There are many lessons physicians in training will need to learn. Achieving a medical degree may seem like the end of the line, but it is actually nothing more than the first milestone in a long journey. Once residency starts, the real path to a career in medicine begins. Getting board-certified and securing a medical license are two of the next most important milestones. Let’s take a close look at some important tips for completing the medical licensure process.
Why is Getting a Medical License so Complicated?
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Earning board certification and securing a medical license is an important part of becoming a physician. However, the process for securing a license is rather complex. Residents will need to apply to each state medical board individually if they intend to practice medicine within their borders. For example, those who want to practice in LA and Las Vegas will need to apply for a license from the Medical Board of California and the Medical Board of Nevada.
Research Current State-Specific Policies
Legislative decisions and state policies can change on a yearly basis. These changes may even have a direct impact on medical licensure. Residents should always keep an eye on any major decisions that may play a role in the timeline or overall approval of a medical license within the state. You can subscribe to alerts, stay in touch with physician recruiters, or watch for media updates to stay on track with updated policies.
Know State Licensing Requirements
Some basic requirements are the same for every state, however, there are also some differences. Learn what each state requires and what the fees are prior to starting the application process. Ask the state licensing board for a copy or a link to their current requirements. It is also a good idea to ask for an estimated turnaround time once an application has been submitted.
Offer Your Information in Advance
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Many state licensing boards will accept a resident’s curriculum vitae or resume in advance of their actual application. This is a great way for residents to see if any potential problems can be corrected early on. It’s especially important for residents who plan to start working fresh out of school as it will help reduce any negative impact on patients during physician placement.
Maintain Your Documentation
Regardless of which state a resident plans to apply for licensing, they will need certain documentation. Keep records of any graduate training, previous medical education, and available transcripts. It is also important that residents keep track of their three steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination once successfully completed. State exams, background checks, and references are also important to keep in hand.
Trust The Process
Completing the medical licensing process is a lesson in patience. It may take several weeks or even several months for an application to be approved. In general, it is a good idea to wait at least 60 days before following up regarding a pending application. With the tips above, completing the medical licensure process, as a resident will be much easier.