Medical Toxicology

Dates and Fees

Medical toxicologists specialize in the preventing, evaluating, treating, and monitoring an injury or illness from toxic exposure. Physicians attain subspecialty certification in Medical Toxicology by meeting the eligibility criteria, fulfilling specific credential requirements of their primary board, and successfully completing the Medical Toxicology subspecialty certification examination.

The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) and the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM), and ABEM offer subspecialty certification in Medical Toxicology. ABEM is responsible for examination development, administration, scoring, and analysis. Each sponsoring board is responsible for credentialing its respective candidates and notifying them of their examination results.

Each sponsoring board appoints member to the jointly sponsored Medical Toxicology Subboard. There are four members from ABEM, two from ABP, and two members from ABPM. The primary functions of the subboard are to develop examinations in Medical Toxicology and credential individuals at the request of individual sponsoring boards.


Physicians seeking Medical Toxicology certification must:

  1. Be certified by an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Member Board or the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM)
  2. Successfully complete fellowship training as specified in the eligibility criteria
  3. Apply through their home board, whether ABEM, ABP, or ABPM
  4. Be actively participating in their primary Board MOC program
  5. Fulfill the ABEM Policy on Medical Licensure
  6. Comply with the ABEM Policy on Board Eligibility for Subspecialty Certification

Exam Process

The Medical Toxicology Certification Examination is offered every other year, in even numbered years.


To apply, physicians must complete the current year’s application. In January of each even-numbered year, fellowship programs will receive application forms for their fellows. ABEM-certified physicians and candidates who have completed a two-year, ACGME-accredited Medical Toxicology fellowship may also request an application form by contacting ABEM.

ABEM encourages physicians to submit applications well before the deadline and mail them using a method that provides confirmation of delivery. The following must be submitted for an application to be complete:

  • Completed, signed, and notarized current-year Medical Toxicology certification application form
  • Application fee in U.S. funds

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

ABEM recommends physicians retain a copy of each form and supporting document submitted. Applications and related information become property of ABEM, and submitted documentation will not be returned.

A final review of an application will be completed when all information is received. Applications that are incomplete will be closed April 1 of the following year. Physicians with closed applications must submit new applications if they wish to apply. They must meet all requirements in place at the time the new application is submitted. ABEM mails notification regarding whether the physician's application has been approved.


Physicians who apply through ABEM and have approved applications will receive information about how to register for the exam and schedule an appointment at a Pearson VUE testing center.

Physicians who apply through the ABP and ABPM will be registered by ABEM and notified when they can schedule an appointment to take the examination.

Taking the Exam

The Medical Toxicology Certification Examination is approximately eight hours, with six hours and twenty minutes devoted to actual testing time. This criterion-referenced exam has 300, single-best-answer, multiple choice questions, and 10-15 percent of questions will have a pictorial stimulus. The examination is administered at over 200 Pearson VUE professional computer-based testing centers throughout the United States.

All candidates achieving a final score of 72 or greater will pass the examination.

Sample Exam Questions

Content Specifications

The 2012 Core Content of Medical Toxicology is the basis for all Medical Toxicology examination content.
Core Content of Medical Toxicology

It is published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology: Nelson LS, Baker BA, Osterhoudt KC, Snook CP, for the Medical Toxicology Core Content Task Force for the Medical Toxicology Subboard; Keehbauch JN, for the American Board of Emergency Medicine. The 2012 core content of medical toxicology. J. Med. Toxicol 2012;8(2):183-91.

Exam Question Distribution


Principles of Toxicology(1.0)


Pharmacology/Toxicology (1.1)
Molecular Components/Mechanisms (1.2)


Cytotoxic Mechanisms (1.3)

Principles of Radiation (1.4)
Mutagenesis and Carcinogenesis (1.5)
Mechanisms of Reproductive Developmental Toxicology (1.6)


Toxins and Toxicants(2.0)


Drugs (2.1)


Drugs of Abuse (2.2)


Industrial, Household, and Environmental Toxicants (2.3)


Natural Products (2.4)


Warfare and Terrorism (2.5)


Radiological (2.6)


Clinical Assessment(3.0)




Assessment and Population Health(5.0)


Analytical and Forensic Toxicology(6.0)



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