ABPS Board Certification for Family Physicians in Emergency Medicine

Family Physicians in Emergency MedicineThe 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.

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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.

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