Board Certification Eligibility Requirements

Information for the Sports Medicine Examination for a Certificate of Added Qualifications

The Sports Medicine Examination program for a certificate of added qualifications is conjointly developed by interested osteopathic specialty boards and the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine. A Sports Medicine Conjoint Examination Committee has representation from each participating specialty board and academy.

This program is designed to recognize excellence among those who provide care to persons who participate in athletics or exercise programs. The examination evaluates an understanding of the scientific basis of the problems involved in sports medicine, the familiarity with the current advances in sports medicine, the possession of sound judgment and of a high degree of skill in the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures involved in the practice of sports medicine.


Sports medicine is that branch of the healing arts profession that utilizes an holistic, comprehensive team approach to the prevention, diagnosis, and adequate management of sports and exercise-related injuries, disorders, dysfunctions and exercise-related disease processes.

The specialty of sports medicine consists of the following:

  1. The comprehensive medical management of the athlete which requires an understanding across a broad scope of specializations.
  2. An understanding of performance aids, coaching techniques and training skills.
  3. The science of injury prevention and recognition, advanced rehabilitation techniques and epidemiology.
  4. The application of wellness through cardiovascular training of the general public as well as athletes with disability.
  5. The application of sports science in improving the health care of athletes.
  6. The recognition of the special medical problems of athletes.
  7. The application of osteopathic principles to athletes.
  8. The term athlete refers to an individual who is engaged in sport, exercise or physical activity at the recreational, competitive, industrial, professional or elite level.

The requirements include approved training and/or practice experience. Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Hold primary certification awarded by the AOA upon the recommendation of a participating specialty board.
  • Hold a valid, unrestricted license to practice medicine in a state of the United States; applicants with a restricted, suspended or revoked license in any jurisdiction at the time of application will not be admitted to the examination.
  • Be a current member in good standing in the American Osteopathic Association or the Canadian Osteopathic Association.
  • Completion of one year of AOA approved training in sports medicine evidenced by copy of sports medicine certificate and letter of recommendation from program director. The period of eligibility is six years from the date of completion of the AOA approved sports medicine program.

The CAQ examination in sports medicine will be offered biannually at a site to be determined by the Committee.

the nonrefundable application fee of $50 must accompany the application by the published postmark deadline date. The registration period ends at least ninety days prior to the examination date. The examination fee will be $500 and payment is requested after approval of a candidate for examination and is due by a published postmark deadline date of at least 45 days prior to the examination date. There is a nonrefundable penalty fee of $100 for withdrawal later than at least 14 days prior to the examination date.

The examination will be proctored half-day examination consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions of the "one best answer" type. Questions will cover the following four major categories:

Basic Science
A. Anatomy
B. Physiology
C. Pharmacology
D. Nutrition

Injury Management/Prevention
A. On-site immediate acute care
B. Post event care
C. Sports Knowledge, sports rules
D. Protective equipment

A. History
B. X-ray & Lab
C. Performance
D. Consultation

A. Pharmacological
C. rehab modalities (acute and reinjury prevention)
D. Psychological

No specific recommendation about study methods or review courses may be made. However, extensive self study of sports medicine in texts and journals and participation in continuing medical education programs and review courses in sports medicine should be useful.

Candidates will be informed of the results of the examination within 90 days following the examination date. Successful candidates will receive a certificate for Certification of Added Qualifications in Sports Medicine. The certificate will be awarded after the AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists gives final approval of the exam process for each candidate. This approval process may take about six months following the notification of successful completion of the examination. Upon written request and payment of a fee of $50, candidates may obtain rescoring of the examination within a year of receiving the results. The answer sheets of candidates will be destroyed three years after administration.

Candidates may reapply for the net scheduled examination upon submitting a letter of intent, updated application information and the examination fee of $500. Clinical practice pathway candidates failing their first exam attempt in Fall 2001 will be allowed a reasonable time in which to complete a scheduled examination as a retake.

Application Process

The applicant must submit to the specialty board which has awarded primary certification the following at the time of application:

  • Completed application signed and dated by applicant
  • Notarized, passport size photo
  • Copy of current state medical license with expiration date
  • application fee in the form of a check for $50
  • Appropriate letters of recommendation
  • Copy of sports medicine program certification OR
  • Copy of AOA Individual Activity Report(s) for practice years
  • Curriculum vita (clinical practice pathway applicants)

Applicants files will be reviewed by the Sports Medicine Conjoint Examination Committee after the close of the registration period. Candidates will be notified in writing of their eligibility.

Submit application documents in one mailing to the specialty board awarding your primary certification.

If you have any questions, please contact the AOASM National Office.