Overview of the Specialty

Emergency medicine is the specialty that focuses on the recognition, evaluation, and care of patients who are acutely ill or injured. It is a high-pressure, fast-paced and diverse specialty that requires a broad base of medical knowledge and a variety of well-honed clinical and technical skills. The emphasis is on pre-hospital care and the acute care aspects of the other specialties. Emergency physicians treat all age groups in a myriad of conditions with varying degrees of severity. Emergency medicine training also encompasses clinical areas such as disaster medicine and mass gatherings.

At a Glance


  • 3-4 years of residency
  • Categorical and advanced positions available

These are minimum requirements. Some programs may have longer residencies.


Disaster Medicine1 year
Emergency Ultrasound/Imaging1 year
EMS-Prehospital1 year
Medical Toxicology2 years
Pediatric Emergency Medicine2 years
Sports Medicine1 year
Critical Care2 years


Median, Academic Salary$272,000
Median, Clinical Salary$320,000

Source: Association of American Medical Colleges

Training Requirements

Training consists of a minimum of three years of postgraduate education in one of 3 formats (PGY 1-3, PGY 2-4 with separate internship, PGY 1-4). There were 167 emergency medicine residency training programs accredited by the ACGME for 2014/15 that offered 1,821 categorical/advanced positions.

Matching Program Information and Match Statistics

Emergency medicine residency training programs participate in the NRMP. Match results through the NRMP and competitiveness information for emergency medicine residency training programs are summarized in the U.S. Match Statistics table below.

US Match Statistics





# Categorical/ Advanced positions available for U.S. Seniors1821178617441668
% U.S. Seniors matched*95%97%93%95%
# Unfilled Categorical/ Advanced Positions41430
# Unmatched U.S. seniors66449065

Source: NRMP Match results for U.S. seniors applying in a single specialty. *Competitiveness is based upon the percentage of U.S. Seniors who ranked each specialty as their only choice.

WUSM Match Statistics

For a list of WUSM match statistics for the past several years, please visit Search for WUSM Statistics. (password protected)

Subspecialty/Fellowship Training

Subspecialty/fellowship training following completion of an emergency medicine residency training program is available in sports medicine, pediatric emergency medicine, EMS-prehospital, disaster medicine, medical toxicology, emergency ultrasound/imaging, palliative care, and critical care (coming in 2012 and conjoint with ABIM). Detailed information about the scope of these subspecialty training programs, number of positions offered, and length of training is available at the FREIDA website.

Visit AMA website »
Visit FREIDA website »

Career Information

FREIDA physician workforce information for each specialty includes statistical information on the number of positions/programs for residency training, resident work hours, resident work environment and compensation, employment status upon completion of program and work environment for those entering practice in each specialty.

Washington University Resources

Faculty Contacts

Rebecca Bavolek, MD362-2457
SueLin Hilbert, MD, MPH362-2182
Albert Kim, MD747-5990
Jason Wagner, MD, FACEP, FAAEM747-4878

National Organizations