ADHD Fast Track: The FAA’s New Path For ADHD Evaluation

ADHD Fast Track: The FAA’s New Path For ADHD Evaluation

Jackson Barnett
Jackson Barnett

Principal Attorney

A new pathway called the FAA ADHD Fast Track went into effect on August 30, 2023, offering a new option for pilots diagnosed with ADHD are now evaluated for FAA medical certification.

The Original Path: FAA ADHD Standard Track

Over the last decade, airmen with prior ADHD treatment or medication had to follow the path of the FAA ADHD Standard Track.

The FAA ADHD Standard Track entailed an “CogScreen” evaluation with a neuropsychologist who had special authority from the FAA to conduct neuropsychological assessments for FAA purposes. This evaluation costs thousand’s of dollars and is pivotal for certification. However, if this evaluation did not go well, it could be interpreted as having shown symptoms of ADHD in the last four years.

The ADHD Fast Track Brings Two Big Changes

The biggest change that sets the ADHD Fast Track apart from the Standard Track is its neuropsychological evaluation. With the Fast Track, pilots will still need an evaluation from a neuropsychologist or psychologist at the doctoral level, i.e., PhD or PsyD. The ADHD Fast Track evaluation consists of an interview and presents much less of a hurdle than intensive cognitive testing.

The other major change brought by the ADHD Fast Track is that an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) can now issue a first-time FAA medical certificate to an applicant with a history of ADHD. The AME has previously been required to defer an FAA medical certificate application, causing the pilot to wait months for the FAA to decide on the pilot’s application. This waiting period virtually disappears with the advent of the FAA ADHD Fast Track, bringing about an entirely new standard of process efficiency.

Are you be eligible for the new FAA ADHD Fast Track? You may go a long way toward answering that question based on how well you align with its four criteria.

The Four Factors For FAA ADHD Fast Track

There are four primary criteria in the new FAA ADHD Fast Track that must be met. Pilots or applicants not meeting this criteria will be under the Standard Track. 

  1. No ADHD Symptoms Shown in the Last Four Years
  2. No ADHD Medication Taken in the Last Four Years
  3. No History of Any Other Psychological / Psychiatric Diagnosis or Treatment Outside of ADHD (Depression, OCD, Bipolar)
  4. Stability in Your Occupation and Social Functioning

On the last point, if you are working full-time professionally or as a student without major incidents related to ADHD, as well as functioning well in social interactions without highly negative experiences due to ADHD, you may be eligible for the ADHD Fast Track.

Some of these criteria, such as medication taken and medical history, are relatively straightforward. In contrast, others could be considered more subjective – such as the ones related to symptoms and job stability.

Regardless of which track you best fit for, you must provide certain records for clear evaluation. Let’s review those specific records together.

Records To Present For ADHD Fast Track Eligibility Review

The FAA ADHD Fast Track, like the Standard Track, requires the pilot to present the following records for review:

  • Pharmacy Records in the last four years
  • Medical records related to diagnosis and treatment for ADHD
  • Any other evaluations or treatment records related to ADHD or learning issues
  • Any medical records related to the use of ADHD medication, even if not for ADHD.
  • Driver’s license records from all states where the pilot has held a driver’s license for the last four years
  • Academic Records: All transcripts, 504 Plans and any Individualized Education Programs (IEP).
  • A Personal Statement

For many pilots and applicants, disclosing these documents may feel invasive. However, the FAA requires these documents for the FAA ADHD Fast Track and the FAA ADHD Standard Track.

Comparing FAA ADHD Fast Track To ADHD Standard Track

Knowing where we have been with the ADHD Standard Track and the four criteria to follow for the ADHD Fast Track, let’s compare the two:

EVALUATION and TESTING

Standard Track: 1-2 hour interview and neuropsychological evaluation with an FAA HIMS Neuropsychologist, followed by 4-6 hour minimum cognitive assessment. In-person evaluation is required.

FAST TRACK: 1-2 hour interview and neuropsychological evaluation with an FAA HIMS Neuropsychologist. No cognitive testing is required. Neuropsychologists are not required to have FAA designation. Another qualified medical professional can perform an interview and evaluation. Possibly no travel is required.

INSURANCE

Standard Track: No insurance accepted. Typically cash only.

FAST TRACK: In-network insurance may be used.

SCHEDULING PROTOCOL:

Standard Track: Farther out scheduling since HIMS Neuropsychologist is the only option for interview and evaluation.

FAST TRACK: Faster scheduling. Option for AME to issue in-office interview and evaluation.

Standard Track: Medical certificates could take months to arrive.

FAST TRACK: AME can provide a medical certificate with no processing time if criteria are met (pilots only, air traffic controllers not eligible).

We Can Answer Your Questions.

Bring Aboard Barnett.

Barnett Law Offices’ combination of professional aviation expertise and top-tier training has created the best team in the country for FAA medical certification. To schedule a consultation to discuss your current challenges and concerns regarding the FAA ADHD Fast Track, call Barnett Law Offices today at 1-800-578-5512.