How to Obtain a Medical License in Another State

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Obtaining a medical license in any state is challenging and requires rigorous examinations and experience, but obtaining a medical license in a state that you don't live in can be even more of a challenge. However, as doctors move from state to state for personal or career reasons, and graduating medical students seek to explore different opportunities in the growing medical profession, this procedure is becoming more common. If you're in this situation, be patient: The process will take at least two months, and you'll need to be organized to handle all of the details and paperwork.

  • Contact the licensing board in the state you wish to be licensed in to inquire about its requirements. Ask about all required exams, fees, re-registration requirements, paperwork and the average time it takes for an application to go through.

    Every state requires proof of education and training, and if you're a physician, you must also submit proof of successful completion of all three steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Beyond this, requirements vary by state.

  • Take any required tests and complete all paperwork neatly and honestly. Make sure you allow ample time for processing.

  • Follow up with the state licensing board as needed to determine your progress; you can also follow up with medical schools or other institutions to ensure that they submit any required paperwork in a timely manner.

  • Obtain a copy of the American Medical Association's state-by-state guide, called State Medical Licensure Requirements and Statistics (https://catalog.ama-assn.org/Catalog/product/product_detail.jsp?productId=prod1500002), if you're feeling overwhelmed doing the research on your own. The annually updated guide includes tables on required exams, training, education and fees.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be patient; this process will take a minimum of 60 days (it will probably take longer). If you went to medical school outside of the United States, be prepared for the process to take a little longer.

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