What is the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM)?

BCEMThe Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) provides board certification and re-certification for qualified emergency department physicians. This can include physicians who might be certified in family medicine or primary care, but have spent many years working in a local hospital emergency department. Board certification through the BCEM is a demonstration that a physician has mastered the core competencies required to provide the best care possible in an emergency department setting.

The BCEM standards for eligibility are among the most stringent in North America, in keeping with the standards set forth by the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS®). Our clinically based Emergency Medicine board certification exams also provide career emergency physicians a meaningful chance to demonstrate the depth of the skill and knowledge they have attained over the years.

The ABPS believes that career emergency physicians with substantial experience, and either an appropriate residency or completion of an approved post-graduate fellowship program, should receive the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise through BCEM certification. More than 30 percent of the emergency department workforce in the United States falls into this category, and many of them merit recognition for their knowledge and experience. We also believe that physicians should have a choice of which emergency room board certification best reflects their commitment to caring for their patients’ needs.

In addition to conforming to the ABPS code of medical ethics, physicians who wish to pursue certification through the BCEM are required to:

  • Practice emergency medicine for at least five years on a full-time basis
  • Accumulate a minimum of 7,000 hours in the practice of emergency medicine
  • Complete a residency in one of the following primary care specialties – family practice, internal medicine, pediatric medicine, or general surgery

These are only a few examples of eligibility requirements, which demonstrate the depth of knowledge and experience the BCEM requires prior to consideration. To learn more about the eligibility requirements and exam structure of the BCEM, contact the ABPS. The ABPS is the official multi-specialty board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.


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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine