The BCEM: Definition, Goals & Eligibility Requirements

Emergency MedicineIn an increasingly crowded field of board certifying organizations that focus on Emergency Medicine, the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) stands out because of its stringent eligibility requirements and its openness to physicians who have spent years − or even decades − practicing in a hospital emergency department but are residency trained in another specialty.

As a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS®), the BCEM provides a platform for qualified physicians to achieve board certification and re-certification in Emergency Medicine. Potential candidates include physicians who have spent many years working in a hospital emergency department, but became board certified in a specialty such as Family Practice or Internal Medicine. Physicians who achieve board certification through the BCEM demonstrate that they have mastered the core competencies necessary to provide the best emergency department care available.

The ABPS believes that career emergency physicians with substantial experience or successful completion of an approved post-graduate fellowship program, along with an appropriate residency, 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 Medicine board certification best reflects their commitment to caring for their patients’ needs.

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

In addition to submitting documentation illustrating their case experience and conforming to the ABPS code of medical ethics, physicians who are not residency trained in emergency medicine and wish to pursue board 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

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.

ABPS gives its members unique opportunities to learn and develop professionally. I have been practicing Emergency Medicine for over 27 years and have been privileged to be a member of this fabulous organization. Through ABPS I have developed tremendously in my professional career becoming a consummate practitioner of my trade, a physician leader locally at my hospital, in my region , at the state level, and a published clinical researcher.
Leslie Mukau, MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine
ABPS provides a guarantee of a high level of competency. Not only has this been good for my professional development but it has assured my patients that the clinicians they see are trained to the highest degree.

Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC
Integrative Medicine
I value my ABPS certification very highly because it is one-of-a-kind certification in Urgent Care Medicine under the auspices of a larger, reputable organization. I really enjoy the professional and personal relationships I have formed with other individuals in the development of this new board and appreciate the great lengths that ABPS goes to ensure and enhance the recognition of it's component boards.
Joseph D. Toscano, MD
Urgent Care Medicine