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.


Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

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