EMS became the sixth subspecialty available to ABEM diplomats on September 23, 2010, when it was approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). As the sole sponsoring and administrative board for the subspecialty, ABEM is responsible for examination development, administration, scoring and analysis as well as credentialing candidates and notifying them of their examination results.

The EMS certification program, developed by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, is designed to standardize physician training and qualifications for EMS practice, to improve patient safety and enhance the quality of emergency medical care provided to patients in the prehospital environment, and to facilitate further integration of prehospital patient treatment into the continuum of patient care.

As part of their clinical practice, EMS physicians are responsible for medical oversight of the whole EMS team. EMS physician practice combines direct patient care in the field with supervisory and other functions that ensure an effectively functioning response system. This includes daily direct medical decision-making and control of care provided by EMS personnel.

Some examples of this include verbal medical treatment orders based on clinical information provided by allied health personnel, transport modality and destination appropriate patient care decisions, developing and deploying written patient treatment guidelines for the EMS team, and ensuring procedural competency training of allied health personnel. EMS physicians also lead quality management activities relating to medical care delivered by the entire EMS system.

Certification in the subspecialty of EMS is available to diplomats of any ABMS member board who meet the eligibility criteria established by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.

Eligibility Criteria

Physicians seeking certification in EMS must fulfill the following eligibility criteria:

Primary Board Certification: The physician must hold current primary board certification issued by an ABMS member board.

Medical Licensure

The physician must fulfill the ABEM Policy on Medical Licensure.

EMS Fellowship Training Pathway

The EMS fellowship training pathway requires that physicians successfully complete an ACGME accredited EMS fellowship.

ABEM will request independent verification directly from the program director that a physician successfully completed the EMS fellowship.

Physicians seeking certification in more than one subspecialty may not apply the same subspecialty fellowship training period toward fulfillment of requirements of more than one specialty or subspecialty.


A candidate who has met the eligibility criteria and who passes the subspecialty examination is recognized as being certified in the subspecialty of EMS. Certification is for a period of ten years. To renew certification a physician must fulfill the requirements of the EMS Maintenance of Certification program

The Core Content of EMS