the certification process constitute unequal application of the Bylaws or Policies and Procedures, unwarranted discrimination, prejudice, unfairness or improper conduct of the examination, he or she has the right to appeal to the board.
Appeals to the board must be made in writing and should include any supporting document for proper review of the case. The appeal must be submitted within two hours of completion of the examination.
The board 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. If an appeal is denied by the AOBS, the candidate retains the right to appeal to the AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS).
Compliance With Federal Regulations
The AOBS complies with all applicable federal and state regulations, including:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The AOBS 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 AOBS 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 AOBS certification will be de-identified by the candidate prior to submission, such that the remaining information cannot be used to identify an individual patient.