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AOA Residents and Medical Students

What AOA Residents and Students Need to Know About the Single GME Accreditation System

1. Identify AOA-approved programs that have applied for ACGME accreditation

Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2020, all AOA-approved programs must apply for ACGME accreditation. Programs that were AOA-approved on July 1, 2015 will receive exceptions to specific requirements, as will the residents in those programs, if they apply under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the ACGME, AOA, and AACOM. The Public page of the ACGME’s Accreditation Data System (ADS) offers the ability to search for programs and institutions. This report shows all programs that have applied for and achieved ACGME accreditation.

Learn more about how to search for programs.

Learn more about each stage of the accreditation process:

2. Pre-Accreditation

Pre-accreditation is a status that signifies that an AOA-approved program or institution has submitted an application for ACGME accreditation. This status was established as part of the agreement among the ACGME, the AOA, and AACOM. It is conferred automatically upon submission of an application for accreditation via ADS.

Pre-accreditation is not synonymous with Initial Accreditation. In order to achieve Initial Accreditation (and, ultimately, Continued Accreditation), a program or Sponsoring Institution must be determined by the applicable ACGME Review Committee to be in substantial compliance with the applicable Program Requirements and/or the Institutional Requirements. Individuals who complete a residency program after that program has achieved pre-accreditation status will be subject to the ACGME eligibility requirements for the relevant subspecialty that were in effect as of June 30, 2013 or July 1, 2016, whichever is less restrictive.

Continued pre-accreditation is a status given to a program that does not achieve Initial Accreditation upon first review by the Review Committee. Programs with continued pre-accreditation are subject to the same provisions under the MOU as programs with pre-accreditation status.

Learn more about pre-accreditation and continued pre-accreditation.

3. Locate Program Requirements and Other Specialty-Specific Information

Each specialty and subspecialty accredited by the ACGME has its own set of accreditation Program Requirements and an associated FAQ document. These documents are posted on the specialty page of the ACGME website (subspecialty documents are listed with their associated core specialties), which can be accessed here. In most cases, each core specialty has its own Review Committee. The Review Committee typically oversees a core specialty and all associated subspecialties of that core specialty. Any resources or information documents produced by the Review Committee to support or inform programs are posted in the specialty section of the website.

This document will help you to navigate the specialty web pages to locate any resources created by the Review Committee.

4. Osteopathic Recognition

Osteopathic Recognition was created by the ACGME as a part of the transition to a single GME accreditation system, so that programs’ osteopathic identity can be maintained under ACGME accreditation. Any ACGME-accredited or pre-accredited program may apply for Osteopathic Recognition, which is overseen by the Osteopathic Principles Committee.

Learn more about Osteopathic Recognition.

Identify programs that have applied and received Osteopathic Recognition in this report.

Direct questions about Osteopathic Recognition to Executive Director for Osteopathic Accreditation Tiffany Moss: 312.755.5490 or

5. Protection of AOA Residents During the Transition to a Single GME Accreditation System

The ACGME, AOA, and AACOM have entered into an agreement that provides protection for residents in AOA-approved training programs, which do not achieve ACGME accreditation prior to June 30, 2020, when the AOA will no longer accredit graduate medical education programs. Learn more about the agreement here.

6. Fellowship Eligibility for Graduates of Programs in Pre-Accreditation

Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2020, a resident who completes prerequisite training in an AOA-approved program with pre-accreditation status will be subject to the ACGME fellowship eligibility standards (by subspecialty) that were in effect June 30, 2013 or July 1, 2016, whichever are less restrictive.

A number of Review Committees (see here for a list) allow programs to grant an exception to the eligibility requirements for prior training.

If an individual who graduated from a program with pre-accreditation status is appointed to a fellowship program based on the “exceptionally qualified applicant provision” detailed in the ACGME Common Program Requirements, and has successfully completed Levels 1, 2, and 3 of COMLEX USA, then he or she will not be required to take USMLE.

NOTE: Some subspecialties did not in 2013, and will not in 2016, accept as prerequisite training anything other than completion of an ACGME-accredited program.

The eligibility requirements for every specialty and subspecialty vary among three spans of time between June 30, 2013 and July 1, 2016.

7. Fellowship Eligibility for Graduates of ACGME-Accredited Programs

Residents who graduate from an AOA-approved program that achieves Initial Accreditation prior to their graduation are eligible for ACGME-accredited fellowship programs, even if not all of the prerequisite clinical education required for entry into the fellowship was completed under ACGME accreditation.

Eligibility for and completion of ACGME-accredited programs does not guarantee eligibility for board certification. Board certification eligibility is determined by the individual certifying boards. Questions regarding eligibility for American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member board certification should be directed to the appropriate ABMS member board; questions about AOA certification should be directed to the appropriate AOA specialty certifying board.

8. Clinical Year Requirements

The ACGME Common Program Requirements (effective July 1, 2016) state that all prerequisite post-graduate clinical education must be completed in a program accredited by the ACGME, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or the College of Family Physicians of Canada. The Review Committees for some specialties that require a broad-based clinical year have provided clarification, through FAQs or other forms of Review Committee communication, to explain how the completion of a clinical year in an AOA-approved program would affect eligibility for the specialty. A compilation of those clarifications can be found here.

9. Board Certification Requirements – Pass and Take Rate

The ACGME’s Board of Directors recognizes that osteopathic graduates may take osteopathic certifying board examinations, and has instructed all Review Committees to propose language regarding board certification requirements to include AOA certifying board pass rates to accommodate this expectation. The ACGME currently monitors pass rates on ABMS board examinations and will do the same for AOA board pass rates.

Programs in which some or all graduates take the applicable AOA certifying exam may not achieve the required minimum “take rate" for the applicable ABMS board examination as specified in the specialty-specific Program Requirements. When this occurs the program will not receive a citation and the program’s accreditation status will not be adversely impacted on the basis of non-compliance with the requirement. The ACGME believes that the goal of ACGME-accredited residency education is to produce physicians who seek and achieve board certification, recognizing that some graduates will be eligible for both exams and will have the freedom to choose which exam to take. This expectation will be addressed in the Common Program Requirements at the time of the next major revision.

10. Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine

The ACGME began accrediting programs in osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine (ONMM) on July 1, 2015. There are two formats that an ACGME-accredited osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine program may offer, which will be very similar to the AOA-approved NMM/OMM program and the NMM/OMM Plus One program.

Learn more about the ACGME accreditation of osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine programs.

The Review Committee for Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine was created to oversee ACGME accreditation of programs in this specialty. The members of that Review Committee, including the resident member, are listed here.

11. Council of Review Committee Residents

The members of the ACGME Council of Review Committee Residents (CRCR) are the resident members of each Review Committee and Osteopathic Principles Committee. Both the Review Committee for Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and the Osteopathic Principles Committee have resident members that actively participate in the CRCR.

Learn more about the CRCR.

12. Report an Issue

The ACGME has two different processes for reporting issues related to an ACGME-accredited residency/fellowship program or Sponsoring Institution. These processes are in place to help physicians in GME programs receive fair resolutions to residency/fellowship education-related issues or raise allegations of non-compliance with ACGME requirements.

Learn more about these options.

13. Licensing Board Exams
To be eligible for appointment to ACGME-accredited residency programs, candidates must have graduated from a medical school accredited by the LCME or the AOA, or hold a currently-valid certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), or hold a full and unrestricted license. The ACGME does not specify which licensing board exam(s) (i.e., COMLEX-USA, USMLE) applicants must take to be eligible for appointment in ACGME-accredited residency programs.
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