From the AOBS Chairman -- AOBS and ACOS: What’s the Difference?

The AOBS and ACOS know it can be confusing keeping straight the various professional entities that serve you, especially as it relates to our newly minted D.O. resident candidates. Both AOBS staff and board members often receive inquiries about the ACOS and vice-versa throughout the year. This article is written to order to help identify the differences, and an important few similarities, between the AOBS and ACOS.

The primary role of the AOBS (American Osteopathic Board of Surgery) is to define the qualifications required of an osteopathic surgeon and examine for certification, subspecialty certification, and continuous certification in the surgical specialties assigned to the Board by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) which includes: cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery, neurological surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, urological surgery, vascular surgery, and surgical critical care (subspecialty certification). The AOBS issues certificates to osteopathic surgeons duly licensed by law who have been recommended and approved for certification by this Board to the AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS). It also establishes, maintains, and amends rules and regulations, and standards and qualifications for the granting, issuing, maintenance and revocation of certificates with the approval of the AOA BOS.  The AOBS is required to report all actions, recommendations, and activities of the Board to the AOA Board of Trustees through the AOA BOS. And most recently, the AOBS has been tasked to offer an Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) process and issue certificates of continuous certification to candidates who successfully complete the OCC process.  

The Cliff Note version is that the AOBS is the board certification and testing arm of the AOA for its member surgeons while the ACOS is the educating, advocacy, leadership development, and professional relations arm for its many surgeon members. Both are committed to promoting excellence within the osteopathic surgical professions and in the surgical care of patients, and both desire to be the primary organizational home for certifying and educating all osteopathic surgeons. For more information go to the AOBS’ website and ACOS’ website

Timothy M. Burandt, DO, FACOS
Chairman, American Osteopathic Board of Surgery