Emergency Medicine Board Certification for Career EM Physicians Trained in Primary Care
The Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine® (BCEM) was developed by the American Board of Physician Specialties® to offer board certification to highly qualified physicians who specialize in emergency medicine. In order to ensure that qualified applicants have the opportunity to pursue board certification in their area of expertise, BCEM offers an opportunity for candidates who completed residency training in Emergency Medicine as well as physicians who were trained in primary care but have chosen to work in the emergency room.
This is important because, traditionally, in order to be board certified in Emergency Medicine, residency training in an emergency department was required. The problem is that many family physicians have worked in their community’s ERs to meet the need of the hospital. In many cases, these professionals have years or decades of expertise in Emergency Medicine and BCEM makes physicians who have indisputable expertise in the emergency room and primary care residency training eligible to pursue board certification.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements of the BCEM?
To be a candidate for board certification in Emergency Medicine, a physician must first satisfy the general requirements of the ABPS. These include being a graduate of a recognized U.S. or Canadian allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine and holding a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, or Canada.
The Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) has its own eligibility requirements that include:
- Completion of an ACGME, AOA, RCPSC, or CFPC-accredited residency in emergency medicine, or
- Completion of an ACGME, AOA, RCPSC, or CFPC residency in one of the following primary care specialties—family practice, internal medicine, pediatric medicine, or general surgery—and at least 5 years AND 7,000 hours of full-time emergency medicine experience, or
- Completion of an accredited residency in one of the following specialties—family practice, internal medicine, pediatric medicine, or general surgery—and a 12- or 24-month emergency medicine fellowship approved by the AAEP.
To earn BCEM certification, candidates in all three pathways must pass both a written and oral examination. The computer-based written exam consists of 325 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must pass the written exam to take the oral component.
You can find information about dates and fees for the application and the written exam here.
Why Certify With the BCEM?
BCEM certification is highly competitive, but primary care physicians who satisfy its eligibility requirements and pass the stringent certification exam will come away with a verifiable record that they have the knowledge and expertise to provide exceptional emergency care in virtually any setting, whether urban or rural. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the best and brightest ER physicians in North America have the opportunity to become certified in their chosen field. Board certification is more than an honorary title, and many hospitals are beginning to require that their physicians be certified in their specialty area, which is why it’s so important that recruiters and hospital administrators know the unique opportunity that we offer at BCEM. If your emergency room is staffed by highly experienced primary care physicians, they should be encouraged to pursue board certification through our organization.
To learn more, contact us today. The ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®