April 27, 2023

The AEMUS Focused Practice Designation: Updates and Lessons Learned

John L. Kendall, MD, FACEP - American Board of Emergency Medicine, Director and Chair of the AEMUS Examination Committee, Attending Physician, Denver Health Medical Center

Melissa Barton, MD, FACEP - American Board of Emergency Medicine, Director of Medical Affairs

From March 7-11, 2022, the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) administered the first focused practice designation (FPD) examination in Advanced Emergency Medicine Ultrasonography (AEMUS). There were 380 physicians who took the exam, with a pass rate of 75% (refer to table). It appears that training in Ultrasonography mattered: the pass rate among those with at least some fellowship training had a higher pass rate than those with no training. However, the data should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size. Following the next AEMUS FPD exam in March 2024, we will have another opportunity to analyze pass rates. And as more fellowships become accredited by the Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship Accreditation Council (EUFAC), training will also become more standardized.

2022 AEMUS Exam Statistics

Pathway #Candidates #Passed Pass Rate (%)
Practice 47 31 66
Any Training 333 253 76
Total 380 284 75


AEMUS is still evolving. Following the administration of the first exam, ABEM solicited input from the Ultrasound community on the Core Content of Clinical Ultrasonography Fellowship Training (Core Content)—the basis for questions on the AEMUS FPD Exam—as well as AEMUS fellowship program requirements. That feedback resulted in both documents being revised. The 2023 Core Content and the 2023 updated AEMUS Program Requirements will both be published this spring. As the field of Ultrasonography continues to evolve, the Core Content and program requirements will continue to change as well.

There currently are three pathways to become eligible to take the AEMUS Exam: A Practice Pathway, a Training-Plus-Practice Pathway, and a Training Pathway. The Practice Pathway and the Practice-Plus-Training pathways will close December 31, 2026, which means that all training and practice must be completed by that date in order to be eligible to take the AEMUS FPD Exam. In addition, physicians participating in the 2023 Match must graduate from a EUFAC-accredited fellowship program to be eligible under the Training Pathway (Refer to Infographic). The Training-Plus-Practice pathway will not be available to 2023 Match participants attending a non-EUFAC-accredited fellowship program because they would not have time to complete the 24 months of practice required of that pathway.

Ultrasound continues to be a dynamic environment and the FPD process is similar. Additional updates will be coming as they evolve. Please reach out to ABEM Certification Services with any questions (Email or 517-332-4800, option 4).

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