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January 1, 1970
July 5, 2022

One of the benefits of working locum tenens assignments is that you get to embrace the travel and adventure that the lifestyle brings. In order to work in new locations around the country, locum physicians must obtain state licensing. Without proper medical licensing and credentials physicians are not eligible for locum tenens assignments. 

Easiest & Most Difficult States In Which to Get a Medical License

How easy it is to get a medical license depends on state requirements. The easiest states for medical licensure have an application process that is simple to complete and everything that is required for the application is stated up front. The review process for documentation is quick and efficient at letting physicians know of any outstanding documents or incomplete items. The easiest states in which to get medical licenses include:

  • Indiana
  • Connecticut
  • Michigan
  • Virginia 
  • Hawaii

The hardest states for medical licensure have an application process that is not as straightforward. These states require that all healthcare providers undergo the Federal Credentials Verification System (FCVS). While this requirement is easy for physicians who have already gone through it, newer physicians or ones working locum tenens can find it difficult due to the length of time it takes and spotty communication.

 On top of FCVS, the application process for the individual state can be troublesome and unclear. Coupled with the poor communication and requests for additional materials from the state medical boards the process to get an approved application can take months. Medical licenses are notoriously difficult to get in:

  • Texas 
  • Nevada 
  • Massachusetts 
  • South Dakota

Guide For Locum Tenens Physicians: What You Should Know About State Medical Licenses

Understanding what is needed in order to obtain a medical license in each state can be a complicated and confusing process. In many states the medical licensure process can take over six months. Complications can arise at any time during the state license application process if documentation and requirements are not met. While each state has its own individual requirements, many state licensing boards share a similar baseline. 

What Do All States Have in Common?

The application process for locum tenens physicians has checkpoints along the way to make sure the application is not returned. Many licensing requirements for physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners are standard from state to state. 

 The Requirements For Locum Tenens Physicians That Remain Static Between States:

  • Verification of Education and Credentials
  • Personal References
  • Malpractice Documentation
  • Controlled Substance Registration (CSR)
  • Attendance to interview
  • Communication and Follow Ups

Does a Way Exist to Make the Process Easy?

Applying for expedited licensure can speed up the licensure process. While not all states accept expedited licenses, physicians may be eligible for a permanent license. 

Many state boards recognize existing licenses for medical care. Interstate medical licensure makes accepting temporary medical jobs easier.

States like Oklahoma and Alabama allow physicians to get a temporary license within a few days. Visitors can apply for temporary licenses for a fraction of a full license's cost. In many states, the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled the availability of an emergency license for physicians getting locum tenens jobs.

Compact Licensure

To simplify the process of practicing in other parts of the country, many states have introduced legislation to fast-track licensing with an additional credential. For physicians, this is called the IMLC, or Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. For Nurse Practitioners and CRNAs, this is called Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC). Providers can obtain an IMLC or NLC letter to simplify and speed up the process. Many jobs specifically will call out when they will accept a provider with this type of license. You can view participating states for advanced practitioners here and IMLC states for physicians here. More states are working to pass similar legislation as we speak.

How to Stay Eligible for Locum Tenens Jobs Long-Term

The locum tenens licensing process is lengthy and complex. A locum tenens physician who wants short-term assignments should be proactive in staying on top of licensing and credentials so they do not expire. Locum tenens physicians can use the following tips to help them with continued licensing.

Get Organized

Every application requires locum tenens physicians to submit documentation for the medical licensing process. At a minimum, physicians should always have the following updated documentation ready: 

  • Education certificates (medical school, residency, fellowship etc.)
  • Copies of state licensures
  • DEA certificates
  • Proof of continued medical education
  • Immunizations records
  • Malpractice records
  • State identification

Pro Tip: All these documents can be uploaded to your Health Carousel Locum Tenens profile any time, so when you find a job you love, presenting and credentialing you for a position is super speedy. In addition, we will remind you when one of your documents is set to expire.

Sign Up for FCVS

The FCVS is an online service that allows physicians to establish a lifetime portfolio of verified credentials which can be used to apply for a new medical licensure. Once FCVS has the core credentials, they submit the report to one or multiple state boards. While completing this process may be lengthy for new physicians, it only has to be done one time and then updated once a year. Having a FCVS account allows locum tenens physicians to have more options on where to travel and work. 

How Health Carousel Locum Tenens Can Help

While the process of getting a locum tenens license in multiple states is not impossible, it can be time consuming and stressful. Many locum tenens providers work with an agency that provides licensing assistance. Most agencies have dedicated personnel who handle everything from the license application fees, verification fees, delivery fees for the application and verification with multiple review boards. Health Carousel Locum Tenens aims to make the licensure process as painless as possible. Click here to sign up.

People Also Ask

Do locum tenens physicians need credentials?

Traveling providers must have proper credentials to work in states across the country. Medical professionals working on a freelance basis may need to apply to become eligible. 

The credentialing process varies by employer/facility. Some will expedite the process if the provider is needed urgently, getting credentialing done in just a couple of weeks. Other facilities like government clinics may have a 2-3 month credentialing process including a government background check. 

How do I get state license credentials to practice locum tenens?

Physicians must fill out applications for states where they wish to practice. Applications require thorough detailing of work history, malpractice issues, and follow-ups with notable references. Credentialing services can help physicians achieve application approval faster. These services then connect independent providers to hospitals with suitable positions.

State licenses may take six months or more for approval. Fortunately, physicians can get a temporary medical license in the meantime. Eighteen states allow temporary licenses, including Kansas, Washington, Georgia, and Maine.

If you already have an IMLC or compact license, application processing time to participating states will be significantly decreased.

Are locum tenens doctors independent contractors?

Locum tenens doctors are considered independent contractors as they seek to fill temporary positions. They typically cover their own healthcare benefits and taxes, just as any other freelance worker would.