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State Board of Medicine Navigator

The purpose of the State Board of Medicine Guide is to provide transparency, inform applicants of expected timelines for receiving your license, and outline steps you can take to reduce mistakes and mitigate delays. To provide the greatest clarity on the licensing process from start to finish, we will break it down into three phases, providing estimated times for each stage of the process, and recommendations for how to reduce processing times.


Medical Physician

There are two primary ways to obtain licensure as a Medical Physician and Surgeon:

  • Accredited - Applicants who have graduated from a school located within the United States and Canada will apply using the obtained by "accredited."  
  • Unaccredited - Applicants who have graduated from an international medical school located outside of the United States and Canada will apply using the obtained by "unaccredited."

A Medical Physician and Surgeon (MD): 

  • Passed a licensing examination acceptable to the Board.
  • Graduated from an accredited medical college or from an ECFMG certified unaccredited medical college.
  • Successfully completed graduate medical training.
  • Practices the art and science of:
    • Curing diseases
    • Preserving the health of man
    • Healing arts, with or without drugs. 

Medical Physician - Accredited

 Accordion ‭[1]‬

Expand AllClick here for a more accessible version
Phases & Times: Medical Physician - Accredited

Phase I

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
Two weeks
in calendar days.

Phase One measures the time between a submitted application or graduation from an educational program and the initial determination of the status of the application by Department staff. Determinations issued in this phase may include authorization to take a required exam, a notice of missing information or an incomplete application, or that a payment is needed.

Phase II

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
4-5 weeks
in calendar days.

Phase Two measures the time that it takes for an applicant or third-party entity to respond to the Department with all application requirements. This phase may include the applicant preparing for and taking an exam, third-party institutions providing education or training documents, background checks, or completion of training hours by the applicant.

Phase III

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
Less than a week
in calendar days.

Phase Three measures the time between the Department’s receipt of a complete application, including examination results, confirmation of training hours, and results of background checks, and when a license is issued.



Tips for reducing processing time for Medical Physician - Accredited

To help reduce your processing time, please note the following suggestions and information:

State Board of Medicine applications are processed in the order they are received. Please submit your application as soon as possible.

An official state criminal history record check (CHRC) is required from your current state of residence. For applicants living, working, or completing training in Pennsylvania, your CHRC will be generated automatically as part of your application and the required fee will be included at checkout.

  • In addition to the background check from your current state of residence, you will need to submit official state CHRCs from every state where you have lived, worked, or completed training during the last 10 years. An FBI background check can be submitted in lieu of state checks where you previously lived, worked or trained. No record checks can be dated more than 90 days prior to the date you submit your application.

You are required to complete three hours of Board-approved continuing education on the topic of child abuse recognition and reporting. Learn more about Approved Child Abuse CE Providers. Confirmation of the course completion must be sent directly to the Board from the education provider. When registering for a course, please be sure to indicate that you are applying for Pennsylvania licensure to ensure your confirmation is sent to the Board.

Any application that includes criminal history, disciplinary action taken in another state, malpractice complaints, etc., must be accompanied by a written explanation from you explaining the circumstances of the situation. Every page of requested documents must be submitted; partial copies are not acceptable. This includes copies of all legal or court documents, disciplinary action from another Board, or a complete copy of a malpractice complaint filed in court.

If primary source verification is provided, applicants may use the FCVS credentials verification service through the Federation of State Medical Boards to verify their medical education, post graduate training, and examination scores. 

By law and regulation, the Board must verify that applicants must have completed at least 1 full year of training at an approved PGY Level 1 and PGY Level 2.  For applicants still in PGY 2, the program director may not sign and date the form more than 30 days prior to the completion of the approved training.

License verifications are required from any states/jurisdictions where you hold or have ever held a health-related professional license, registration, authorization, or permit to practice. Verifications are required regardless of the current status of the license. Additionally, verifications are required for training licenses/permits.

Within a year of obtaining initial licensure, you must document completion of at least 4 hours of Board-approved education consisting of 2 hours in pain management or the identification of addiction and 2 hours in the practices of prescribing or dispensing of opioids.  The Board does not approve continuing education programs but accepts continuing education programs accredited as AMA PRA Category 1, AMA PRA Category 2, and AOA Category 1A, 1B, or 2.



