How to Become an Emergency Physician

How to Become an Emergency Physician – Overview

Emergency physicians mainly work in emergency departments or a healthcare facility’s “emergency room” (ER).

Urgent Care crews in hospitals have an emergency physician on the team. Emergency doctors help to stabilize and treat patients who have suffered traumatic injuries or are experiencing intense health issues.

Emergency physicians assess and stabilize patients in the emergency department, deciding whether they can be safely discharged or must be admitted for further hospital care. Emergency physicians work along these lines every day.

What Does an Emergency Physician Do

An emergency physician diagnoses and treats patients in a healthcare facility’s emergency department (ER). They specialize in treating any injury or illness.

Emergency physicians are trained to rapidly assess, stabilize, and manage acute emergencies across a wide spectrum of medical, surgical, and psychiatric conditions. These doctors are also tasked with deciding the next step in treatment.

Emergency physicians are trained to diagnose and treat people of all ages, genders, etc. These physicians are trained to treat various ailments at different stages including but not limited to:

  • Trauma
  • Infections
  • Acute Exacerbations of chronic diseases
  • Life-threatening emergencies

Emergency physicians are well-trained in reviving unconscious patients who have suffered a stroke or cardiac arrest and beginning treatment immediately.

These physicians are well-adjusted to handling multiple patients at a time. They are required to triage patients swiftly according to their symptoms.

Emergency room physicians give priority to treating patients suffering from immediately life-threatening conditions.

When patients in the emergency room require surgical treatment, emergency physicians consult and advise the surgeon on the case.

Many times, people tend to confuse emergency room physicians with trauma surgeons. However, they are entirely different professions.

How to Become an Emergency Physician

After learning the primary responsibilities if you wish to become an emergency physician, then this is the education and training you would need to acquire:

Education to Become an Emergency Physician

As a prospective emergency physician, you must attend a certified medical school for training. Once you graduate, you can enter the doctor’s residency and begin focusing on your chosen medical specialty, i.e., becoming an emergency physician.

This will require you to:

  1. Complete an average of four years of medical school.
  2. Complete a residency in emergency medicine, which typically lasts 3 to 4 years, depending on the program and country.

Work Responsibilities of Emergency Physician

Once you have completed your education and training requirements, you must seek employment at a healthcare facility. Here, you will be tasked with handling illnesses and medical problems, including:

  • Ear infections
  • Severe flu and colds
  • Sore throat
  • Migraine ache
  • Rashes
  • Minor injuries (burns, sprains, fractured bones, minor eye injuries, etc.)

Emergency physicians perform comprehensive medical assessments tailored to the acute presentation, including evaluating vital signs, conducting focused and thorough physical exams, and obtaining relevant medical histories to guide immediate treatment decisions.

  • Physical examinations (checking vital signs, examining ear, throat, nose, etc.)
  • Patient consultation (discussing a patient’s symptoms)
  • Diagnostic tests (laboratory tests, complete blood count, chemistry profile, blood alcohol level, arterial blood gas and pregnancy tests)
  • EKG
  • Urinalysis
  • Imaging modalities (x-ray, MRI, CT scans, ultrasounds, etc.)


Being an emergency physician is extremely challenging yet very satisfying. This is especially true if you like daily challenges to help people.

The emergency physician’s profession is a high-stakes, high-pressure career. Hence, if you are confident in handling yourself well under pressure, you can become an emergency physician.

See Also

Medical Billing and Coding Salary

How to Become a Sports Medicine Physician

Non Clinical Physician Jobs

Best Cities for Physicians

Non Clinical Jobs for Physical Therapists

Surgeon Salary

Non Clinical Physician Assistant Jobs

How to Become a Dermatologist

Average Pay for Doctors

DHHS Program

Good Qualities in a Doctor

What is Emergency Medicaid

Current Version
February 17, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 26, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

Follow us