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.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine