Bailey Earls|2/7/2023|4 min read

How To Expand Your Clinician Licensure

Tips to save yourself time and effort


Obtaining your medical license can be a challenging and time consuming process, but expanding your licensure can open up new opportunities to practice what you love. Whether you’re right out of residency looking for a permanent position, exploring locum tenens or moving to a new state, we have a few tips that can help make the process easier. 

Benefits of expanding your practice

Why would you want more than one state license? Having multiple medical licenses has its perks whether you are working within a multi-state hospital system, want to keep your geographical options open or are practicing telemedicine

When it comes to telemedicine, the more states you are licensed in, the better. It allows you to become more versatile for employers and increases patient access. It also opens you up to more opportunities such as your increased value, peace of mind knowing you have career options and potential for higher pay. More companies are understanding the value in highly licensed clinicians and are actively seeking them out. 

Other clinician benefits include:

  • Marketability

  • Accessibility

  • Opportunity

  • Higher earning potential

  • Wider patient reach

Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to obtaining and maintaining medical licenses in multiple states, along with tips for maximum efficiency. 

Basics of state medical licensure

Every practicing provider is required to have an active U.S. state or jurisdiction granted medical license. In order to prescribe controlled substances, they must also obtain a DEA license per practicing state. 

Unfortunately, the medical licensure process is not nationally standardized in the United States. Each state has its own medical board that regulates licensure requirements and processes, causing them to vary from state-to-state. This leads to many states having longer processing times for approval. 

It’s best to begin the process as soon as possible, whether it’s your last year of residency or a few months before you start a new position. It’s recommended that you obtain your license before accepting a new job. The process may take more time than intended and could delay your start date. 

Multiple applications

It is possible to apply for multiple state licenses at once, but the only issue with this is the cost. Depending on the state, the total expense for one license can range from $300 to $1,000. Some organizations, such as telehealth companies, will help with the financing in return for working with them for a set amount of time. 

There is also the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact for eligible clinicians. This is an agreement between participating U.S. states to streamline the licensing process for qualifying clinicians who want to practice in multiple states. Licensing is still issued by individual states but the application process is through the Compact.

Do your research

Medical boards can change state guidelines for licensure each year, specifically for telemedicine. It is important for you or the company you work for to stay up-to-date on these changes. Ask for a copy of current licensing requirements when first contacting your licensing board. 

State-to-state board requirements will vary. According to the Federation of State Medical Boards, an Arizona medical license requires one year of postgraduate training while a Maine medical license requires three years. 

Where you attend medical school also matters. In the State of California, physician applicants are required to attend a set list of universities. But the State of North Carolina accepts all U.S. based medical schools. 

Dr. Purdy Quick Tip

When it comes to streamlining the research phase, there are several different approaches. OpenLoop CMO, Dr. Laura Purdy is licensed to practice in all 50 states and recommends delegating this process based on what fits best for each clinician. That could be finding the states they currently qualify for or targeting densely populated states with higher telemedicine volumes. Or you may prefer targeting states with simple applications and low fees; do what fits your goals the best. 

Be Prepared

The pandemic had a large impact on how long it took for applications to be processed. Even today, there are numerous delays. Some applicants are waiting 6 months to a year just to obtain their license. This doesn’t include the annual delay medical boards experience during residency season (April to July).

To make the process easier there are a few things you can do, such as having your documents prepared. Contact your institutions for primary verification resources; medical school transcript and diploma, residency and exam scores. Most of the time, State Boards will want it sent directly to them but it doesn’t hurt to have a copy for yourself.

Common documents you will also need:

  • Birth certificate or passport

  • CMEs

  • Current CV

  • References 

  • Criminal background check

Dr. Purdy Quick Tip

Dr. Laura Purdy recommends using the Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS). Many state medical boards rely on this process and require the use of the application, but it is also a great place to compile your documents. 

Be responsive 

The more available you are, the better. Staff members may be trying to reach you about incomplete documents, missing or incorrect dates, wrong documentation or even payment of fees. The sooner you respond and provide the necessary documents, the sooner they can update your application. 

State medical boards perform extensive background checks and will uncover any derogatory action or malpractice. It is important to be very detailed and forthright in your explanations. 

Have patience

Many boards are taking longer to process your application due to the sheer volume of them. They are becoming too strapped in resources, budget or staffing to keep up with the demand in a timely manner, with some states asking the legislature for increased assistance. 

There are also challenges with out of date systems and technology. As it is a long and expensive process, many boards have not been approved for the update. They then resort to manual processing systems and paper forms. The approximate processing time varies by state but can be a 2- to 12-month wait.

Dr. Purdy Quick Tip

The best way to mitigate this issue is by being slow and detailed while filling out your application. If your application is rejected or returned for additional information, this can add months of time to the process. It’s best to complete the application correctly the first time, rather than repeating the process. 

What OpenLoop can do for you

With more clinicians seeing patients virtually, it has become common to obtain multi-state licensure. Maintaining your medical license(s) can be a burden for busy clinicians but we’ve got you covered! We offer licensing as a service to clinicians within our network, this includes State board and DEA licenses. 

We help you get licensure for new states and renewal of licensure for those full-time. The expected licensing process is currently 2 to 3 months (dependent on client turnaround and state processing). Wondering where to start? Some states are top priority among companies and virtual care organizations including; California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas.

Powering patient care for clinicians 

OpenLoop thoughtfully pairs leading clinicians with innovative healthcare organizations providing virtual and in-person care in all 50 states. Our easy-to-use technology was designed with clinicians top-of-mind for seamless scheduling, efficient visits and note charting. With 6,000+ providers already in our clinician network, you can tap into the OpenLoop advantage with:

  • Nationwide connections

  • Expansive patient network

  • Sync & async options

  • Flexible scheduling

  • Competitive pay

  • Dedicated provider support

Interested in expanding your reach as a provider? Apply to our clinician network