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US Medical License

The authority over the United States Medical License is within the jurisdiction of individual states.
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The United States operates as a federation, and the individual states within the union retain significant legislative rights. Consequently, the issuance of the US Medical License is overseen by each respective state.

When embarking on a career as a physician in the United States, one encounters two distinct processes: Medical Licensing and Board Certification. Notably, the Board Certification, exemplified by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG Certification), involves a separate and comprehensive procedure.

The ECFMG Certification is centrally administered and rigorously assesses a physician’s knowledge and skills. However, even a doctor with Board Certification is authorized to practice only upon obtaining an American Medical license granted by an individual state.

It is important to note that certain federal (central) positions within the medical field are filled by healthcare professionals. For instance, federal facilities such as the US Military or federal prisons employ numerous doctors.

History of US Medical Licensing:

In 1791, the Bill of Rights granted states the authority to regulate health matters. Despite this, historical records indicate that, with only a few exceptions, physicians in the United States practiced without a US Medical License until the late 1870s.

Towards the end of that decade, particularly in 1877, the State of Illinois took the lead in initiating regulations, prompting several other states to enact laws.

Significant Changes:

Several pivotal changes marked the evolution of US Medical License Requirements:

  1. In the early 1900s, criteria for defining an acceptable ‘Medical School’ began to take shape.
  2. By 1910, most states began disqualifying physicians who graduated from medical schools that did not meet the established criteria.
  3. By 1935, a notable shift occurred as 50% of active medical schools that failed to qualify either merged or closed.

Mild Opposition:

Similar to Canada, there was mild opposition to these developments, driven partly by the perceived threat to the livelihood of some practitioners known as ‘quacks.’ Opponents argued that the US Medical License was a conspiracy orchestrated by established physicians to eliminate competition and increase their earnings.

ECFMG verifies your eligibility To commence the procedure for obtaining a US Medical License through ECFMG, you must have successfully completed a 4-year medical school program listed in WDOMS (formerly known as IMED). Furthermore, your graduation year must fall within the period specified in WDOMS when the medical school is categorized as ‘current.’

Apply for Residency After successfully passing the USMLE, the next step is to apply for Residency in Graduate Medical Education Programs. This application process relies on two key services:

Firstly, you will utilize the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) to submit your Residency application and supporting documents online.

Subsequently, the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) comes into action, facilitating the ‘matching’ of your preferences stated in your application with the Residency programs available. Upon a successful match, your Residency journey commences!

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