5 Medical Licensure Tips for Residents

5 Medical Licensure Tips for Residents

As a physician in training, your medical school degree seems like the gold standard. But as a resident, you quickly learn it’s the first of many benchmarks one must reach on a career in medicine.

Obtaining a medical license and earning board certification are key achievements for young physicians. However, navigating the medical licensure process can be daunting.

The licensure process requires residents to complete individual applications for each state in which they seek to practice medicine (including telemedicine). Proactive planning can help you save time and ease stress.

Follow these top tips when you apply for your medical license.:

Be Prepared! Know what is required to obtain your Medical License.

Knowing what is required in order to obtain your medical license is the first step in beginning the state licensing process. Understanding everything that you need to do upfront can decrease potential frustrations down the road. Because each state is different, it is important to find up-to-date information regarding the requirements in your state, including the medical license procedures that must be followed and the fees required by the state.

When contacting your state licensing board for the first time, ask for a copy of its current licensing requirements, as well as the estimated turnaround time it will take to process your application. This will provide you with a solid idea of when to consider opening your practice and/or plan a move, as well as provide information about the potential problem areas in completing an application for a physician’s license in another state.

You can also provide the licensing board with your resume or curriculum vitae ahead of time. This will allow the board to evaluate potential problem areas early in the process. Initial contact with your state medical board should be used to develop reasonable expectations regarding the direction and complexity of the state medical licensing process. This will help you avoid unnecessary frustration about what is needed to obtain your physician’s license.


Stay Current on State Policies and Legislation

It’s important for residents to stay current on policies and legislative decisions in your state that impact licensure. Following state-specific medical licensing policies will keep you informed on major decisions that may impact your medical board or the potential timeline for approving your license.

For example, the passage of a medical [liability] cap could cause significant delays in processing of licensure applications due to an increase in the number of physicians seeking to practice in the state. Monitor state media sources, and look to other physicians and physician recruiters for valuable licensure updates.


Prepare your documents early, and track your progress in training.

Licensure requirements may vary by state for U.S medical graduates, but all states will require proof of certain documents to demonstrate your credibility as a physician.

As you continue through residency, track and prepare these materials to avoid last-minute scrambles for information when it’s time to apply for your license:

  • Proof of prior medical education and graduate training
  • Proof of successful completion of all three steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

Being prepared with the required documents is the most important step for residents seeking to get a state medical license. Depending on the state in which you want to work, most will require similar documents.

Some additional common documentation that states require for residents to obtain during the medical licensing process are:

  • An up to date CV
  • References
  • Training
  • State Exam completion
  • A background check

Be aware that state medical license requirements can differ in each state, and so do the documents you will need to provide. As mentioned above, it is important to prepare early and find out exactly what your state needs for the medical license process.


Be honest with your medical board about information that may negatively impact your application.

A physician should never try to hide derogatory information from a licensing board. Providing accurate and honest paperwork is one of the most important steps in applying to get a state medical license.

It is important to be honest, because trying to hide any information can drastically slow down the process and possibly stop the state from granting a license. Misinformation, whether it is intentional or an oversight, can bring the medical license process to a complete halt.

It is much better to come clean and be proactive in assisting the board with obtaining your records, by providing any and all information about mitigating circumstances that would possibly be the cause of a physician licensing denial.

Full and frank disclosure of all information requested is by far the best approach to successful licensure. As a rule, providing the state with accurate and honest information from the beginning will save everyone a lot of time and effort!


Practice patience & be courteous during the licensing process.

By understanding the medical license process upfront, it will help you exercise patience and be courteous as you wait on the state to grant your medical license. After submitting the required documentation, it could take the state weeks or months to finish processing your application. Knowing this ahead of time can help you plan accordingly for future career moves.

The state medical licensing process can take a long time due to multiple factors that are under consideration. Residents should plan for a 60-day period from the time they submit a complete application for license and the actual date licensure is granted.

In addition, April through September is generally the peak period for volume of licensure applications, so if you’re applying for a license at that time, temper any hurried expectations and properly prepare.

It is best to remain in contact with the state to stay on top of where your application is in the process. Reminding them about your application and your intent to work in the state can motivate them to finish processing your application.


The Medical Licensing process can be quite lengthy and difficult if you don’t know what you are doing.  Expect to spend numerous hours preparing the application, making the verification requests, following up with your credential holders, and addressing deficiencies on your notices from your State Medical Board, but…

What if someone offered to…
  • Determine your license eligibility
  • Make all credential verification requests
  • Follow up with credential holders
  • Handle additional Medical Board requests
  • Make your license process incredibly simple!
You should probably let them!

Only $597 per State

Discounts available for multiple states, training licenses, and military.

Are you considering applying for a State Medical License or have you already applied? What is your experience?  Do you have questions? Leave them below and we’ll help!


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