Carter Lee|9/5/2023|3 min read

Common Licensing Mistakes Clinicians Should Avoid

5 things to keep in mind to streamline your licensing process

Graphic that reads 5 licensing mistakes clinicians should avoid

You’ve graduated from medical school, completed residency, passed exams and now you’re ready to start practicing. But first, you must obtain a medical license. Or if you’re already licensed but interested in expanding patient reach, you may want to become licensed in multiple states. Either way, licensing is an essential step in becoming a practicing clinician and widening your scope of practice. 

The exact steps a clinician has to take to become licensed will depend on their specific profession and state/jurisdiction they intend to practice in. However, the process typically involves an application, background checks and a licensing exam. (Additional steps could include participating in continuing education programs after receiving their license and renewing licensure periodically.) 

Obtaining a medical license, although necessary, can take a significant amount of time. Physicians should expect to wait at least two months from when they submit their application to when the license is granted. Those who completed their medical degree internationally should expect an even longer waiting period. And if applicants aren’t mindful of pitfalls and mistakes, wait times can be drawn out even more. The following are some common mistakes to avoid during the licensing process to best streamline it.

1. Incomplete application and missing deadlines

One of the simplest ways to ensure a smooth licensing process is to submit all the required information in the licensure application. Failing to provide all required information, documentation or fees can delay or even result in the rejection of your application. Be sure to carefully review the application instructions and double check all your information before submitting. When in doubt, include it—errors can significantly delay license approval.

Clinicians will also want to understand their state specific requirements. Licensing requirements can vary significantly from state to state. Researching and understanding the requirements of the state where you intend to practice can help ensure you don’t miss any crucial steps. Some of the common differences among states’ licensure requirements include educational and postgraduate training requirements, necessary exams and continuing education. 

Missing important deadlines or procrastination could also lead to delays. Being aware of submission deadlines and submitting information well in advance can help ensure you don’t make any preventable mistakes and receive your licensure in a timely manner. 

2. Lack of documentation and organization

Another common mistake clinicians often make is neglecting to keep copies of all documentation related to the licensing process. Documentation includes application materials, exams scores and any communication with the licensing board. Keeping copies of these materials can be helpful if you need to dispute anything or can help save time if you are applying for multiple state licenses. 

Failing to provide supporting documentation is another simple mistake to avoid. Some state licenses may require letters of recommendation, transcripts or other supporting documents along with your application. Not providing these documents promptly or submitting incomplete versions can hinder your application.

3. Failing to meet eligibility requirements

Before starting the application process, clinicians should make sure they meet all the license eligibility requirements before applying - that way, your time isn’t wasted. Be mindful that each jurisdiction has specific requirements for medical licensure, such as completing a certain number of education and training hours. Before applying, clinicians should contact their licensing board to request licensing requirements.  

Another thing to keep in mind is that many medical licensing processes involve written and practical examinations. Not adequately preparing for these exams or underestimating their difficulty could cause you to fail and become ineligible for a license until the next round of exams which pushes back your licensing timeline significantly.

4. Poor communication with the licensing board

Failing to communicate promptly or accurately with the licensing board can lead to misunderstandings and delays as well. If any requests for additional information or clarifications come up, make sure to respond promptly. It is also a good idea to keep in tune with any changes or updates to the licensing process and make necessary changes quickly, otherwise you could unintentionally submit an outdated application that could be rejected. 

Additionally, if you happen to have any misconduct that could inhibit you from receiving a license, being transparent with the licensing board with this information and providing justification to why your application should be approved can help prevent delays or application rejections. Full disclosure and transparency is always the best approach, as any false or misleading information may lead to license denial or restriction. 

5. Not seeking guidance

The licensing process can be confusing, so if you are unsure about any aspects of it, seek guidance from professional associations, colleagues or mentors who have already gone through the licensing process. They can give you tips and even more common mistakes to look out for during the licensing process. There are also various third party organizations that can help you navigate and streamline licensing. 

Powering clinician licensing

Avoiding common mistakes when navigating the licensing process will help limit potential delays. However, state medical boards are often short-handed and there is no guarantee it will be a seamless process - so be patient.

Looking for more ways to streamline licensing? By joining the OpenLoop clinician network, you can take advantage of our licensing and credentialing services. With 6,000+ providers already in our clinician network, not only can you streamline licensing and credentialing but also tap into other OpenLoop benefits such as:

  • Nationwide connections

  • Sync & async options

  • Flexible scheduling

  • Competitive pay

  • Dedicated provider support

Interested in streamlining licensing and credentialing? Apply to our clinician network!