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Medical License

After the first year of a residency program comes to its end you can already obtain your medical license. Academic and clinical work experience will help you pass the examination. However, each state has its standards and you had better take some practice tests.

How do I get a medical license?

The exam questions are mainly related to your specialty. Passing the exam means you can be a legal physician. Since the time you get it you can practice medicine in that particular state. Besides the license you need a board certification.

A physician, who prefers getting a medical license or board certification in other states, will have some difficulties. There may be some delays because of a thorough investigation. They must provide details about their past experiences and current credentials.

Education Requirements

There is a required level of education that is necessary for getting a medical license. To clarify, physicians who want to get licensed and certified should show their real abilities. They must correspond to certain graduate and undergraduate education criteria.

To be short, you need to have:

  1. A current medical doctorate; you should get it from US medical school or another international medical school.
  2. A certificate showing that you have completed your medical residency training in ACGME.

Board Certification

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) will help you obtain a board certification. After getting it physicians must show how experienced they are in their specialty. In this case the above mentioned education requirements are also needed.

Besides those requirements, physicians must:

  1. Present certification letters; members of faculty or a program director should give them.
  2. Get a medical license (unlimited) for doing practice in US.
  3. Take the written and oral exams operated by a board member (ABMS).

The waiting period and the cost of the medical license

The period before obtaining a medical license varies from state to state. Here is the list including each state’s waiting period and license fee:

  • Alabama – on average up to 8 weeks or 6 months / $180 license fee
  • Alaska – from 12 to 14 weeks / $300 license fee
  • Arizona – 3 to 4 months / $500 license fee
  • Arkansas – for residents up to 6 weeks, in other cases several months / $500 license fee
  • California (MD) – 4 to 5 months / $800 license fee
    California (DO) – 5 to 7 months / $800 license fee
  • Colorado – up to 2 months / $570 license fee
  • Connecticut – from 1 to 3 months / $570 license fee
  • Delaware – no exact period / $380 license fee
  • District of Columbia – no exact period / $500 license fee
  • Florida (MD) – 2 to 6 months / $430 license fee
    Florida (DO) – 2 to 6 months / $310 license fee
  • Georgia – 1-3 months / $500 license fee
  • Hawaii – 3 to 4 weeks / $400 license fee
  • Idaho – up to 13 weeks / $500 license fee
  • Illinois – from 2 up to 4 months / $700 license fee
  • Indiana – up to 4 months / $300 license fee
  • Iowa – up to 2 months / $500 license fee
  • Kansas – 4 to 8 weeks / $350 license fee
  • Kentucky – 2 to 3 months / $300 license fee
  • Louisiana – several weeks or months (no exact period) / $390 license fee
  • Maine – up to 3 months / $350-700 license fee
  • Maryland – at least 4 months / $800 license fee
  • Massachusetts – At least 12 to 16 weeks / $600 license fee
  • Michigan – from 6 to 8 weeks / $200 license fee
  • New Hampshire – 2 to 3 months / $450 license fee
  • Minnesota – up to 12 weeks / $400 license fee
  • Mississippi – from 2 to 5 months / $550 license fee
  • Missouri – at least 2 to 3 months / $300 license fee
  • Montana – 3 to 4 months / $350 license fee
  • Nebraska – from 8 to 12 weeks / $340 license fee
  • Nevada – from 2 weeks to 2 months / no exact cost
  • New Mexico – 2-3 months / no exact cost
  • North Carolina – 4 to 6 months / $350 license fee
  • North Dakota – no exact period / $250 license fee
  • Ohio – at least 10 to 12 weeks / $340 license fee
  • Oklahoma – up to 2 months / $500 license fee
  • Oregon – 2 to 4 months / $380 license fee
  • Pennsylvania – no exact period / no exact cost
  • New York – from 8 to 12 weeks / $740 license fee
  • Rhode Island – up to 16 weeks / $1100 license fee
  • South Carolina – 14 days / $580 license fee
  • South Dakota – 1-2 months / $250 license fee
  • New Jersey – from 3 to 9 months / no exact cost
  • Tennessee – minimum 2 months / $470 license fee
  • Texas – from 4 to 6 months / $1000 license fee
  • Utah – 12 to 16 weeks / $200 license fee
  • Vermont – 3 months / $650 license fee
  • Virginia – 3 to 4 months / $300 license fee
  • Washington – from 2 months to 20 weeks / $500 license fee
  • West Virginia – 2 to 3 months / $400 license fee
  • Wisconsin – 8 to 12 weeks / $150 license fee
  • Wyoming – no exact period / $600 license fee

How to find a doctor’s medical license number?

Each US state gives physicians special numbers. After the doctors get their medical licenses, they receive those numbers.
In fact, the numbers show who the license owner is.

With the help of numbers the state checks whether he/she meets all the license requirements. In case of the medical license number’s absence the physicians may get fines.

Is it hard to get a medical license?

All together the process may seem rather confusing and time consuming. Although it can be really hard, you can handle it if you know exactly what to do. Indeed, you’ll spend many hours on doing it properly. Yet, the result will be worth your efforts.

Here are the states, where obtaining a medical license is one of the hardest things: Mississippi, Arkansas Nevada, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Texas, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina.

How can I renew my medical license?

You have to renew your medical license every two years. In case you have an expired license. You won’t be able to practice medicine in your state. In fact, doctors can do the renewal in two ways: online or via mail.

Online Renewal

There are some cases when online renewal is more convenient for physicians. Especially when:

  1. The medical license’s status is either active or inactive.
  2. There is only 180 days left till the expiration of the license.
  3. The physician has met the requirements of a continuing medical education.

Renewal via mail

There are people who prefer doing medical license renewal by mail. If so, you have to present your renewal on the required form. Make sure it contains the renewal fees. It will take you about 6 weeks to make a renewal.

In case you haven’t got any notice of renewal, you still have to renew it before expiration. After you get the notice you must rapidly submit it. You have to do it within a two-week period. If you still don’t manage to do it, you can renew your license online.

How long will it take to receive a renewal application?

Usually, the licensees receive their applications by mail about 90 days before the expiration date. If you don’t get it after two months have passed you can report about it. Maybe the reason is a change of a current address. So, always keep in touch and inform about any changes.

Document Requirements

To renew your medical license you need to provide the following:

  • a) A certified paper proving that you correspond to all the requirements of a continuing medical education.
  • b) Presence of the names of health-related facilities on the renewal form.
  • c) An answer to the discipline question of the license.
  • d) Physician survey completion.

How much do I have to pay for the medical license renewal?

As you already know, the renewed license is valid for two years. Every two years you have to renew it again and pay fees for that.
According to the latest estimates, the medical license renewal fee is about $800-$1000. This is the approximate cost and it may vary from state to state.

The fee also includes minor mandatory fees. Each physician has to pay them together with the renewal fee.

Exemption from a fee

Any physician who is involuntary, military service or is invalid is free of paying the renewal fee. Yet, those physicians still have to pay the mandatory fees. They should do it before the expiration date. Otherwise, they will not get their renewed licenses.

Alla M.

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