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Associateship of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (AFOM) – Regulations & Guidance

Associateship of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (AFOM) is intended for registered medical practitioners who are committed to the full-time or part-time practice of occupational medicine. The award confers a degree of formal recognition of competence. It is a level of competence recognised by assessment by the Faculty and its syllabus is detailed on this page.

Associateship is available to medical practitioners outwith UK Specialist Training who can demonstrate an equivalent level of competence, as outlined in these regulations.

Unlike the MFOM competencies those tested in the AFOM are not through workplace-based assessments, a research dissertation or equivalent evidence.



Candidates for the award of Associateship are required EITHER:

(a) to have full registration with the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom


(b) to possess a medical qualification acceptable to the Director of Assessment of the Faculty. These candidates must produce their original registration certificates, or diplomas of qualification, and official translation of their diplomas if not in English.



Upon application, candidates are also required:

(a) to have passed the Diploma in Occupational Medicine (DOccMED)


(b) to have at least 1 year of full-time experience (or the equivalent pro-rata) in occupational medicine and 2 years of full-time experience in other specialties. The examination entry form must be accompanied by evidence of the candidate’s experience in occupational medicine, together with a statement of support by a Member or Fellow of the Faculty, that they believe the candidate has acquired sufficient skills and knowledge to sit the examination.



The Faculty’s SAC will be the arbiter of acceptable experience under regulation A2.


A1 – A3.

Among other things, the SAC will normally seek evidence of

(i) a sufficient breadth, as well as a sufficient duration of experience in occupational medicine (across a range of settings and employment sectors, and covering a range of occupational health problems of a kind encountered in specialist training or practice); and

(ii) structured employment involving the support and, ideally, the formal supervision of a senior occupational physician of consultant status.




The examination is comprised of:

  1. Written Multiple Choice Question Paper (MCQ)
  2. Written Modified Essay (Structured Short Answer) Paper (MEQ)
  3. An Observed Structured Practical Examination (OSPE) and written Photographic/occupational hygiene paper (PH)

A pass in the MCQ, a pass in the MEQ, and a pass in PH + OSPE (combined mark) are required to pass the MFOM Part 2 examination.



The written examinations for Associateship (AFOM) will normally be held over two days (same as MFOM Part 2). The OSPE (same as MFOM Part 2) will be held on another day, normally about a month later, and may be at one or more centres.



Details of the three sections of the examination, and guidance, may be found in the MFOM Part 2 examination regulations, which are published separately (see link below).


A4 – A6.

It is recommended that in preparation for the examination for Associateship (AFOM) candidates undertake an appropriate academic course.

Details of the examination components can be found within the Regulations & Guidance for MFOM Part 2 .





The syllabus for the examination for Associateship (AFOM) will be based on the core competencies in the current GMC-approved training curriculum for higher specialist training in Occupational Medicine in the UK.



Questions may be asked on any part of the syllabus.


A7 – A8.

Details of the current specialist training curriculum and core competences can be found within Section 2.2 of the Faculty’s Specialist Training Curriculum for Occupational Medicine.




A candidate’s performance in each section will be assessed relative to an external standard set by the examiners. Raw marks may be adjusted to preserve a common standard between examinations.



Candidates must achieve a pass in the MCQ, a pass in the MEQ, and a pass in the PH + OSPE (combined mark) to pass the MFOM Part 2 examination. On a candidate’s first attempt, they must take the MCQ, MEQ, and the PH and OSPE.

The MCQ paper and the MEQ paper are marked separately.

The PH paper and the OSPE are marked together and a pass or fail is awarded based on the combined marks achieved in both the PH paper and OSPE. The PH paper and OSPE must be taken in the same diet.

Candidates are required to pass the MEQ, and the MCQ, and the combined PH/OPSE in order to pass the AFOM/MFOM Part 2 examination.

Successful sections can be banked as follows:

  • If a candidate passes the MCQ paper, the candidate’s pass in the MCQ will be banked and the candidate will not re-sit it.
  • If a candidate passes the MEQ paper, the candidate’s pass in the MEQ will be banked and the candidate will not re-sit it.
  • If a candidate passes the PH paper and the OSPE, the candidate’s combined pass will be banked and the candidate will not re-sit PH paper or the OSPE.

Please note, the banking of exam sections takes effect from September 2022 only.




Candidates who have successfully completed the requirements specified in A4 will be awarded the Associateship of the Faculty on payment of a fee. Associates may use the post nominals AFOM. This qualification is not registerable with the General Medical Council.



Before attempting the examination for Associateship (AFOM), candidates must have two years full time experience in other specialties, after completion of Foundation Training.

For candidates who have undertaken their medical training in the UK, such experience is likely to have been gained during Specialist Training years 1 and 2 or General Practice Training, the aim being to enable a doctor to obtain a broad medical experience before embarking upon specialist training. The time is spent in a series of specialty registrar posts accepted for the purpose. General Practice Vocational Training in the UK (GPVT) will also meet this requirement.

The experience gained should be wide and varied. The following list of specialties providing suitable experience is illustrative and not necessarily comprehensive:

  • General Practice
  • General Medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Diabetes & Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Nephrology
  • Thoracic medicine
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Clinical Immunology & Allergy
  • Dermatology
  • Genito-urinary Medicine
  • Medical Oncology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Neurology
  • Rheumatology
  • Accident & Emergency
  • General Surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Urology
  • Psychiatry
  • Rehabilitation

If in doubt, applicants can inquire about the suitability of their experience; the Faculty’s SAC will be the final arbiter of admissibility.


Date last modified: 8/11/21