Family Medicine Eligibility

Updated February 2018

To be eligible for certification in Family Medicine through the Board of Certification in Family Medicine (BCFM), the applicant must:

  1. Be in conformity with the Code of Ethics of the American Board of Physician Specialties, be known in his/her community as an ethical member of the profession, and be an active specialist in Family Medicine.
  2. Be a graduate of a recognized U.S., Canadian, or international allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine. International graduates must also hold a valid Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Certificate.
  3. Hold a valid and unrestricted license(s) to practice medicine in the United States, U.S. territories, or Canada.

Family Medicine Training and Experience:

  1. Be qualified under one of the following:
    1. Have completed an Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)-accredited residency in Family Medicine.
    2. Osteopathic physicians – Have successfully completed an AOA-approved internship, plus an AOA-approved General Practice residency and have a minimum of two (2) years full-time experience in Family Medicine and 300 hours of CME acceptable to the BCFP. AAPS CME form must be used, to view click here. (Form is included with the application materials.)
  2. Submit a documented report of a minimum of ten (10) Family Medicine cases for which the physician had the lead management role (see Case Report requirements outlined below). The case reports must be no older than twelve (12) months from the date the candidate’s application for certification is submitted to ABPS.

Additional Application Requirements:

  1. Submit three (3) letters of Recommendation from Diplomates of any ABPS, ABMS, AOA, RCPSC, or CFPC Board of Certification. All letters of recommendation must be signed by the author, printed on letterhead, dated within the twelve month period just  prior to the submission of the application, and must include author contact and board certification information.
  2. All U.S. physicians must perform a self-query of the National Practitioner Data Bank and submit the report. Get your self-query report at All Canadian physicians must request a Testament Statement from each province in which a license is held verifying that there have been no disciplinary actions against the applicant.
  3. Submit a current curriculum vitae, which includes medical school, degrees earned, and work experience, in chronological order.

Case Report Requirements:

Case reports must be carefully prepared as they are subjected to detailed scrutiny. Please note that case reports are not copies of dictated summaries from the chart. Reports should be accurate, well written, diversified, and properly descriptive. Case reports not meeting the requirements described below will not be accepted, resulting in an incomplete application. 

The applicant must submit ten (10) case reports in the following format:

  1. Case reports must be typewritten.
  2. Case reports must be double-spaced on standard 8.5″ x 11″ white paper.
  3. The applicant must sign each case report.
  4. An index shall be placed at the front of the reports indicating the type of case (diagnosis) and the page number on which the case can be found. To view index and verification form, click here.
  5. Confirmation of the validity of the reports by hospital administrator, medical records director, or whoever performs such duties at the facility, verifying that you were the physician treating the patient in each case on the date stated. If the applicant’s cases reflect work at more than one institution, then separate letters must be submitted verifying the cases from each institution. This validation must be notarized and signed. (Refer to index and verification form.)
  6. Case reports shall contain the following information:
    1. Patient # (1-10), list the same number as the case number (refer to sample index and verification form.)
    2. Date of the case
    3. Admitting diagnosis
    4. Final diagnosis
    5. Presenting Complaint
    6. History
    7. History of present complaint
    8. Pertinent past medical, family and social history
      1. Medical decision making
      2. Treatment and follow-up
      3. Pertinent physical and laboratory findings
    9. Summarization – Summarization of the important facts regarding the case acts as the most essential part of the case report and must describe the case in such a manner as to convey to the BCFM Credentials Committee the applicant’s understanding of the medical issues regarding the diagnosis, care, potential pitfalls and clinical relevance of the conditions and results obtained.

The BCFM Credentials Committee reserves the right to seek additional details for any case it deems necessary.



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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.

BCEM certification through ABPS has provided me with many opportunities. It has helped me demonstrate that I have special experience and expertise in Emergency Medicine beyond that obtained through my family medicine training. BCEM certification firmly established me as an emergency medicine specialist once I started working in emergency medicine full time. ABPS has also helped me network with other family physicians with a passion for improving rural and underserved emergency medicine practice.

Alex Beuning, MD, FAAEP
Emergency Medicine
Board certification through the American Board of Physician Specialties has served to substantiate my interest and additional training in several fields of medicine including Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, and Administrative Medicine. As a result, I have been able to serve my community in clinical, disaster response, and administrative medicine roles. Through the ABPS, I have become recognized as a leader in my various fields of interest.

Spencer Price MD, MPH, MBA
Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, Administrative Medicine
Personal challenge and motivation compelled me to pass my ABPS board exam. Measurement and confirmation of my own knowledge base reinforced my self-confidence. The ABPS, with its history of inclusivity, has allowed me to have a voice in the organization, while permitting me to impact overall national patient safety and care through certification. Participation in exam development afforded me the opportunity to witness the rigorousness of the exam process and psychometrically sound product, while developing meaningful collegiality, professional life enrichment, and warding off burn out.

Elizabeth Maxwell-Schmidt MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine