The New Certifying Exam: What it Is and Isn't

ABEM recently announced that a new Certifying Exam will launch in 2026 as the final step for physicians in the process of becoming ABEM certified. The Certifying Exam resulted from a rigorous review of ABEM’s Oral Exam and the critical exploration of how physicians become certified that was conducted by the Becoming Certified Task Force. Over 4,000 stakeholders participated in the process and ABEM learned that its certification process can be even more relevant to practice and can assess additional competencies that the current Oral Exam format cannot such as critical communication and procedural skills.  Looking across the medical specialty boards, more than half have an oral exam, the majority of which are “in person.”

So that’s the “why.” Here’s what the exam is (and isn’t):

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New Certifying Exam to Launch in 2026
ABEM is proud to announce the development of a new Certifying Exam for physicians seeking initial certification. Informed by feedback and a rigorous review process, the new exam will launch in 2026. The Certifying Exam will test additional competencies that are not tested on the Qualifying Exam or current Oral Exam, such as procedural skills, troubleshooting, and high-stakes communications. It will be comprised of two case types: Clinical care cases and objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) cases.

Learn more about the Certifying Exam
Why Raleigh, NC?
Summary of Becoming Certified Initiative Feedback
Key Findings from the Becoming Certified Initiative
Your feedback is important. Let us know if you have questions.

Annual Fee
If you certified or recertified after 2021, you now have an annual fee. The annual fee payment:
  • Is not an additional fee; it replaces any individual activity fee (LLSA fees, MyEMCert module costs).
  • Is the only fee you pay after your initial certification exams and covers all the necessary costs for your continuing certification (other than optional CME).
  • May be paid annually or in one lump sum.
  • Avoids any interruption to certification.

A late fee will be assessed for annual fees not paid within the allowed timeframe.

Learn more
5-year Certification Cycle and Annual Fee FAQs
ABEM-certified physicians complete 4 MyEMCert modules over 5 years. Modules are organized by content area, allowing you to select, learn, and retain information related to specific clinical topics. Sign in and take a module!
Congratulations Newly Certified Physicians!
Congratulations to the 985 physicians who attained ABEM certification last December! Your certification shows that you have met the rigorous training and standards necessary to uphold ABEM’s mission: To ensure the highest standards in the specialty of Emergency Medicine. Bravo!

ABEM Credential Directory | Sharing Your Digital Credentials
If you hold an ABEM certification, Focused Practice Designation, or have completed the Resuscitation module or OUD/SUD modules, your digital credential is available on the public Credential Holder Directory. Learn more about ABEM’s Digital Credentials

Looking for your digital certificate or badge? Get access here

Doctors Who Treated Patients During Parade Shooting Recall Their Experiences
Erica Carney, M.D., emergency physician at University Health Truman Medical Center and Medical Director for Kansas City, MO, recalls the events of the mass shooting at the Chiefs Super Bowl rally. Dr. Carney is ABEM certified in EM and EMS and serves on the EMS Subboard. Read more
The Work You Do Matters
We believe your board certification and accomplishments should be more widely recognized, so we are working hard to promote you! Your certification signifies that you are ready to deliver the highest standard of emergency care when people need it most. Learn more
Health Care Administration, Leadership, and Management (HALM)
Applications for the first HALM Exam are now open. Certification in HALM will provide physicians the opportunity to enhance their practice and set standards in physician leadership. This new subspecialty certification is geared toward institutional leaders, including physicians who work in community hospitals. Physicians with experience in health systems leadership are encouraged to apply.  Learn more, review eligibility, and apply here.

HALM Online Exam | November 11 – 26, 2024
Application Open | January 22 – July 30, 2024

About HALM
Application form
New MyEMSCert and MyToxCert Modules Launch
In February, the first four MyToxCert modules launched:
  • Principles of Toxicology
  • Toxicants and Toxins
  • Clinical Assessment
  • Therapeutics              

In addition, two new MyEMSCert modules became available:
  • Cardiovascular Emergencies
  • Trauma

Learn more about MyEMSCert
Learn more about MyToxCert

MyToxCert: Watch to Learn More  
Starting in February, Medical Toxicology continuing certification moved to a module-based process similar to Emergency Medicine’s MyEMCert. You can watch a recording of an informational webinar about MyToxCert here.
ABEM Elects Two New Directors
At its winter meeting, the ABEM Board of Directors elected two new physician members: John T. Finnell, M.D., M.S., and Melissa A. Platt, M.D.

Read more
New Program Director Attestation
The Board of Directors has approved a new attestation for program directors to attest to each graduating resident’s successful completion of individual competencies.

Learn more
Review the new attestations
Competency-based Medical Education
As the ACGME will soon transition to competency-based medical education (CBME), ABEM convened a Strategic Council meeting in November 2023 to share EM-based information about CBME and begin to develop a shared mental model of CBME. In 2024, ABEM will convene a CBME Summit of representatives from the major Emergency Medicine organizations (including the RC-EM) to continue this stakeholder discussion.
The Search Is On for a New Executive Director
ABEM has begun the search process for a new Executive Director. Earl J. Reisdorff, M.D., who has served in that position since 2010, will step down at the end of 2024. The Board of Directors has retained WittKieffer as the search firm to seek a physician to serve as Executive Director, Professional and Clinical Affairs, who will serve in a recently created dyad model with the Executive Director for Administrative Affairs. A profile of desired skills and traits can be viewed here. If you are interested in learning about the search process, contact Joyce De Leo, Ph.D., Senior Partner, WittKieffer, at
ACEP Now Interviews ABEM Director
The December issue of ACEP Now includes an interview with ABEM Director Yvette Calderon, M.D., M.S., “Emergency Physician Provides HIV and Hepatitis C Testing, Counseling to Underserved Communities,” chronicles her development of programs to expand testing and treatment to patients outside of the ED
Research You Should Know
The Oral Certification Exam tests different knowledge, skills, and abilities than the Qualifying Exam.
Gorgas DL, Calderon Y, Carter WA, White SR, Feldhaus KM, Reisdorff EJ, Joldersma KB, Kraus CK. The correlation between performance on the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) qualifying and oral certifying examinations. Acad Emerg Med 2024;31(1):91-3. PMID: 37515431.

There is a crisis of attrition and a need to keep EPs (particularly female EPs) engaged early in their careers.
Gettel CJ, Courtney DM, Agrawal P, Madsen TE, Rothenberg, C, Mills AM, Lall MD, Keim SM, Kraus CK, Ranney ML, Venkatesh AK. Emergency medicine physician workforce attrition differences by age and gender [abstract only]. Acad Emerg Med 2023;30(11):1092-100. PMID: 37313983.

Board certification has income return on investment of $43,000 per year.
Reisdorff EJ, Masselink LE, Gallahue FE, Suter RE, Chappell BP, Evans DD, Salsberg E, Marco CA. Factors associated with emergency physician income. J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open 2023;4(2):e12949. PMID: 37064163.

We need to prioritize emergency physician wellness across the career spectrum.
Lu DW, Zhan T, Bilimoria KY, Reisdorff EJ, Barton MA, Nelson LS, Beeson MS, Lall MD. Workplace mistreatment, career choice regret, and burnout in emergency medicine residency training in the United States. Ann Emerg Med 2023;81(6):706-14. PMID: 36754699.

COVID-19 did not impact career choice in emergency medicine residents.
Akhavan AR, Zhan T, Lall MD, Barton MA, Reisdorff EJ, Bilimoria KY, MD, Lu DW. Suicidal ideation, perception of personal safety, and career regret among emergency medicine residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accepted January 2024, AEM Educ Train.
Thank you, Oral Examiners!
Thank you to all of the Oral Examiners who helped with another successful Oral Exam! Your dedication to the specialty of Emergency Medicine helps propel it forward.

American Board of Emergency Medicine
3000 Coolidge Road
East Lansing, Michigan 48823
United States
Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved

American Board of Emergency Medicine
3000 Coolidge Road
East Lansing, Michigan 48823
United States


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