Job Search and Licensing

"You can't always get what you want ... but if you try sometimes, ... you get what you need."
-- The Rolling Stones

It's difficult to find a good job but not impossible. It feels like it was yesterday when we were looking to find a residency spot and now we have to hit the road again.

This is a concise guide outlining the main stops in your quest to get a license and a job.


FCVS - start here, it takes a long time (3-6 months) but simplifies the procedure when applying for a state license because most boards accept it. You have to be done with your PGY-2 year in order to apply. You have to fill out the online application and pay the fee with your credit card ($ 400).

You will need a FedEx account because FCVS uses FedEx to send the verification papers to your medical school.

Which State Board?

Next check the requirements of the different state boards. Beware the boards that require that you must have completed your PGY-3 before you can apply for a license since it eliminates most IMGs. All boards have downloadable application forms - click here for the Ohio application.

Verify What They Know About You

You can check if your ECFMG information is correct and up-to-date by visiting their online information service named OASIS. You can also check your Ohio license information on their website. Verify your date of birth, year of graduation, etc.

Request Different Forms

Most state boards require an AMA ePhysician profile which is free for AMA members and it takes 2 weeks to receive.

Some state boards require a self query from the National Practitioners Data Bank - NPDB-HIPDB. This is another rate limiting process which takes 2-3 weeks and involves several steps. First you fill out an online self query, then you get the paper form in the mail. You have to take it to Linda for notarization and to mail it back to NPDB-HIPDB. Then finally they send you the final report. The whole thing will cost you $ 16.

If your board requires fingerprinting this is another thing to do early since the FBI check takes 3-4 weeks. Fingerprinting is done at your local police office, just ask them about the hours of service.

Career Advice Centers:

NEJM Career Center - advice articles and online ads, you can also post your CV for prospective employers to see
JAMA CareerNet - a new website with ads, similar to the NEJM site plus info on location, licensure and personal finance
ACP Online
How to Find the Job That's Right for You - Family Practice Management 12/2000
You Can't Always Get What You Want ... But Sometimes You Can - FPM 12/1999

In addition to FedEx and UPS, USPS Global Mail is a good and cheap way to send mail internationally.

Dr. Feterik wrote an excellent article -'State Licensure and more: Paperwork is coming' for the April 2004 issue of 'Survivors in Scrubs'.

Travel Advice by

This is a Google-like search engine for low price plane tickets, hotels and rental cars. Its ease of use is truly comparable to Google.

Immigration Advice - H1-B Visa Questions

News - Updates on U.S. Immigration Law from the Law Office of Sheela Murthy
H1B Cap FAQs

This website is really good and very up-to-date. You can subscribe to their free weekly newsletter and you'll be getting the latest immigration news delivered to your email every Friday.

Another useful website is and its forum Immigration They have a special section for physicians.

Also, check the The ABC’s of Immigration: The H-1B Visa from and Are You Moving? advice articles.

Personal Experience

Dr. Chen shares his experience with the credentialing process:

"Last year the third years kept warning me about something. The interview process forfinding a position is really pretty easy. Obtaining a license from the state where you are planning to work, is difficult and may take some time, but it is still very doable.But...The Credentialing process for Medicaid, Medicare, healthcare plans, and hospital privileges are the ones that will kill you.

Remember my last email to you about the insurance letter. This is when they need a copy ofthat. Heck, I was very very unfortunate to be a practicing pharmacist before going into medicine. They want to see proof of malpractice coverage during those times I worked, soI'm really digging into my closet, pantries, shelves, and even the trash (y'all haven'tseen my apartment yet) to find papers that I thought weren't that important until now...

I just wanted to warn you to save and make several copies of proof of malpractice insurances, diplomas, official documents such as social security, DEA licenses, clinical certifications such as your BLS, ACLS stuff, and anything else you can think of, and copies of your licenses, official forms of ID, and Immunization records. I was amazed. I even jokingly asked if they want to see my kindergarten graduation diploma, andthe girl said sure, and I'm not so sure if she was serious...

I hope y'all have a good day!"

Eddie Chen, DO

Further reading

Finding a Job After the Internal Medicine Residency
Becoming a Rural Doctor, Part 6: Job-Seeking & Job Choice. Rural Doctoring, 08/2008.
Reality Check (Ruthlessly Candid). A resident looking for a job is sharing his experience.
Your Job Search Expenses May Be Tax-Deductible.
Hunting Season. Dr. Wes, 08/2007.
Searching for a dream job and online resume sites. Go2Web2.0, 12/2007.

The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want - Live 1990 - YouTube

Updated: 08/25/2008

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