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Multilevel Certification Program Timeline Approved by BOD

Details regarding the application process and fee schedule are forthcoming

D-ABFA Certification

Application Instructions and Resources
1) Apply to Sit for the ABFA Certification Examination
  • Must be a permanent resident of the U.S., Canada, or their territories (waivers may be granted at the discretion of the board of directors)
  • Must have a doctoral degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in Physical/Biological Anthropology from an accredited institution (waivers may be granted for degrees in related fields or from non-accredited institutions at the discretion of the board of directors)
  • For a full list of required application materials, please see the Policy and Procedure Manual (PPM)
  • Applications requirements include:
    • Three letters of recommendation, from at least two institutions, one of which must come from a Diplomate of the ABFA
    • Three redacted forensic anthropology case reports (either mock cases, or cases completed independently by the applicant within the previous 5 years), along with various supporting documents (e.g., bench notes, software outputs, photographs, inventories, etc.) See Case File Submission Rubric 
    • Paid application fee
  • These application materials are used to assess the applicant’s forensic anthropological abilities and eligibility to sit for the certification examination. The materials are reviewed by the ABFA Board of Directors who then vote on whether to accept or reject the application.
2) Pass Both Written and Practical Components of the Certification Examination
  • The exam is offered once annually
  • The written exam is a multiple-choice exam testing the examinee’s breadth and depth of knowledge in the field, including:
    • biological profile, trauma, bone biology, pathology, taphonomy, postmortem interval, scene processing, legal contexts, identification, statistical analyses, medicolegal significance, and published standards
  • The practical exam assesses the examinee’s ability to apply his or her knowledge and forensic anthropological skills. Stations test competency in osteology, biological profile estimation, applying osteometrics, interpretation of skeletal and dental development, trauma and taphonomy interpretation, identification of pathological conditions, utilization and interpretation of analytical software programs, and methods of identification
  • To pass, an examinee must obtain a minimum score of 80% on each of the written and practical exams

Application Inquiries:

Contact Katie Skorpinski and

Heather Garvin,

Applications Co-Chairs

2021 COVID-19 Update:

  • The written exam is now offered virtually through a testing company, at the convenience of the applicant

  • The practical exam is currently being offered at the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

    • It is the applicant's responsibility to arrange travel, lodging, and food for the duration of the practical examination

3) Maintain Diplomate status
  • The recertification process, which documents a Diplomate’s continuing education and forensic anthropological engagement, must be successfully completed every three years.
  • Annual dues must be paid on-time
  • The Ethical and Professional Standards statement must be adhered to and signed annually
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