There Is a Pathway for Primary Care Trained Physicians to Become Board Eligible in Emergency Medicine

BCEMPrimary care trained physicians serve on the staff of emergency departments throughout the country. In fact, about 40 percent of the nation’s emergency department workforce are doctors with substantial experience in emergency medicine who have also completed a primary care residency. These physicians have established rewarding careers in emergency care and have continually demonstrated high proficiency in the emergency room, a demanding environment that requires multifaceted skills, a calm demeanor, and confident decision-making. Today’s medical industry requires continuous improvement, and these doctors deserve to be recognized for their dedication and proven expertise.

Board certification is one of the best ways to earn recognition, but, unfortunately, for many years, certification in emergency medicine required residency training in the field. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. The Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine® (BCEM) offers a certification pathway to primary care trained physicians with extensive experience in the emergency room.

The BCEM was developed by the nationally recognized certification body the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) to ensure that qualified physicians have the opportunity to pursue board certification in their area of expertise. That’s why, at the BCEM, emergency residency training is not an eligibility requirement for certification. To be eligible for BCEM certification, a physician who did not complete an emergency medicine residency must:

  • Have completed a residency in a primary care field and practiced emergency medicine for at least five years on a full-time basis, while accumulating at least 7,000 hours of ER time.


  • In lieu of five years’ experience, have completed graduate training in an approved emergency medicine fellowship

If you are a primary care physician who is considering applying for emergency medicine certification, or if you would like information about approved emergency medicine fellowships, contact the ABPS. We will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with more details about the BCEM’s eligibility requirements.

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House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
New Approaches to Improve Patient Outcomes
JUNE 26 - JULY 1, 2020
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.

ABPS provides a guarantee of a high level of competency. Not only has this been good for my professional development but it has assured my patients that the clinicians they see are trained to the highest degree.

Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC
Integrative Medicine
I value my ABPS certification very highly because it is one-of-a-kind certification in Urgent Care Medicine under the auspices of a larger, reputable organization. I really enjoy the professional and personal relationships I have formed with other individuals in the development of this new board and appreciate the great lengths that ABPS goes to ensure and enhance the recognition of it's component boards.
Joseph D. Toscano, MD
Urgent Care Medicine
ABPS gives its members unique opportunities to learn and develop professionally. I have been practicing Emergency Medicine for over 27 years and have been privileged to be a member of this fabulous organization. Through ABPS I have developed tremendously in my professional career becoming a consummate practitioner of my trade, a physician leader locally at my hospital, in my region , at the state level, and a published clinical researcher.
Leslie Mukau, MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine