The following is a guide to the Application Process for Board Certification. Certification is offered  by the boards below under the authority of the American Federation for Medical Accreditation (AFMA). The examination process is administered by The American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons (AANOS) in the following specialties:

  • American Board of Clinical Neurological Surgery
  • American Board of Spinal Surgery
  • American Board of Clinical Orthopaedic Surgery
  • American Board of Clinical Neurology



Certification Eligibility Requirements (For all applicants regardless of where training was done)

1. All applicants for board certification must first be members of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons. Membership application may be submitted simultaneously.

2. Applicant must be licensed to practice medicine in the country where certification will be used. Documentation is necessary and will be verified to the extent possible.

3. Documentation MUST be provided demonstrating successful completion of residency training in the applicable specialty. The program director, not the applicant, must state in writing directly to the Credentials Committee, that the applicant has satisfactorily completed the training program. For certifications to be used in the US, a minimum of 5 years of residency or equivalent training* is required for Neurological Surgery. The following should be used as a guideline for residency training in Neurological Surgery:

  • First year post graduate from medical school is an internship, preferably in general surgery.
  •  Second year is spent in the surgical disciplines including neurosurgery and at least 3 months of Neurology.
  • The remaining 4 years will be in clinical neurosurgery culminating in 12 months as Chief Resident  (Senior Resident Surgeon) The various disciplines, i.e., neuropathology, neuroradiology, etc. will be completed during this 4 year period.

4. Orthopedic Surgery is a 4 year residency not including the first post graduate year (internship) or equivalent training.*

5. Spinal Surgery certification requires fellowship training (neurosurgery or orthopedic) or equivalent training* and/or experience. Applicants must be board certified in Neurological Surgery or Orthopedic Surgery prior to application to be certified in Spinal Surgery.

6. Neurology certification requires a 3 year residency program following first post graduate year after medical school (internship).

7. Active practice for at least 18-24 months related to the specialty being certified in the country where certification will be used (after the successful completion of residency or equivalent* training).

8. Applicant must furnish, for review, 25-50 of the most recent written Operative Reports and/or Surgical Cases performed as the primary surgeon in the US (cases must be from the surgical specialty being certified).

* Equivalent training refers to training programs not accredited by the ACGME for certification to be used in the US. If residency training for any specialty is obtained outside the US then requirements for active practice in the US and case reports from a US based practice are automatically increased to the maximum (24 months and 50 cases).

American Federation for Medical Accreditation
Application and Examination Requirements

1. A fully completed application and supporting documents (as outlined on application form) along with the appropriate application and examination fee must be submitted and approved prior to scheduling the written examination. Once the written examination has been scheduled, the application and exam can only be cancelled with the fee refunded upon one month prior written notice to the Board Chair and/or headquarters office.

2. A cumulative passing score for the written and oral exams is 70%. In case a second written examination is needed due to inadequate score, a separate examination fee must be paid prior to retaking the written examination. A 6 month waiting period is required prior to retaking the examination.

3. Oral Examination can be taken immediately after the successful completion of the Written Examination or within 2 months after passing the Written Examination.

In order to take the examinations online, the following system specifications are required:

  • Computer connected to the Internet (high speed cable or DSL)
  • Windows XP or higher
  • MAC OS x or higher

Surgeons practicing in countries outside the US have received certifications from AFMA Boards. These certifications are restricted to the countries in which the surgeon is practicing and licensed at the time of the certification. International certifications are not transferable to the US.

Further inquiries, please call us at (312)787-1608

A) You may take any of the board examinations after you pay the application fee and submit all required documents along with your application; however, if we find any deficiencies in your application materials (i.e. residency training is not adequate) your application may not be accepted.

Please verify that you are qualified before completing this application since your payment may be forfeited.

B) The AFMA and AANOS are not liable for any actions of individuals who have obtained a Board Certification authorized by the AFMA and administered by the AANOS. The AFMA and AANOS make no limitations and warranties, neither expressed nor implied. No guarantees are made as to a certified physician’s ability to use the board certifications in certain situations. The credentialing body reserves the right to final judgment. Your certificate will be issued for use in the country in which you are licensed and practicing at the time of issuance of certification. Only applicants who legally reside and practice in the US will receive certification valid in the US. Note that board certification is not a license to practice medicine or surgery.