The BCFM Offers Family Medicine Physicians a Recognized Choice for Board Certification

Doctor filling patient history list on a clipboard.The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) as one of three nationally distinguished physician board certifying bodies. The Board of Certification in Family Medicine (BCFM), a Member Board of the ABPS, offers qualified and experienced family medicine physicians an opportunity to demonstrate their range of expertise through board certification in family medicine.

While the eligibility requirements for physicians seeking board certification varies from one specialty to the next, there are a number of prerequisites common to all Member Boards of the ABPS. These include an unrestricted medical license for every state in which the physician is licensed, proof that these licenses are current, adherence to the ABPS Code of Ethics, and a prescribed amount of experience in the physician’s chosen specialty.

Eligibility Requirements of the Board of Certification in Family Medicine

Separately, the BCFM requires doctors seeking family medicine certification to have completed a family medicine residency approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). The ABPS also recognizes family medicine residencies accepted by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Further, applicants must submit at least 10 documented reports for family medicine cases in which they assumed the lead role during the 12-month period prior to applying with the BCFM. Case reports are required, and they must include:

  • Complaint
  • History
  • Admitting diagnosis
  • Physical and lab findings
  • Final diagnosis
  • Summary of important facts, including diagnosis, care, and final results

Exams for Certification in Family Medicine

The BCFM offers a clinically-based, written exam that gives physicians a chance to demonstrate proficiency in the core competencies required to provide comprehensive care in family medicine. The exam covers 33 family medicine subject areas, with cardiovascular diseases, dermatology, geriatrics, pediatrics, and signs and symptoms of diseases being the areas most represented on the exam. Development of the rigorous exam is a collaborative effort by the ABPS, with input from ABPS Diplomates, psychometric consultants, and other experts in the field of family medicine. Diplomates design the written exam to thoroughly test applicants on their knowledge of family medicine.

You can find out more here about the exam as well as the dates and fees for BCFM application.

Once granted, BCFM certification is good for eight years, expiring on December 31st of the eighth year.

Current Diplomates of the ABMS and the AOA are eligible to recertify with the BCFM. Recertification requires documentation of the required number of Continuing Medical Education (CME) hours, completion of the recertification application, and successful completion of the written recertification examination.

Why BCFM Certification Matters

The process for certification with the BCFM is understandably rigorous, but when physicians achieve BCFM certification, they become recognized as qualified family medicine physicians, positioning themselves as leaders in the healthcare community and expanding their career opportunities. When these doctors achieve BCFM certification, they:

  • Become recognized as qualified family medicine physicians, positioning themselves as leaders in the healthcare community and expanding their career opportunities
  • Enjoy opportunities to exchange information about clinical experiences and best practices
  • Have a meaningful voice as a valued participant in the community

If you are a family medicine physician researching board certification options and would like more information about the BCFM’s eligibility requirements, or helpful details on how to prepare for the certification exam, contact the ABPS today.



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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