American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

General Requirements and Policies

Announcement: The AOA, ACGME and AACOM have agreed to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education programs in the U.S., with AOA-accredited training programs transitioning to ACGME accreditation between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2020. Read more and view Frequently Asked Questions.

Osteopathic postdoctoral training programs are recognized throughout the United States in federal and state laws, rules and regulations. As the only accrediting agency for osteopathic medical education, the AOA is responsible for developing and enforcing postdoctoral training requirements, policies and procedures in order to ensure the highest quality programs. ​   

AOA Basic Documents for Postdoctoral Training

The  AOA Basic Documents for Postdoctoral Training contains the basic standards for all postdoctoral training, including for OPTIs, individual training institutions, individual programs and for trainees.  

Common Institutional and Program Requirements 

The  Common Institutional and Program Requirements document is a streamlined reference to those standards from the AOA Basic Document for Postdoctoral Training that apply to all specialty programs. The standards in the Common Institutional and Program Requirements is an adjunct to the specialty standards and are included in the evaluation of all programs for initial or continuing approval. 

Core Competency Compliance Program 

To assess effectiveness in the integration of core competencies, the AOA requires the development and implementation of an Institutional Core Competency Plan. The purpose of the plan is to create an internal process that outlines the methods chosen by an institution to achieve compliance and evaluation activities.  

Internal Review Policy

Institutions sponsoring AOA approved intern, residency and fellowship programs are required to conduct internal reviews of all approved programs in order to assess their compliance with the Institutional Requirements described in the AOA's "Basic Document for Postdoctoral Training Programs" and the program requirements of the AOA Specialty Colleges.

Corrective Action Plans 

The AOA Basic Document requires that each program with one or more deficiencies a Corrective Action Plan listing the steps that the program will take to correct those deficiencies. 

Postdoctoral Training Councils 

Council on Postdoctoral Training 

The COPT is a representative body composed of members from AOA affiliate organizations created to assure that postdoctoral training programs are operating within approved standards, rules and regulations, and are providing educational training satisfactory to the public interest. Read the  Handbook of the Council on Postdoctoral Training

Program and Trainee Review Council

The primary responsibilities of the PTRC are to serve as the decision making body for AOA-approved internship, residency, fellowship and subspecialty training programs and for individual training approvals. In this capacity, actions of the PTRC are final. The Council also serves as an advisory body on policy to the COPT. View the  Handbook of the Program and Trainee Review Council.​

Council on Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training Institutions

The COPTI is the initial review body for OPTI accreditation and makes recommendations to the BOE for final action. Learn more by viewing the  OPTI Accreditation Handbook.

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