Careers in EM

Updated September 2016

Most Emergency Physicians work in Emergency Departments.  This is the unifying characteristic of our careers.  However, beyond that there are countless directions to take your career.  The big areas of separation are practice setting and personal expertise.

Practice setting

There is a much discussed divide between Academic EM and Community EM.  An Academic career means practicing in an academic hospital with a medical school affiliation and, usually, with an EM residency.  An academic Emergency Physicians time is split between clinical and extra-clinical education of residents and students and working to advance the body of medical knowledge (research).  

A Community career is focussed on direct patient care and typically involves little or sporadic clinical teaching.  The reality is that many people work in "hybrid" jobs.  Some split their time between both academic and community ED's.  Others practice in an academic ED and teach clinically but are not involved in research or extra-clinical education.  Also, some practice at a community site that has frequent trainees from other specialties and medical students.

Personal Expertise

Regardless of what kind of primary practice setting they have, most Emergency Physicians develop interests and expertise.  Some examples are:
  • Critical care
  • Cruise ship medicine
  • Department and hospital administration
  • Disaster management and response
  • EMS administration
  • Expedition medicine
  • Global health
  • Hyperbarics
  • Medical student education
  • Pediatric Emergency Medicine
  • Public health
  • Research
  • Resident education
  • Sports medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Ultrasound
  • Wilderness medicine
Many of these areas of expertise have opportunities to gain additional fellowship training, but this is not always required to get involved.  

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