Pathway for ABEM diplomates

SCC Certification for ABEM Diplomates

  • The ABS has been approved to offer a pathway for diplomates of the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) to obtain subspecialty certification in surgical critical care (SCC). This pathway is designed to increase the pool of physicians eligible for SCC certification.
  • As these individuals will not have obtained substantial surgical experience during residency, ABEM diplomates will complete a preliminary year of surgical training prior to entering an SCC fellowship. The preliminary year will include clinical experience in the foundations of surgery and management of complex surgical conditions. The SCC fellowship that follows will be identical to that completed by other SCC trainees.


ABEM diplomates may achieve SCC certification by meeting the following requirements:

1) Current certification in emergency medicine by ABEM
  • Examination While in Residency or Prior to ABEM Certification: Individuals who have not yet completed training in emergency medicine (EM) or not yet achieved ABEM certification may enter this pathway and apply for and take the SCC Certifying Exam upon completion of their SCC fellowship. Certification in SCC will not be granted, however, until ABEM certification is achieved. Candidates are responsible for providing documentation of ABEM certification to the ABS.
2) Completion of a preliminary year of surgical training followed by an ACGME-accredited SCC training program at the same institution
  • EM-trained individuals must complete a year as an advanced preliminary resident in surgery at the institution where they will enroll in the SCC fellowship. This year should be jointly defined and supervised by the general surgery program director and the SCC program director.
  • The preliminary year should consist of 12 months of intermediate-level surgical experience in the management of patients with abdominal and thoracic operations and complex surgical problems. Acceptable services for this experience are those providing the following: abdominal surgery of all types; trauma surgery; solid organ transplantation; vascular surgery; thoracic surgery; abdominal surgical oncology; and surgical infections. Surgical ICU rotations may not comprise more than 3 months of the total 12.
  • Once enrolled in the SCC training program, the individual must hold an accredited position and be listed on the SCC program roster maintained by the ABS. Otherwise the individual will not be accepted into the SCC certification process.
  • Former Surgical Residents: An individual who satisfactorily completed 2 or more progressive years of surgical residency (i.e., at least PGY-1 and PGY-2) prior to entering EM training is exempt from the preliminary year requirement. These individuals may apply to any SCC fellowship program; they are not required to complete the fellowship at the same institution as their prior surgical training, nor are they required to apply only to programs that offer a preliminary year.
  • Approval of Preliminary Year Required
    SCC programs that wish to establish a pathway for ABEM diplomates must submit in writing a detailed description of their proposed preliminary year program to the ABS for approval. The request should be mailed on official letterhead to the ABS executive director. Approval of the preliminary year will be sent by letter to the program from the ABS president and chief executive officer.
  • The SCC Program Directors Society has published curriculum recommendations for the preliminary year. They are available under the members-only section of the SCCPDS website or from the JACS website.
  • See also the RC-Surgery's program requirements (pdf).
3) Successful completion of the SCC Certifying Examination

Eligibility Timeframe

  • Individuals will be eligible to enter the SCC certification process if they are currently enrolled in a preliminary year at the time ABS approval is given or thereafter. No grandfathering will be offered for this pathway.

A joint oversight committee of representatives from the ABS and ABEM will review the status of this pathway on a yearly basis, and will recommend any changes that appear to be warranted as experience with the pathway is gained.

For specific inquiries, please send an email to the SCC CE coordinator.