Life + Career Licensure State Licensure

State Licensure

Obtaining licensure

Navigate state and Interstate Medical Licensure Compact processes

Requirements vary by state, but typically require successful completion of a series of rigorous examinations.

Like all physicians in the U.S., osteopathic physicians are licensed to practice medicine by state licensing boards. If you graduated more than 25 years ago with fewer “standardized” credentials, you may be subject to different standards of eligibility for licensure in the United States.

The US Licensure Summary (login required) includes:

  • Your state licensing board’s contact information.
  • Preprofessional education requirements are not described, although they are retained in many licensing statutes. Some statutes even continue to specify the extent of a high school education that an applicant must have. The admissions requirements of all accredited osteopathic colleges serve to insure that virtually all recipients of the DO degree now have a minimum of three years in college, and most have a BA or BS degree.
  • Fees are listed when available, but since fees change more frequently than any other requirement, there may be changes. Please rely on the latest information supplied by individual state boards.

You can obtain your license by:

  • Taking an examination administered by the licensing board. It may prepare its own examination or administer an examination that has been prepared and purchased from a specialized agency. Today, the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) and the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) are the most widely used tests.
  • In lieu of examination, acceptance of the certificate issued by the NBOME. This is awarded only after an applicant has satisfied the requirements including successfully passing of a rigorous series of tests.
  • Reciprocity or endorsement of a license previously received from another state. No applicant is ever entitled to automatic reciprocity for all licensing boards reserve the right to exercise discretion individually in evaluating an applicant’s personal, professional and moral qualifications. Also, the license presented for reciprocity or endorsement must usually have been issued on the basis of a written examination. If you have a question about the eligibility of a particular state’s license, please address it to the state board and provide details. At one time, a majority of states had basic science requirements and administered a written examination. This explains why certain boards will reciprocate.

Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

If you’re planning to add telemedicine to your practice, the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact offers a pathway to become licensed in multiple states through a single application process. Many states have laws requiring private insurers to cover telemedicine services, and the majority of state Medicaid programs cover the services as well.

Find out if you qualify for the multistate licensure and view a breakdown of costs and fees. Contact govt-issues@osteopathic.org for more information.

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