• Emergency Medicine Credential Requirements

    Credential Requirements

    To begin the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) certification process, physicians must fulfill specific credential requirements. The requirements are described in detail in the Certification Policies and Procedures Book.

    Professional Education

    Physicians must have graduated from a medical school approved by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or the Bureau of Professional Education of the American Osteopathic Association (BPEAOA). Physicians graduating from an international medical school, must submit a copy of their original diploma and, if the diploma is not in English, a copy that is translated with the translation verified.


    Emergency Medicine Residency

    The physician must successfully complete a minimum of thirty-six (36) months of post-medical school training under the control of an Emergency Medicine residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).

    In cases where an Emergency Medicine residency program is longer than thirty-six (36) months, the physician must successfully complete all years of training for which the Emergency Medicine residency program is accredited in order to meet the Board’s credential requirements for certification.

    ABEM also recognizes specific combined training programs that have been approved in advance by the respective sponsoring boards:

    Emergency Medicine/Internal Medicine Combined Training Program. ABEM and the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) have approved guidelines for five-year training programs that, when completed, will provide physicians the option of certification in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine.

    Emergency Medicine/Internal Medicine/Critical Care Medicine Combined Training Program. ABEM and ABIM have approved guidelines for six-year training programs that, when completed, will provide physicians the option of certification in Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Critical Care Medicine.

    Emergency Medicine/Pediatrics Combined Training Program. ABEM and the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) have approved guidelines for five-year training programs that, when completed, will provide physicians the option of certification in Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics.

    Emergency Medicine/Family Medicine Combined Training Program. ABEM and the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) have approved guidelines for five-year training programs that, when completed, will provide physicians the option of certification in Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine.

    Medical Licensure

    Each physician applying for certification more than one year after graduating from an Emergency Medicine residency program must continuously hold a current, active, valid, unrestricted, and unqualified license to practice medicine in at least one jurisdiction in the United States, its territories, or Canada, and in each jurisdiction in which he or she practices. A physician may hold one or more additional licenses, each of which must be valid, full, unrestricted, and unqualified.

    Exception for New EM Residency Graduates

    Physicians who submit a certification application and take the qualifying examination, the same year they graduate from their residency program are not required to hold a medical license to take the qualifying examination. If an EM residency graduate, however, holds any licenses, they must be reported to the Board on the application and when registering for the qualifying examination. These licenses must be valid, full, unrestricted, and unqualified, except that they may be educational or temporary licenses.

    Exceptions for Fellows

    The licensure exceptions for fellows or physicians who have graduated from a fellowship are available only to those who entered a fellowship within six months of completing their EM residency program.

    Fellows who are enrolled in a fellowship program when they apply for certification and when they take the qualifying examination are not required to hold a medical license.

    Physicians who submit an application and take the qualifying examination the same year they graduate from their fellowship program are not required to hold a medical license to take the qualifying examination.

    If a fellow holds any license, however, it must be reported to the Board on the application and when registering for the qualifying examination. These licenses must be valid, full, unrestricted, and unqualified, except that they may be educational or temporary licenses.

    The Policy on Medical Licensure describes these requirements in more detail.

    Continuing Medical Education

    Documentation of continuing medical education (CME) is not required if a physician applies to ABEM within one year after graduating from an Emergency Medicine residency.

    Documentation of CME is required if a physician applies to ABEM more than one year following graduation from an Emergency Medicine residency. Starting one year after the physician’s date of graduation and continuing until the year the physician submits an EM certification application, the Board requires that the physician complete and report for review an average of 50 hours of CME per year in Emergency Medicine.

    Beginning with physicians who graduate from their residency programs after June 30, 2006, and who apply for certification in or after 2008, if physicians submit an EM certification application more than three years after the graduation date, of the required CME, at least 50 hours per year must be completed in each of the three years immediately preceding the year in which the application is submitted.