Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners

Decision Considerations, Disease Protocols, Psychiatric Evaluation


The information shown on this page is also available in this Psychiatric Evaluations (PDF) document.

Why is a psychiatric evaluation required? Mental disorders, as well as the medications used for treatment, may produce symptoms or behavior that would make an airman unsafe to perform pilot duties. This guideline outlines the requirements for these evaluations.

Will I need to provide any of my medical records? You should make records available to the psychiatrist prior to their evaluations, to include:

  • Copies of all records regarding prior psychiatric/substance-related hospitalizations, observations or treatment not previously submitted to the FAA.
  • A complete copy of your agency medical records. You should request a copy of your agency records be sent directly to the psychiatrist and psychologist by submitting a Request for Airman Records (FAA Form 8065-2) 


Who may perform a psychiatric evaluation? Psychiatric evaluations must be conducted by a qualified psychiatrist who is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology or the American Board of Osteopathic Neurology and Psychiatry.

  • We strongly advise using a psychiatrist with experience in aerospace psychiatry and/or familiarity with aviation standards. Using a psychiatrist without this background may limit the usefulness of the report.
  • If we have specified that additional qualifications in addiction psychiatry or forensic psychiatry are required, please ensure that the psychiatrist is aware of these requirements and has the qualifications and experience to conduct the evaluation.

What must the psychiatric evaluation report include? At a minimum:

  • A review of all available records, including academic records, records of prior psychiatric hospitalizations, and records of periods of observation or treatment (e.g., psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, counselor, or neuropsychologist treatment notes). Records must be in sufficient detail to permit a clear evaluation of the nature and extent of any previous mental disorders.
  • A thorough clinical interview to include a detailed history regarding: psychosocial or developmental problems; academic and employment performance; legal issues; substance use/abuse (including treatment and quality of recovery); aviation background and experience; medical conditions, and all medication used; and behavioral observations during the interview.
  • A mental status examination.
  • An integrated summary of findings with an explicit diagnostic statement, and the psychiatrist's opinion(s) and recommendation(s) for treatment, medication, therapy, counseling, rehabilitation, or monitoring should be explicitly stated. Opinions regarding clinically or aeromedically significant findings and the potential impact on aviation safety must be consistent with the Federal Aviation Regulations.

What must be submitted by the psychiatrist? The psychiatrist's comprehensive and detailed report, as noted above, plus copies of supporting documentation. Recommendations should be strictly limited to the psychiatrist's area of expertise. Psychiatrists with questions are encouraged to call the FAA Psychiatry Branch Manager at (202) 267-3767.

Last updated: Wednesday, February 7, 2024