Pain Medicine

Dates and Fees

Pain Medicine is the multidisciplinary subspecialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of the entire range of painful disorders.

ABEM-certified physicians gain subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine by meeting the eligibility criteria, fulfilling specific credential requirements, and passing the Pain Medicine Certification Examination.

Pain Medicine is co-sponsored by ABEM and three other American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Member Boards. The American Board of Anesthesiology develops and administers the subspecialty certification examination in Pain Medicine. Each Member Board is responsible for credentialing its candidates and notifying them of their examination results.


Emergency physicians seeking to take the certification examination in Pain Medicine must:

  1. Be certified by ABEM
  2. Successfully complete an ACGME-accredited, Pain Medicine fellowship of at least one year as specified in the eligibility criteria
  3. Complete and submit the application to ABEM
  4. Actively participate in ABEM's continuing certification process
  5. Fulfill the ABEM Policy on Medical Licensure
  6. Comply with the ABEM Policy on Board Eligibility for Subspecialty Certification


Exam Process

The Pain Medicine Certification Examination is offered once each year.


To apply, ABEM-certified physicians complete and submit the current year’s application, which is available from the ABEM office.

Complete application submissions include:

  • Completed, signed, and notarized current-year certification application form
  • 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 February 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 with approved applications will receive instructions on how to register for the exam and schedule a seat at a Pearson VUE testing center.

Exam Content Specifications

The Pain Medicine Certification Examination content outline, examination blueprint, and sample questions are available on the ABA website.


ABEM sends candidates the results of their examination in writing. Results are also posted on each candidate's ABEM Personal Page