Obtaining a medical license


The process of obtaining a medical license can be challenging and time-consuming. Find resources and information on how to obtain a license in your home state and then how to navigate licensure in other states.

Your Powerful Ally

The AMA helps physicians build a better future for medicine, advocating in the courts and on the Hill to remove obstacles to patient care and confront today’s greatest health crises.

Be advised: Physicians seeking initial licensure or applying for a medical license in another state should anticipate delays due to the investigation of credentials and past practice as well as the need to comply with licensing standards.

Follow these tips to help ease the process.

When contacting a licensing board for the first time, request a copy of its licensing requirements and the average time it takes to process applications. This helps prevent unreasonable expectations in processing time and gives a better idea of when to close a practice, plan a move or arrange a start date with a new employer to minimize financial loss.

Physicians should provide the licensing board with a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) when they first make contact. This will allow a licensing board to evaluate potential problem areas early in the process.

Don’t try to hide potentially derogatory information from a licensing board. It is much better to come forward with the information, assist the board in obtaining records and other necessary data, and provide information about mitigating circumstances that would prevent license denial.

Contacting and following up with the medical schools, training programs and appropriate hospitals will motivate these institutions to verify credentials more quickly. Following up with the licensing boards in other states where licenses are held also may assist in shortening the time for licensure.

The Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS) provides a centralized process for state medical boards to obtain a verified record of a physician’s core medical credentials. Call FCVS at 888-275-3287 for more information.

Physicians should allow at least two months from the time they submit an application for licensure to be granted.

Physicians who are graduates of medical schools outside the U.S. should anticipate a slightly longer waiting period. It takes time for the state medical licensing boards and their staff to fairly evaluate each application.