Early Entry Initial Certification Frequently Asked Questions


The American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians (AOBFP) Early Entry Initial Certification (EEIC) program is designed for osteopathic residents who want to maintain their osteopathic distinctiveness within a single accreditation system extended into their certification. The EEIC program is available for osteopathic family medicine residents who want to intentionally set themselves apart and “choose excellence,” as an osteopathic family physician, integrating the four osteopathic core principles into their care and treatment of patients. It is also available to allopathic graduates who satisfy the requirements of additional osteopathic training. The AOBFP EEIC program is an excellent option for the osteopathically-trained medical student who has matched into an ACGME family medicine program that does not have osteopathic focus.

1.  Who can participate in the EEIC program?
  • Osteopathic family medicine resident
  • Resident (allopathic or osteopathic) who is enrolled in an ACGME osteopathically-recognized family medicine residency program
  • Allopathic resident who is enrolled in a non-osteopathically-recognized ACGME-accredited family medicine residency program that has completed fifty (50) hours of OMT/OPP training
All participants must have taken two (2) AOBFP In-Service Examinations (ISE or ISE+) during their residency

2.  Can allopathic residents participate in the EEIC Program?
Yes, an allopathic resident who is in an ACGME osteopathically-recognized residency or who has completed 50 hours of OMT/OPP approved training and has taken two (2) AOBFP In-Service Examinations (ISE or ISE+) during their residency program may participate. 

3.  Are residents from new osteopathically-recognized residency programs eligible for EEIC? What about programs that were dually accredited but are no longer osteopathically recognized? 
Yes, residents from new osteopathically-recognized programs are eligible for the EEIC if they have taken two (2) AOBFP In-Service Examinations (ISE or ISE+) during their residency program. Regarding allopathic residents who are in programs that were dually accredited but are no longer osteopathically  recognized, those individuals would be eligible if they complete fifty (50) hours of OMT/OPP training and have taken two (2) AOBFP In-Service Examinations (ISE or ISE+) during their residency program. 

4.  What are the steps for completion of the AOBFP EEIC?
  1. Complete two AOBFP In-Service Examinations (ISE or ISE+) during your residency program.
  2. Register for the EEIC program. Registration information can be found here: https://certification.osteopathic.org/family-physicians/ 
  3. Take and pass the AOBFP Early Entry Initial Certification Examination during your last year of residency.
  4. Successfully complete a three-year AOA/ACGME-approved residency in family medicine.

5.  If a residency program only offers the ABFM ITE and CORTEx, do those qualify for the EEIC? 
No. The ISE or ISE+ are required for the EEIC program. If a residency program does not support the ISE or ISE+, individuals may contact the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) directly and register for the ISE or ISE+. More information about the AOBFP ISE and ISE+ can be found here.

6.  When do residents take the Early Entry Initial Certification Exam?
The exam will be offered in the spring of the PGY3. The 2020 testing window was February 29-March 14, 2020 (Saturday-Saturday). While residents will not be officially conferred until after successful completion of PGY3 (and passing the EEIC exam), you will be able to tell future employers you have passed the AOBFP certification exam earlier in your search process, potentially making you more competitive as a potential hire.  

7.  Does the ISE or ISE+ exam taken in PGY3 count as the EEIC exam?
No. The ISE and ISE+ are formative assessments and do not have pass/fail scores. The EEIC exam is designed to measure the competency and knowledge, skills, abilities and judgments of a qualified osteopathically-certified family practice physician. 

8.  Why do residency programs require a formative assessment during the third year if only two ISEs are required to sit for the EEIC? 
To maintain ACGME accreditation, residents across all programs must take a formative assessment (in-service exam) all three years of residency. To qualify and participate in EEIC, only two attempts at the ISE or ISE+ need to be completed. 

9.  Is there a minimum score that is required to achieve on the AOBFP In-Service Exam (ISE/ISE+) to be eligible for EEIC?
No, the only requirement for the program are two independent scores attained in different years of the residency. 

10.  How does the EEIC exam differ from the standard certification exam?
The EEIC exam will cover the same content domains as the standard initial certification exam. The content domains are determined by an analysis of practice which is conducted regularly by surveying osteopathic family physicians about their practice. Both exams are designed to measure the competency and knowledge, skills, abilities and judgments of qualified osteopathic family practice physicians. The EEIC examination will be shorter in length than the standard initial certification exam, thus providing for less testing time and will be offered in advance (earlier in the year) so candidates will have performance outcomes sooner than their counterparts. All AOA examinations are psychometrically validated and developed by best practice models for high-stakes testing use recognized industry standards.

11.  When would my certification be conferred?
Upon satisfying all requirements as outlined by the AOBFP, certification will be granted and the individual will be officially enrolled in OCC. The beginning of the OCC cycle is January 1 of the year following the candidate’s initial certification.  

12.  Do you have to take the OMT Performance Exam to become osteopathically-certified in family practice?
A resident can choose either Osteopathic Certification in Osteopathic Family Medicine & Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) or Osteopathic Family Medicine. If a resident chooses the OMT option, the performance exam would only be required at initial certification. 

13.  Why take the OMT performance examination? 
  • To reflect your proficiency in osteopathic manipulative medicine and commitment to maintaining the distinctiveness of osteopathic practice.
  • To distinguish yourself as a skilled practitioner by achieving a level of mastery in OMM as evaluated by experts in the field
  • Opportunities for ongoing skill development in and applications of OMM are offered and available throughout osteopathic continuous certification
  • The timing is right. The skills and abilities to demonstrate proficiency in OMM are at their peak when completing training.
  • Patient assurance of a competent, skilled practitioner as evidence by the distinct certification

14. Is there an opportunity to enter the OMM track after initial certification is conferred?
Yes, an AOA-certified family practice diplomate in good standing (meeting all of the requirements for osteopathic continuous certification) may apply for the OMM option at any point throughout their professional career.

15.  What is the cost?
The written examination is $400. (The standard initial certification cost is $500).
The performance examination is $500.