Student Update

October 2019

Lorelle Knight, MS-IV
UTHSA Long School of Medicine ’20
2019 Medical Student Representative, Board of Directors, Texas College of Emergency Physicians

Applying for an EM Residency in 2019: How have the numbers changed?

All data come from the NRMP’s 2019 Main Residency Match Data unless otherwise specified.

On September 15th, 2019, residency applications were due for fourth-year medical students. Of the 1700 or so fourth-years who will be graduating from Texas medical schools, an estimated 120 will be seeking residencies in Emergency Medicine.* Many of these students will land in programs outside of Texas, but each year a large number hopes to stay in-state. So what does the current pool of EM residency positions look like for these applicants?

The number of Emergency Medicine training opportunities has grown exponentially in the past decade. In the US as a whole, the number of available residency positions has increased by 37% in the past five years alone (from 1821 to 2488 positions), amounting to a 6.7% yearly increase in spots by 2015 and a 7.7% yearly increase by 2019. However, the number of graduating medical students has increased as well by about 10% over the past five years. The result: of the 238 EM programs accepting applicants in 2019, only 15 went unfilled (a total of 50 positions). Notably, none of these unfilled spots were in Texas. In fact, Texas has not had a single unfilled EM residency spot in the past ten years.

In 2009, 59 non-military positions existed within Texas’ pool of EM residencies. This number increased to 114 in 2014 and 123 in 2019, amounting to a 7.9% increase over the past five years and a 103% increase over the past decade. Additional positions are anticipated with the matriculation of Texas Tech Lubbock’s first EM intern class in 2020 and BUMC Dallas’ first class in 2021. So what should the current applicant make of this data?

While there are certainly more applicants, there are also more opportunities to pursue EM than there ever have been before. Many regions of the country are short qualified EM physicians, and compensation continues to increase.** That said, the medical student should keep in mind the potential impact that the exponentially increasing number of EM graduates may have on the specialty. As larger numbers of EM physicians enter the workforce yearly, the applicant may come to view the risks and benefits of these evolving numbers differently.

*Based upon school-specific, published 2019 Match results and number of matriculating seniors.
**Based upon ACEP’s 2018-2019 Compensation Report for Emergency Physicians.
NRMP’s match data for 2019 is available at:

Special thanks to Dr. Mohamed Hagahmed, MD, for his input on this article.