Professional development

Fourth osteopathic certifying board replaces its high-stakes recertification exam

The American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine’s new online exam will provide diplomates with greater flexibility.

The American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM) has replaced its high-stakes 10-year recertification exam with an annual online assessment for Osteopathic Continuous Certification—Component 3.

The new 40-to-60-question exam is administered 24/7 and can be taken at home or in the office. It is an open book exam; diplomates are encouraged to use the resources typically available in the emergency department.

‘A more convenient exam’

“Our emergency physician diplomates asked for a more convenient exam, and we’re thrilled to provide one that they can take anytime, anywhere,” says Genie James, AOA senior vice president of certifying board services. “The new exam will more seamlessly fit in with physicians’ busy lives.”

Joining the osteopathic anesthesiology, radiology and OB-GYN boards, AOBEM is the fourth AOA certifying board to update the longitudinal assessment process to better support lifelong learning and continuous professional development. This year, the AOA’s Certifying Board Services will launch similar innovations in the assessment of qualified physicians engaging in Osteopathic Continuous Certification for several additional specialty boards.

Details on AOBEM’s new exam are available here. Questions? Please contact AOBEM at


  1. DO

    When is the AOBFP going to change to something like this?

    Or maybe something better, eliminate the Time Limited Certifications and make the Grandfathered DO’s take the Re-Certification/OCC exams

    1. Chris McCoy

      There is a very simple solution to this issue. Do away with all certification exams. The main reason is the exam is totally worthless. Passing an exam does not make you a better doctor period or anything else that it so called does. But if there was no certification exam then there would be no re-certification/OCC exams which would also eliminate all that hassle and headache.

      1. DO

        Chris, exactly.

        These exams are just a money making machine, and the fact that some DO’s are “Grandfathered” and DONT have to spend their money on these tests, is infuriating to me.

        The “Grandfathered” DO’s are the ones who need the most scrutiny, IMO

    2. Dean

      Eliminate the current burdensome and expensive time-limited exams. There’s got to be something more humane for AOBFP.

    3. Genie James, AOA senior vice president of certifying board services

      AOA Specialty Certifying Boards continually look for opportunities to innovate and are leading the charge for change.

      Each of the AOA Specialty Certifying Boards is thoroughly reviewing its Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) components.

      Like all the AOA boards, the AOBFP’s primary focus is on providing a convenient and valuable approach while maintaining the high standards of osteopathic board certification.

      Stay tuned for details on changes to AOBFP Board Certification.

    1. Genie James, AOA senior vice president of certifying board services

      Once a physician enters into the CORE they will no longer need to or be required to take COLA modules.

  2. An OFP

    Agree with above comment.

    Will the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians offer an online exam as a second option for those recertifying?

  3. Kevin Agrest

    I was also wondering when the AOBFP is going to get something like this. Our MD counterparts have already done it. It makes their life easier.

  4. Concerned exam taker

    The next, very real question the AOA and CBS needs to answer for all of us, is how are they going to approach all the people who have already taken the high-stakes exam? If a doctor has already paid for, taken and passed a high stakes exam in the past 7-10 years, that doctor should be exempt from any new OCC component 3 annual exams. The exemption should be valid until the high-stakes exam would have expired. Depending on the specific board, that is 7-10 years. The AOA and the boards have refused to answer this question. It will set them up for litigation if they attempt to force all the doctors who already passed recertification exams to pay for and participate in further recertification during the time period they should be exempt from more exams.

    1. Genie James, AOA senior vice president of certifying board services

      We are working to streamline the phase-in process for all AOA Specialty Certifying Boards. The AOBEM has developed a phase-in plan for diplomates to enter CORE based on their current certification expiration date.

      Diplomates can decide when they’d like to enter CORE. For more specific details on the AOBEM phase-in plan, please visit the AOBEM website.

  5. Eye Doc

    Wonderful developments. Hope to see all our AOA boards follow suit.

    And makes us more competitive to attract new members.

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