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.



Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
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.

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