Board Eligibility

Physicians must be designated as ABEM board eligible to seek certification in Emergency Medicine. The designation “board eligible” refers only to physicians who have never achieved certification. To be ABEM board eligible, a physician must:

  1. Have graduated from an ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited Emergency Medicine program or an ABEM-approved combined training program.*
  2. Fulfill the ABEM Policy on Medical Licensure

* The only exception to this criterion is for physicians who applied for certification through the practice pathway and had open certification applications on file with ABEM on January 1, 2015.

Board Eligibility Schedule

Board eligibility is time-limited.

Physician Group

Graduates from residency training 2015 to present:

  • Eligibility Begins: On the physician’s graduation date
  • Eligibility Ends: December 31, five years after the graduation date

Those who had open certification applications on January 1, 2015, and graduates from residency training prior to 2015 who did not apply for certification, or had an application that was closed as of January 1, 2015:

  • Eligibility Begins: January 1, 2015
  • Eligibility Ends: December 31, 2019

Physicians who meet specific requirements by the end of their period of board eligibility without becoming certified will be granted a second period of board eligibility.

Second Period of Board Eligibility

To be granted a second five-year period of board eligibility, a physician must:

  1. Pass the Qualifying Examination by the end of the first period of board eligibility.
  2. Complete all additional certification requirements.

Expiration of Board Eligibility

Board eligible status ends when:

  • A physician does not meet the requirements to be granted a second period of board eligibility
  • A physician does not become certified by the end of their second period of board eligibility
  • A physician achieves ABEM certification
Physicians who are no longer board eligible cannot claim to be board eligible and cannot take ABEM certification examinations.

Board Re-eligibility

To become board eligible again, physicians must successfully complete the Physician Re-eligibility Program, or PREP, starting up to one year before their board eligible status expires. Currently, there are three organizations, Center for Personalized Education for Professionals (CPEP); Knowledge, Skills, Training, Assessment, and Research (KSTAR); and LifeGuard that provide this program. To become board re-eligible, you must:

  • Contact ABEM to verify your eligibility for additional training
  • Apply to CPEP, KSTAR, or LifeGuard
  • Participate in a pre-assessment
  • Complete a customized learning plan derived from the results of the pre-assessment
  • Complete supervised practice

PREP is designed to take one year or less and requires minimal time away from your home and practice. If you have questions, contact ABEM at 517.332.4800, ext. 331, or

Assistance Available for Physicians with Test-taking and Learning Difficulties

ABEM has been asked by physicians who believe that they have test-taking difficulties for resources that can potentially assist with these difficulties. The following program may be of help:

Please note that ABEM shares these resources without recommending or endorsing them or their products. ABEM is not affiliated with any of the linked organizations. ABEM does not represent or guarantee that they will help you pass an exam. Other organizations may offer products that would be better for you. ABEM suggests that you consider all available resources to determine which is best for you. ABEM assumes no responsibility for any aspect of your experience should you work with a linked organization.

Other organizations that would like to be considered for inclusion on the list can contact ABEM at or 517.332.4800, ext. 343.

The desired characteristics of organizations included on this list include:

  • Experience in working with physicians, including medical students or residents, or at a minimum, experience with higher education test takers
  • The ability to demonstrate some capacity to perform an assessment of the physician that could include education, translational research, psychology, or experience with assisting those with standardized testing difficulties