Your first step is understanding your eligibility, which varies by state, and is based on:
• Whether you are an American or international medical school graduate and, in some states whether your medical school is approved by the state. VISTA’s team will research a state medical board’s website or utilize the WHO Directory of Medical Schools or the ECFMG FAIMER Directory to determine if a school is acceptable.
• The length of post graduate training you have completed. International graduates are commonly required to complete three years of PGT; American grads may meet eligibility with one or two years of training after graduation.
• Limitations on licensure examination, e.g., some states do not accept a “state” exam—these were the norm prior to NBME, FLEX and USMLE.
• The status of your original license. Some states require that your first license remain active.
• When you took the USMLE; USMLE failure rate on each of the steps; weighted score of the exam.
• How long it’s been since you took a licensure exam along with ABMS certification. Some states invoke “The 10-year Rule,” which states that if a physician has not taken a licensure exam within 10 years of application and is NOT board certified, he or she may be required to take the SPEX Exam.
VISTA’s recruiters review all locum tenens candidates’ applications and work with our licensing specialists to determine whether these requirements will impact your ability to qualify for a new state license. This is an important step in assessing locum tenens opportunities.
Once we help you determine your eligibility, a Licensing Specialist will walk you through the steps required to apply for the license. It is important to decide if you can meet the requirements, especially if you may be required to take the SPEX or obtain ABME certification. It is also important to know up front if a state will require an on-site interview or exam.
Once you have worked through the above, you must complete and certify the application for licensure and an FCVS profile application, if required by the board. Additionally, for those states that require an associated controlled substance certificate, you must complete a separate application and meet specific requirements.
The VISTA Licensing Specialist then begins requesting primary source verification of your credentials, which always include:
• Medical Education- all schools attended
• Post Graduate Training
• Licensing Exam Scores
• All state licensure – active, inactive, and training
• Professional’s statement regarding history of malpractice experience, discipline, and mental health issues that could affect or limit his/her ability to provide competent medical care.
• ECFMG for all international graduates
These additional verifications and requirements are requested by most states and processed by the Licensing Specialist:
• AMA or AOA Profile
• Federation of State Medical Board Clearance
• Practice experience – this varies by state in terms of how far back your work history needs to be verified.
• Liability insurance coverage
• Certified birth certificate
• Legal proof of name change, if applicable
• Fingerprinting and background checks
• CME required for licensure- FL
• Passport photos
• Referencing – many states have their own forms; others require a statement
The Licensing Specialist contacts primary sources and then follows up to assure a response to the board is completed.
Once the application and all requirements for verification and documents are received by the board, the Licensing Specialist will stay in contact with you and the board until a decision is made.
If at any time during the application, you experience an unusual negative experience, even something like a traffic ticket (yes, just for speeding) you must notify VISTA and fully disclose the circumstances to the board you are petitioning for licensure.