Medical Specialty

How Competitive is an Emergency Medicine Residency? Updated for 2023

If you want a career in the ED, here is how competitive the medical specialty is to match into an emergency medicine residency. Emergency medicine is the branch of medicine that involves the treatment of unforeseen injury or illness.

Statistics on the Emergency Medicine Match

In 2022, emergency medicine had a total of 2,813 applicants and 2,921 spots. This equates to 0.96 applicants per position. Of the 1,564 U.S. MD seniors who applied, 30 did not match.

Total Positions Total Number of Applicants Number of Applicants per Position
2,921 2,813 0.96

Osteopathic (DO) Students Matching into Emergency Medicine

In 2022, the total number of DO Senior Applicants was 774. Of those, 736 matched, for a 95.09% match percentage. This makes emergency medicine a very friendly field for osteopathic students.

Total DO Applicants Matched DO Applicants DO Match Percentage
774 736 95.09%

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) Matching into Emergency Medicine

Because there are only 0.55 U.S. MD applicants per 1 program spot, emergency medicine is considered to be Friendly for IMGs students.

Honors, Research and Awards for Emergency Medicine Residency Candidates

The average matched U.S. applicant had 8.2 volunteer experiences and 3.9 work experiences. They had 3.2 research experiences and 5.1 abstracts, presentations and publications. That makes this specialty on where the number of publications needed is Low.

Research Experiences Abstracts, Presentations and Publications Work Experiences Volunteer Experiences
3.2 5.1 3.9 8.2

Average Step 1 and Step 2 Scores for Emergency Medicine

The mean U.S. Step 1 score for matched medical students in emergency medicine was 234. The mean USMLE Step 2 CK score was 247.

Overall Competitiveness of Emergency Medicine Residency and Chances of Matching

The overall competitiveness level of emergency medicine is Medium for a U.S. senior. With a Step 1 score of 200, the probability of matching is 79%. With a Step 1 score of >240, the probability is 94%.

How long is a residency in emergency medicine? What is the lifestyle like for an emergency medicine resident?

Compared to other residencies, emergency medicine has a Short training length. As far as lifestyle, physicians in emergency medicine generally have a Low stress lifestyle. Of course, lifestyle is very subjective and if you love what you do, it does not matter! And if you hate what you do, it can still be rough no matter what. In medicine, you should find the specialty that makes you enjoy your everyday interactions with patients, staff and colleagues.

What is the average salary in emergency medicine?

The average salary post-graduation from an emergency medicine residency is $357,000, provided one does not go on to sub-specialty training which can change the salary substantially. Academic versus private practice as well as location also play a large role in physician compensation.

What are fellowships one can do from an emergency medicine residency?

Following the successful completion of general emergency medicine residency, some physicians may choose to continue their graduate medical education with subspecialty training. Board-certified subspecialists complete additional training and qualifying examinations beyond those required for board certification in emergency medicine. Currently, the American Board of Emergency Medicine certifies the following fellowships:

What are the best emergency medicine residencies in the country?

The best residency for emergency medicine, or any specialty, is very driven by personal preference and situation. How close you are to family, loved ones, the type of training environment, the opportunities available are all things to take into consideration above and beyond name recognition of a program. However, there are some highly regarded names in the world of emergency medicine including:

    • USC / LA County – Keck School
    • Denver Health Medical Center
    • University of Cincinnati
    • Carolinas Medical Center
    • LA County – Harbor – UCLA
    • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)
    • Indiana University School of Medicine
    • Alameda County (Highland Hospital)

Much of the data above is available from the AAMC Charting the Outcomes report.

Explore Other Specialties:

SpecialtyAverage Step 1 Score (Matched)Average Step 2 Score (Matched)
Child Neurology233246
Diagnostic Radiology241249
Emergency Medicine233247
Family Medicine221238
General Surgery237249
Internal Medicine235248
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics236250
Interventional Radiology247255
Neurological Surgery248252
Obstetrics and Gynecology232248
Orthopaedic Surgery248255
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation228241
Plastic Surgery249256
Radiation Oncology243250
Vascular Surgery239247


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