Emergency Medical Services

Dates and Fees

  • EMS Certification Examination

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) involves prehospital emergency patient care, including initial patient stabilization, treatment, and transport to hospitals in specially equipped ambulances or helicopters.

ABEM- and American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM)-certified physicians attain subspecialty certification in EMS by meeting the eligibility criteria, fulfilling specific credential requirements, and passing the EMS Certification Examination.

ABEM develops and administers subspecialty certification examination in EMS, and is responsible for credentialing all candidates. The EMS Examination Committee is composed of eight EMS physicians charged with creating and editing examination content, reviewing and selecting articles for EMS LLSA tests, revising the passing score, and decision-making authority for credentialing EMS certification applicants. EMS certification is available to all physicians certified by a member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

Minimally Qualified EMS Physician


Physicians seeking to take the certification examination in Emergency Medical Services must:

  1. Be certified by an ABMS Member Board. AOBEM diplomates who have completed an ACGME-accredited EMS fellowship may apply through the training pathway.  
  2. Successfully complete the training, training plus practice, or practice pathways as specified in the eligibility criteria.
  3. Complete and submit the application to ABEM
  4. Actively participate in the ABEM MOC Program.
  5. Fulfill the Policy on Medical Licensure
  6. Comply with the Policy on Board Eligibility for Subspecialties

Exam Process

The EMS Certification Examination is offered every two years, in odd-numbered years.


Practice or Training Plus Practice Pathway

To apply via the practice or training plus practice pathway, physicians must complete and submit the current-year application form.

2019 EMS Application

Accredited Fellowship Training Pathway
To apply via the accredited fellowship training pathway, physicians can complete the online application through their ABEM personal page.

To access the online application, sign in to the ABEM portal with your ABEM user ID and password and then select the ABEM Personal Page button a the top of the screen and then click the green EMS Certification button in the middle of the page.

For all applicants, the following must be submitted for an application to be complete:

  • All information requested in the certification application.
  • Application fee in U.S. funds

The application fee covers the cost of processing the application only and cannot be refunded.

A final review of an application will be completed when all information is received. Applications that are incomplete will be closed in January the year following the exam administration. Physicians with closed applications who want to take the exam must submit new applications and meet all requirements in place at the time the new application is submitted.

By completing the application form, physicians give ABEM permission to verify information submitted.

ABEM emails notification regarding whether the physician's application has been approved.



Physicians with approved applications will be notified how to register for the examination and schedule an appointment at a Pearson VUE testing center.

Taking the Exam

The EMS Certification Examination appointment time is approximately 8 hours. This criterion-referenced exam has 300 multiple choice questions, each with a single-best answer.

After check-in, the Pearson VUE test administrator will seat you in the testing room. Each EMS Exam appointment is 8 hours in length. However, only 6 hours and 20 minutes of this time is actual testing time, which is divided into two separately timed testing sessions.

Approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes of the appointment time is devoted to a one-hour scheduled break between the two testing sessions, and several accessory activities related to the exam administration. These accessory activities include acceptance of the ABEM Policy on Examination Irregularities, an optional test tutorial, examination instructions, and a candidate survey

Content Specifications

The Core Content of EMS Medicine is the basis for all EMS examination content. The 2012 Core Content of Emergency Medical Services Medicine defines the content for the initial certification examination for EMS.
Core Content of EMS Medicine [Word]
Core Content of EMS Medicine [PDF] 

It is published in Prehospital Emergency Care. Perina DG, Pons PT, Blackwell TH, Bogucki S, Brice JH, Cunningham CA, Delbridge TR, Gausche-Hill M, Gerard WC, Gratton MC, Mosesso Jr. VN, Pirrallo RG, Rinnert KJ, Sahni R., for EMS Examination Task Force; Harvey AL, Kowalenko T; for American Board of Emergency Medicine; Buckendahl CW, O’Leary LS, Stokes M; for Alpine Testing Solutions. The core content of emergency medical services medicine. Prehosp Emerg Care 2012;16(3):309-22. Epub 2012 Jan 10

The distribution of test questions on the EMS Certification Examination by Core Content areas are as follows:

Clinical Aspects of EMS Medicine 40%
Medical Oversight of EMS 30%
Quality Management and Research 10%
Special Operations 20%

Sample Exam Questions


ABEM sends candidates the results of their examination in writing within 90 days of the date of the examination. Results are also posted on the candidates ABEM Personal Page.