Emergency Medicine Initial Certification Overview
There are three steps to achieve Emergency Medicine certification: 1) applying and credentialing, 2) taking and passing a qualifying examination, and 3) taking and passing an oral certification examination. Physicians who successfully complete each of these steps are certified as diplomates of the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM). Certification is for a period of ten years. To maintain certification beyond the expiration date of the certificate, diplomates must participate in the ABEM Maintenance of Certification (ABEM MOC) program.
The certification process begins with successful completion of an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education – (ACGME) or Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada – (RCPSC) accredited residency program in Emergency Medicine. ABEM also recognizes specific combined training programs that have been approved in advance by the respective sponsoring boards. A current list of combined Emergency Medicine training programs is available on the ACGME website www.acgme.org/adspublic. Residency graduates apply to ABEM for certification. Once ABEM verifies their credentials and accepts their applications, they automatically receive an assignment to the qualifying examination.
In order to take the qualifying examination, physicians must accept the assignment by registering for and scheduling an appointment to take the examination. ABEM administers the qualifying examination annually in late October or early November.
Physicians who pass the qualifying examination are scheduled for the oral certification examination. The oral certification examination is administered two times each year - in the spring and in the fall. Physicians are assigned to one of the two oral certification examinations offered in the calendar year immediately following their successful completion of the qualifying examination. Physicians who pass the oral certification examination become diplomates of ABEM.
Each spring, ABEM publishes a Certification Policies and Procedures book describing the certification application and examination process. Residency programs distribute the brochure to graduating residents along with personalized application forms.