Family Physicians Working in Emergency Medicine Can Distinguish Themselves With BCEM Certification

BCEMRight now, there are thousands of family physicians working with great dedication in emergency departments across the country. Their impeccable diagnostic skills and patient care expertise should come as no surprise to members of the medical community. After all, family medicine is a multi-disciplinary specialty that includes extensive training in emergency medicine departments and requires a skill set that’s broad enough to serve a wide variety of patients.

Too often, however, potential employers overlook the emergency medicine contributions of these specialists because, unlike many of their peers, they have not completed a specific residency in emergency medicine. As a further complication, family physicians who work in emergency departments have traditionally been considered ineligible for certification in emergency medicine. So, in a time when more healthcare organizations are viewing board certification as a prerequisite for employment, these specialists may find that the road to career advancement presents one obstacle after another.

Thankfully, the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine® (BCEM), a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), offers a unique opportunity for qualified family medicine physicians who have extensive experience in the ED.

BCEM Certification Expands Physicians’ Career Opportunities

BCEM certification can markedly increase a physician’s employment opportunities, says Jerry Allison, MD, FAAEP, BCEM Diplomate and emergency medicine physician leader in Dallas. “Candidates who present the BCEM credential help simplify the hiring and verification process. Certification is an added credential when presented along with other primary care physicians who do not hold this certificate.”

A BCEM-certified physician is one who has demonstrated competency in emergency medicine by passing a psychometrically sound written and oral exam. Furthermore, through BCEM certification, Diplomates improve their qualifications for leadership positions in emergency medicine and acquire credentials that strengthen their ability to prevent and fight litigation.

The BCEM Certification Process

The BCEM has developed rigorous standards to ensure that emergency medicine physicians have the requisite training and skills essential for providing exceptional medical care in the demanding environment of a bustling emergency room. To qualify for BCEM certification, physicians are required to meet stringent eligibility criteria, and they must successfully complete a comprehensive examination to attain certification. In essence, obtaining BCEM certification not only formally attests to their competency but also signifies to both patients and the general public that these committed practitioners of emergency medicine are among the most highly skilled in their profession.

Get More Information About the BCEM

To be eligible to apply for initial board certification with the BCEM, an applicant must first satisfy the general requirements of the ABPS. These include graduation from a recognized U.S. or Canadian allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine and possession of a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, or Canada. The BCEM has its own eligibility requirements. If you are a family physician with emergency medicine experience who wants a well-deserved career boost, contact the ABPS. We can give you information about the eligibility requirements for BCEM certification as well as more details about the advantages of earning this nationally recognized distinction.


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On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine