Back Guide to State Medical Licensing

Locum Leaders' Guide to State Medical Licensing for Locum Tenens Assignments

When it comes to gaining the appropriate state medical licensing needed to work locum tenens assignments, there are several key issues to keep in mind:

• Verification

• Malpractice Documentation

• State-Level Controlled Substance Registration (CSR)

• Interviews

• Follow-ups

• Time

Locum Tenens License Requirements: Each State Is Different

It's also important to note that each state medical board will vary in its efficiency and specific processes. In many states, the medical licensure process takes six months or more — and that's assuming all documentation requirements are perfectly met. If you've practiced medicine at multiple locations, some boards will require that you verify privileges at each location with standards forms. And all of these verifications must come directly from the site; extensive follow-up is also sometimes necessary.

A few more common aspects of state medical licensing to remember:

• The hectic pace of residency and post-graduate can easily lead to a neglect to assemble your most important documentation. (Many states require prime source verification, in addition training certificate copies.)

• Practicing via videoconferencing, telemedicine or even interstate phone consultation usually requires licensure in each state.

• Third-party references and verifications typically require several follow-up calls to assure prompt action. Some boards will void applications that are incomplete after 60 days.

• Too often, physicians fail to retain basic malpractice documentation, such as names and contact numbers of colleagues, administrators and lawyers.

Boards require extensive documentation for anyone named in a malpractice action. Unfortunately, many residents are named without their knowledge, so it's all the more important to retain names and contact information of all supervising physicians. (Read more about navigating the waters of malpractice coverage here.)

Keep deadlines in mind. Some states will void applications not completed on time, including incomplete applications with errors.

That being said, there are still some important facts to bear in mind when planning your next assignment. Some states take longer than others; knowing which states take the longest, and which the least, amount of time will help you avoid any unexpected surprises down the road.

The Most & Least Difficult States for Medical Licensing

The easiest states for medical licensure are based on the following criteria. First, their application process is simple and easy to understand. Everything required for licensure is stated up front, with no extra "surprise" requests along the way. Second, their process for reviewing documentation is quick and efficient, with timely letters or emails sent that detail any outstanding items or incomplete requirements. Third, the state board employs friendly customer service people who respond to questions and requests for information in a timely manner.

With those criteria in mind, our Locum Leaders recruitment experts agree that, currently, the easiest medical licensing states are:

1. Connecticut

2. Indiana

3. Michigan

4. Georgia

5. Tennessee

6. Maine

7. Nebraska

8. New Hampshire

When it comes to the most difficult states for medical licensure, we've looked at the following criteria: First, the state requires that all care providers undergo the Federal Credentials Verification System (FCVS). This requirement is not time-consuming or difficult for physicians who have already gone through it. In fact, it saves quite a bit of time. But for those who have never gone through the process, it can add as many as six to eight weeks to the state licensure processing, in addition to more board time. And when the FCVS verifies credentials, they do so via regular mail services, with no follow-up to ensure verification is expedited.

The most difficult states' application processes do not always clearly list each item required to complete the application. The board sometimes asks for additional malpractice information or court dockets after all requested material has been submitted. Most important, though, is communication. When board representatives do not answer questions or provide reliable status updates for a physician's medical licensure application, the process could drag on for months.

With that in mind, then, here are the most difficult states in which to acquire a medical license :

1. Texas

2. Arkansas

3. Mississippi

4. Florida

5. New Jersey

6. North Dakota

Get Assistance with Medical State Licensing from Locum Leaders

If all this sounds intimidating — worry not. Although it's certainly a good idea to be familiar with the ins and outs of state medical licensing in the area where you'll be working, we understand that, particularly for those physicians, PAs and NPs who choose to work locum tenens jobs as a lifestyle, keeping track of the ins and outs of licensure in each and every state you travel is simply impractical.

After all, devoting hours to assembling and processing the documents necessary for state medical license applications may not be the most productive use of your time. Tracking down contact names, old traffic citations, missing documentation from defunct facilities, military release forms and other items often required by state boards may delay your practice by nine months or more. Your Linde recruiter will work with you to make sure all of your documentation is ready and in the best shape for approval, easing the burden of state medical licensure that falls on your shoulders, letting you do what you do best: Focus on your new locum tenens position.

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Adapted from an article originally published on

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