Medical Physician - Unaccredited

 Accordion ‭[2]‬

Expand AllClick here for a more accessible version
Phases & Times: Medical Physician - Unaccredited

Phase I

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
Approximately 3 weeks
in calendar days.

Phase One measures the time between a submitted application or graduation from an educational program and the initial determination of the status of the application by Department staff. Determinations issued in this phase may include authorization to take a required exam, a notice of missing information or an incomplete application, or that a payment is needed.

Phase II

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
3-4 weeks
in calendar days.

Phase Two measures the time that it takes for an applicant or third-party entity to respond to the Department with all application requirements. This phase may include the applicant preparing for and taking an exam, third-party institutions providing education or training documents, background checks, or completion of training hours by the applicant.

Phase III

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
Less than a week
in calendar days.

Phase Three measures the time between the Department’s receipt of a complete application, including examination results, confirmation of training hours, and results of background checks, and when a license is issued or denied to an applicant.



Tips for reducing processing time for Medical Physician - Unaccredited

To help reduce your processing time, please note the following suggestions and information:

State Board of Medicine applications are processed in the order they are received. Please submit your application as soon as possible.

An official state criminal history record check (CHRC) is required from your current state of residence. For applicants living, working, or completing training in Pennsylvania, your CHRC will be generated automatically as part of your application and the required fee will be included at checkout.

  • In addition to the background check from your current state of residence, you will need to submit official state CHRCs from every state where you have lived, worked, or completed training during the last 10 years. An FBI background check can be submitted in lieu of state checks where you previously lived, worked or trained. No record checks can be dated more than 90 days prior to the date you submit your application.

You are required to complete three hours of Board-approved continuing education on the topic of child abuse recognition and reporting. Learn more about Approved Child Abuse CE Providers. Confirmation of the course completion must be sent directly to the Board from the education provider. When registering for a course, please be sure to indicate that you are applying for Pennsylvania licensure to ensure your confirmation is sent to the Board.

Any application that includes criminal history, disciplinary action taken in another state, malpractice complaints, etc., must be accompanied by a written explanation from you explaining the circumstances of the situation. Every page of any requested documents must be submitted; partial copies are not acceptable. This includes copies of all legal or court documents, disciplinary action from another Board, or a complete copy of a malpractice complaint filed in court.

If primary source verification is provided, applicants may use the FCVS credentials verification service through the Federation of State Medical Boards to verify their medical education, post-graduate training, ECFMG Certification, Verification of Fifth Pathway, and examination scores. 

If you have current ECFMG certification and ECFMG verified your medical education at the time you received certification, you DO NOT need to request the record of graduation, educational transcript, and diploma from your medical school.  The verification of your medical education through ECFMG will satisfy these requirements. If ECFMG DID NOT verify your medical education at the time you received ECFMG certification, your school MUST provide these items.

By law and regulation, the Board must verify that applicants must have completed at least 1 full year of training at an approved PGY Level 1, a PGY Level 2, and PGY Level 3.  For applicants still in PGY 3, the program director may not sign and date the form more than 30 days prior to the completion of the approved training.

License verifications are required from any states or jurisdictions where you hold or have ever held a health-related professional license, registration, authorization, or permit to practice. Verifications are required regardless of the current status of the license. Additionally, verifications are required for training licenses or permits.

Within a year of obtaining initial licensure, you must document completion of at least 4 hours of Board-approved education consisting of 2 hours in pain management or the identification of addiction and 2 hours in the practices of prescribing or dispensing of opioids.  The Board does not approve continuing education programs but accepts continuing education programs accredited as AMA PRA Category 1, AMA PRA Category 2, and AOA Category 1A, 1B, or 2.




Renewal of Existing Medical Physician Licenses

On average, renewal licenses for Medical Physicians are issued within three calendar days.

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Process Overview

How to Apply for a Professional License.

 

What Happens to My Application?

 

  1. Sign in or create account at www.pals.pa.gov

  2. Select the State Board of Medicine to apply and plain-language questions will appear to help you get started

  3. Application appears – review checklist, upload required documents, follow prompts

  4. Review all information and edit as needed

  5. Pay the required fee and your application is submitted

  6. Keep an eye on your email or get real-time updates at www.pals.pa.gov