FAA Neuropsychological and Psychological Evaluations

FAA evaluations

Obtaining a Special Issuance Medical Certificate from the FAA

Pilots and pilot candidates may be referred for an aeromedical psychological or neuropsychological evaluation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to obtain or maintain a special issuance medical certificate. There are specific medical or neuropsychiatric conditions that are considered to be disqualifying conditions by the FAA. If you have one of those identified conditions, the FAA may require you to undergo additional evaluation to determine if you may qualify for a special issuance medical certificate.

An FAA neuropsychological evaluation is meant to objectively assess the airman’s cognitive and psychological functioning to ensure that there are no issues that can pose a risk to the safety of the airman and passengers. 

Typically, the process begins by receiving a notification letter from the FAA indicating the need for a neuropsychological evaluation. At this point, you and your AME (Aviation Medical Examiner) must find a neuropsychologist who is qualified to perform the evaluation using the standardized protocols set forth by the FAA.

FAA Aeromedically-Trained Neuropsychologist

When looking for a neuropsychologist, you will want to ask the following questions: 1) Are they HIMS-trained? 2) Do they offer the CogScreen-AE? 3) Are they board-certified? 4) How often do they attend the yearly FAA Aeromedical Neuropsychology trainings?

Dr. Silva is a board-certified neuropsychologist who is qualified to provide both aeromedical FAA neuropsychological and psychological evaluations using the required criteria for these specific types of evaluations. She is also HIMS-trained (Human Intervention and Motivation Study).

Cogscreen-AE

Our office is equipped with the CogScreen-AE system, which is often times required for the evaluation of aviators.

What Goes into a Neuropsychological Evaluation for the FAA?

We understand the implications that such evaluations can have on the careers of pilots and as a result, anxiety in undergoing the evaluation process is expected. We at PNBC ensure that examinees are as comfortable as possible in order to minimize test-taking anxiety.

The evaluations are comprehensive in order to ensure informed decisions. Medical and/or legal records are required for us to review prior to the first appointment. Evaluations always include a 1-2 hour long interview with Dr. Silva prior to undergoing testing. Collateral interviews with family members or co-workers may be required.

A full FAA psychological evaluation may take 3-5 face-to-face hours (including the interview) whereas an FAA neuropsychological evaluation can take 6-12 hours, depending on the questions that need to be answered. The CogScreen on its own typically takes 45 minutes to an hour to administer. Typically, examinees are not scheduled for more than 6 hours at a time, and a second day of testing might be necessary. Upon completion of all the tests, a report is written which integrates the findings from the records, interviews, and testing, and determines conclusions and recommendations for treatment and flight status. This report is usually sent to the referral source within two weeks.

If you do not yet have an aviation medical examiner (AME), click here to go to the FAA’s AME locator.

  1. Send a copy of the FAA letter to our office. You can either fax it to 866-437-0375, or e-mail to office@neuropacific.com.
  2. Request that the FAA directly send the records to this office. Please note that receiving records directly from the FAA is their requirement, and not specific to this office. It can take 6-8 weeks to receive records, so please do this as soon as possible. A form to request records can be found here. 
  3. Keep in mind that depending on the reason for the evaluation, there may be two days required for the evaluation. To know what to expect for your particular situation, the neuropsychologist would be happy to speak with you. Please call us at 858-964-0722.
  4. In the case of ADHD referrals, please note that the FAA requires you to obtain a urine drug screen (UDS) within 24-hours after each day of testing. You should schedule the UDS on your own, and please note that the cost for that is separate than the cost of the evaluation through us. There is a lab (Quest Diagnostics) across the street from our office that you may go to, and Sharp Rees-Stealy also has a lab three blocks away from our office. However, you may pick a different location that may be covered by your medical insurance.

Depending on the reason and complexity of the evaluation, the cost will be anywhere from $900-$4500. More specific pricing can be found on this page. These types of evaluations are not covered by health insurance.