American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Osteopathic Continuous Certification

Rather than being a single event, certification should be a continuous, lifelong process. osteopathic continuous certification (OCC) ensures that board-certified DOs maintain currency and demonstrate competency in their specialty area. The only change to the current osteopathic recertification process is the addition of a Practice Performance Assessment.

Each specialty certifying board developed OCC requirements implemented as of Jan. 1, 2013. If you hold a time-limited certificate, you are required to participate in the five components of the OCC process in order to maintain your osteopathic board certification.

Five Components of OCC

  • COMPONENT 1 - Active Licensure: 
    Requires that physicians who are board-certified by the AOA hold a valid, active license to practice medicine in one of the 50 states. In addition, these physicians are required to adhere to the AOA’s Code of Ethics.

  • COMPONENT 2 - Lifelong Learning/Continuing Medical Education:
    Consistent with your current commitment to lifelong learning, this component requires that all recertifying physicians fulfill a minimum of 120 hours of CME credit during each three-year CME cycle — though some certifying boards have higher requirements. Of these 120+ CME credit hours, a minimum of 50 credit hours must be in the specialty area of certification. Self-assessment activities will be designated by each of the specialty certifying boards.

  • COMPONENT 3 - Cognitive Assessment:
    Requires provision of one (or more) psychometrically valid and proctored examinations that assess a physician’s specialty medical knowledge, as well as core competencies in the provision of health care.

  • COMPONENT 4 - Practice Performance Assessment and Improvement:
    Requires that you engage in continuous quality improvement through comparison of personal practice performance measured against national standards for your medical specialty.

  • COMPONENT 5 - Continuous AOA Membership:
    Membership in good standing through the AOA serves to establish your foundation of commitment to lifelong learning through basic CME requirements. In addition, certified members participate in relevant specialty-specific educational activities. Membership also demonstrates your dedication to the ethical practice of osteopathic medicine through adherence to the AOA's Code of Ethics.


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