Pain Medicine

Dates and Fees

  • Pain Medicine Certification Examination

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.


ABEM physicians must sign into their ABEM Portal and select the green Pain Medicine link. Application and examination fees are due at the time of submission. Application fees are non-refundable; however, approved applications are valid for seven years.

Timing Considerations

Physicians can submit their application before their IM-CCM training is completed. However, all steps of the application, including verification of the successful completion of training, must be completed before scores will be released.

Physicians can sit for subspecialty exams before obtaining Emergency Medicine certification. However, they are not considered certified in a subspecialty until they become certified in Emergency Medicine.

If a physician chooses to take a subspecialty exam before becoming certified in Emergency Medicine, they will be asked to sign a form acknowledging the following:

  • If the results of the Oral Exam are a pass, in which case the physician is certified in Emergency Medicine and will meet the eligibility criteria for certification in the subspecialty, the application for certification in the subspecialty will be approved and scores will be released.
  • If the physician does not pass the Oral Exam, they are not certified in Emergency Medicine and will not meet the eligibility criteria for certification in a subspecialty; the subspecialty examination results will be held for 12 months. If the physician does not pass the Oral Exam and become certified within that time, the subspecialty scores are nullified and the examination fees are not refunded. Scores will not be released.

Scheduling Your Exam Appointment

Once your application is submitted and reviewed, ABEM will forward your examination authorization to the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA).  The ABA will contact you with instructions on scheduling your exam appointment.

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