ABPS Board Certification for Family Physicians in Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) is committed to enabling eligible family physicians with extensive experience in emergency medicine to become board certified in Emergency Medicine. The goal is to provide board certification for career emergency physicians whose extensive experience in emergency medicine might be overlooked or disregarded by other board certification bodies. To the ABPS, experience matters, and physicians whose experience in emergency medicine warrants board certification should have that option.
The shortage of physicians who are board certified in emergency medicine is especially acute in rural areas because many EM physicians work at high-volume hospitals in cities where they completed their training. However, the ABPS recognizes that there are many underserved areas nationwide, and it is our goal to help reduce that gap by providing eligible emergency physicians achieve board certification.
Yet, just because the ABPS advocates providing the opportunity for experienced family practitioners to become board certified in emergency medicine, it does not mean the pathway is easy. In fact, the ABPS and the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) employ highly rigorous standards for eligibility – among the most stringent in the nation. There are three potential options for family physicians to achieve emergency medicine board certification. They are:
- Option One
- Satisfactorily complete an ACGME, AOA, or RCPSC-accredited emergency medicine residency
- Option Two
- Satisfactorily complete an ACGME, AOA, or RCPSC-accredited primary care residency in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, or general surgery
- Practice emergency medicine full-time for at least five years and a minimum of 7,000 hours
- Option Three
- Satisfactorily complete one of the primary care residencies listed above
- Complete a 12- or 24-month Graduate Training Program (GTP) approved by the BCEM
Emergency Medicine Fellowship Programs for Family Physicians
The graduate training programs mentioned above are fellowships that must be approved by the American Academy of Emergency Physicians (AAEP). The AAEP recognizes teaching hospitals and medical schools that offer distinguished emergency medicine fellowships for primary care physicians. An AAEP-recognized program provides a broad scope of training and teaching, such as grand rounds, didactics, and workshops that would be difficult to arrange and support without an educational infrastructure. These fellowship programs also support a larger educational infrastructure, keeping physicians up to date on medical literature and practices.
A Stringent Certification Process That Yields a Wealth of Advantage
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.
Once granted, all ABPS certificates are good for eight years, expiring on December 31st of the eighth year.
The ABPS certification process is rigorous, but when physicians achieve BCEM certification, they:
- Become recognized as qualified emergency 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
For more information about eligibility requirements, or if you have questions about emergency medicine board certification through the ABPS, contact us today.