As an Osteopathic trained physician, you may qualify to enter the ABFM Family Medicine Certification process in two ways:

  1. ACGME Family Medicine Residency and Advanced Placement Credit
  2. AOA Training Pathway (entry limited through December 31, 2022)

ACGME Family Medicine Residency & Advanced Placement Credit 

If you have graduated from an American Osteopathic Association (AOA)-approved medical school in the United States, you may qualify for certification by the American Board of Family Medicine by satisfactorily completing at least 36 months of ACGME-accredited family medicine residency training. There are two pathways to accomplish this:

  1. You may apply to an ACGME-accredited Family Medicine Residency program for entry into the first post graduate year (PGY-1).
  2. If you have already satisfactorily completed an AOA-approved internship (PGY-1), you can submit documentation of this training to receive credit for any portion of that year which meets the ABFM guidelines for Advanced Placement Entry.

Resident Certification Entry Process

During your residency you will follow the Resident Certification Entry Process, which includes: 

  • Before you are eligible to select a testing location and date for your examination, you must fulfill your self-assessment and quality improvement activities totaling a minimum of 50 points, which can be achieved through: 
  • Continuous compliance with ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct which includes holding medical license(s) which meet the licensure requirements of the Guidelines

  • Successful completion of family medicine residency training and verification of this by your residency program

  • Successful completion of the Family Medicine Certification Examination

You may begin the application process and submit payment for the examination without having completed all of your requirements.  To be able to select a test center date and location for your examination, all certification requirements must be complete.

Completion of your requirements for the Resident Certification Entry Process can be accomplished during your training, or up to a maximum of three calendar years after residency. If you are unable to fulfill the requirements within this time frame, you will need to go through the ABFM Entry process.


AOA Training Pathway

If you trained in a three-year AOA-Accredited Family Medicine Residency Training Program, or an AOA program that has received ACGME accreditation or pre-accreditation, you may be eligible to apply for Family Medicine Certification through a special AOA Training Pathway. Access to this pathway is time limited, beginning on December 1, 2017 and continuing through December 31, 2022.

Candidates for this pathway must meet the following requirements within three years of starting the process, or by December 31, 2022, whichever date comes first:

If you are interested in entering this pathway, please complete and submit this form AOA Training Pathway Form to Erik Tousseau at [email protected] for review.


AOA Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can AOA advanced placement credit be applied for PGY-2 or PGY-3 in an ACGME family medicine residency program?

No, only the PGY-1 year may be fulfilled by an AOA-approved internship year. Residency training beyond the PGY-1 year must be completed in an ACGME-accredited Family Medicine residency program in order to comply with requirements for continuity of care in the Resident Teaching Practice.

2. Why was a time-limited AOA Training Pathway developed?

By June 30, 2020, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) will no longer accredit residency programs in the U.S., and the ACGME will become the single accreditation body for approved training programs. An agreement between the ACGME and the Osteopathic community will provide a grace period at the end of the transition period to allow any residents in AOA programs that have not received ACGME accreditation to complete their training in these programs before they are closed. In light of this change, the ABFM has created a time-limited option, called the AOA Training Pathway, to provide an opportunity for all Family Medicine trainees to gain ABFM certification regardless of the status of their program in the accreditation process when the transition to the single ACGME accreditation system took place.

3. Once I am qualified and start the AOA Training Pathway, how long do I have to complete the requirements?

You will have three full calendar years after the year in which you start the AOA Training Pathway, or until December 31, 2022, whichever date comes first, to complete the requirements.

4. What happens if I attempt the ABFM Family Medicine Certification Examination and am unsuccessful?

If you complete all of the AOA Training Pathway requirements, take the initial Family Medicine Certification Examination but are unsuccessful on the examination prior to December 31, 2022, you will have three full years following your entry year into the AOA Training Pathway to complete the certification requirements, which includes achieving a successful passing score on the initial Family Medicine Certification Examination. 

5. What if I start the AOA Training Pathway but don't attempt the ABFM Certification Examination prior to December 31, 2022?

In this circumstance, the AOA Training Pathway will no longer be available. The only opportunity you would have at this point to gain ABFM certification would be through completing a three-year ACGME accredited family medicine residency.