AAO Fellowship Program


Fellows of the American Academy of Osteopathy (FAAOs) are a diverse group that encompass variations in areas of emphasis in the osteopathic profession. While all share a passion for the osteopathic profession, some emphasize clinical development, some teaching, research, or writing, some focus on service or leadership, and still others on innovation and exploration of new approaches/applications or contributions to theory.

The strength of the Fellowship is in the passion and diversity of its members and their commitment to the osteopathic profession. Some benefits in joining the Fellowship can include an increase of your referral base, help with job and academic promotion applications, expanding your expertise in your specialization, the potential to interact with highly trained mentors, and to extend your osteopathic journey.

FAAO is an earned post-doctoral designation conferred by the American Academy of Osteopathy. Academy members who earn the FAAO designation have demonstrated outstanding understanding and execution of osteopathic principles.


Application deadline for FAAO candidate cycle is November 15th annually.

Download application packet (PDF)


*FAAO Frequently Asked Questions*

Candidate Schedule - 2 years
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The fellowship process is designed to be completed in a two-year cycle. If during the initial two-year cycle, a candidate wishes an extension or deferment, the Committee on Fellowship in the AAO may grant a one-year extension for sufficient cause. The conferment of honors occurs at the end of the two-year cycle after the candidate has fulfilled all the requirements for the FAAO. This is a solemn occasion and all Fellows are expected to wear academic regalia and march in procession at the opening of the president's banquet at the AAO annual Convocation.


This is a brief summary of the application requirements, see the Information for Candidates booklet in the application packet for detailed requirements.

1. Membership in the AAO for a period of five (5) consecutive years.

2. Certification by a certifying board from one of the following organizations: the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS).

3. Applicants shall show evidence of commitment to the AAO organization by meeting at least one (1) of these AAO organizational service requirements: 

  • Service on an AAO board or committee for more than 12 months.
  • Lecturing as faculty at an AAO course or in the AAO Convocation program.
  • Serving on an AAO taskforce appointed by the AAO president.
  • At least 40 hours of service over a 3-year period at AAO osteopathic education service (OES) events.

And of fulfilling at least three (3) of the following six (6) categories since completing a board certification.

  • Contribution to osteopathic literature
  • Development of osteopathic theory or manipulative method or procedure
  • Research related to osteopathic theory and practice
  • Contributions in the field of osteopathic education: faculty (college, AAO, cranial, etc.) formal educational programs, preceptorship activity, clinical or hospital supervision
  • Service to the public and public health (community activity, school physician, sponsor of health activity, etc.)
  • Leadership or substantial service to the profession (dean, medical director, chief of staff, carrier advisory committee member, department chair, committee chairs on staff, etc.)

4. Applicants shall file a signed statement of full compliance with the FAAO Code of Ethics and Professionalism policy. 

5. At least five (5) years of practice are required since completion of initial board certification. 

6. Applicants shall provide an abstract and outline with references of the proposed scientific paper or thesis to be developed for publication.

7. Provide proof of CME activity where at least 50 CME specialty hours must be programs sponsored by the American Academy of Osteopathy.

8. Case histories will be three (3) total with two (2) representative of the candidate's practice and one (1) pertinent to his or her thesis.

9. Applicants will sit for an interview and pre-assessment practical exam before formal approval of the outline of their proposed paper and acceptance of the member as a candidate in the Fellowship process.