Information for Primary Care Physicians Interested in Board Certification in Emergency Medicine

Primary Care Physicians Emergency MedicineThe American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) believes that primary care physicians who have spent years demonstrating a proficiency in an emergency setting should have the opportunity to pursue board certification in emergency medicine.

Around 40 percent of the emergency department workforce in the United States has substantial experience in emergency medicine and has completed a residency in a primary care field. These physicians merit recognition for their knowledge and experience. We also believe those physicians should have a choice of which emergency medicine board to become certified through.

Eligibility Requirements of the ABPS

The eligibility requirements that primary care physicians and others must meet to be eligible for ABPS board certification in emergency medicine are among the most rigorous in the industry. We take that approach to ensure the best possible care for patients, as well as to provide eligible emergency physicians a meaningful opportunity to demonstrate the full depth of their expertise.

Primary care physicians who seek emergency medicine board certification must agree to adhere to the ABPS code of ethics and should have:

  • Practiced emergency medicine for at least five years on a full-time basis
  • Accumulated a minimum of 7,000 hours in the practice of emergency medicine
  • Completed an ACGME- or AOA-accredited residency, or a residency recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), in one of the following primary care specialties – family practice, internal medicine, pediatric medicine, or general surgery

Eligibility Requirements of the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine

Primary care physicians who wish to earn certification in emergency medicine through the ABPS Board of Certification for Emergency Medicine (BCEM) must verify staff privileges by means of a letter from the administrators of all emergency facilities where privileges are held. Also, applicants for emergency board certification must submit documented reports for a minimum of 10 emergency cases from the past 12 months for which he or she held the lead management role. Other eligibility pathways include:

  • Completion of an ACGME- or AOA-accredited residency, or a residency recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), in emergency medicine
  • Completion of an ACGME-, AOA-, or RSPSC-accredited Primary Care residency AND completed a 12- or 24-month Emergency Medicine Fellowship approved by the American Academy of Emergency Physicians (AAEP).

You can find more information about the BCEM’s eligibility requirements here. Once candidates are deemed eligible, they must pass both a written and oral examination to earn certification with the BCEM. The computer-based written exam consists of 325 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must pass the written exam in order to take the oral component.

The process for certification with the BCEM is understandably 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.

Contact us to learn more about the eligibility requirements for ABPS emergency medicine board certification, or to begin the application process.



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House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
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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