Completing your medical education, exams, and postgraduate training has been both expensive and exhausting.
But here’s some good news:
Applying for your medical license with the Colorado Medical Board is a relatively straightforward process.
That’s because it’s almost entirely digital.
Your license to practice medicine is just 60 days away if you’re willing to do some early preparation to boost efficiency.
So what’s the process for getting your medical license in Colorado?
Let’s walk through how to get licensed with the Colorado Medical Board.
Prerequisites For Colorado Medical License
Colorado sure makes getting your medical license a breeze. But that doesn’t mean any Average Joe can apply for licensure and receive automatic approval.
There is an extensive list of Medical Board rules (as per the C.R.S.) that all applicants must meet for license approval.
Let’s talk about what’s on that prerequisites checklist:
- An MD (medical doctor) or DO (doctor of osteopathy) from an approved medical school
- Physical and mental competency to handle the practice of medicine
- Completion of a postgraduate training program approved by the AOA, ACGME, or CCME — one year for U.S. applicants or three years for foreign applicants
- Passed exams (FLEX, LMCC, NBOME, NBME, USMLE, or State Exams)
Fortunately, if you attended a state-approved medical school, you’ve been on the right track toward licensure since day one.
Medical License Options in the State of Colorado
You’re under the impression you want a basic physician license so that you can begin providing medical services in Colorado.
But there are other license options in-state.
If you already have an active license in another state, a pro bono license will allow you to work for up to 60 days a year in Colorado free-of-charge.
If you’re currently in a residency or a fellowship, you can pursue a physician training license for the time being.
If your Colorado medical license is no longer current and you want to return to practicing medicine in the state, you can:
- Apply for reactivation (for inactive licenses)
- Apply for reinstatement (for expired licenses)
For either, you’ll have to verify which states you’re licensed to practice in. Then provide the Board with your employment history for the last two years.
You also must have malpractice insurance and prove your competency.
Colorado also happens to be in the IMLC (Interstate Medical Licensure Compact).
If you’re looking to get your license to practice in Colorado and any of the other 28 participating U.S. states, you can cut out a little time and a few steps.
This comes at the cost of $700.
Unlike the average licensed physician in Colorado, you’ll also need to undergo fingerprinting and background check processes to participate.
The Documents & Proof Needed
By now, you’ve made sure that you meet the Board’s accreditation requirements.
It’s time to prove to the Board that you’re an excellent physician candidate by backing up what’s in your application with documented proof.
Here’s a glimpse of the type of documents you’ll need to share:
Proof of Legal Name Change
If the name on any of your documents doesn’t match that on your application, you’ll have to supply the Board with proof of legal name change.
This comes in the form of a marriage license, divorce decree, or court order.
Proof of Passed Examinations
Thankfully, the Colorado Medical Board will accept just about any exam you may have taken in your medical training tenure.
Reach out to the testing agency and request they send your score report to:
You can learn more about the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) requirements here.
Proof of Medical School Attendance
Next up is the Certificate of Medical Education Form that all applicants must submit.
You’ll complete the top portion of the document — name, medical school name, and dates of attendance.
Then, forward the form to your medical school.
A secretary, dean, or president at your medical school needs to complete the remainder of the form and it must bear an official school seal.
Have your medical school forward this form to the Board either by:
Fax: (303) 894-7693
Mail: 1560 Broadway, Suite 1350, Denver, CO 80202.
You may also have to submit an official transcript and copy of your diploma.
Proof of Postgraduate Training Completion
Follow the same guidelines as the medical school proof.
You’ll complete the first section of the Certificate of Completion of Postgraduate Training and send it to your program director to complete the rest.
Note: A waiver for postgraduate training is very rare but sometimes granted.
National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) Self-Query Form
All applicants must also submit a self-query form from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Note that this can take a few weeks to process and forward to the Board.
Disciplinary Action History Form – FSMB
The Colorado Medical Board wants to ensure that all medical doctors have faced minimal disciplinary action and unprofessional conduct from other licensing boards.
To prove that, you need to request your Disciplinary Action History from the FSMB.
Send the request form to the FSMB at:
Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, Inc.
400 Fuller Wiser Road, Suite 300
Euless, TX 76039-3856
The FSMB will then forward the results of your report to the Colorado Board.
Reference Letters From Physicians
All upcoming physician licensees must submit reference letters written by licensed health care providers from your previous institutions.
The State requires at least two, and those writing the reference letters should know you in a professional capacity.
Proof of Medical Malpractice Insurance & Claims
You also must be able to prove to the Colorado Medical Board that you currently hold malpractice insurance.
Further, it must have the following minimums:
- $1,000,000 for each incident
- $3,000,000 for your annual aggregate
If you have any prior malpractice claims filed against you, you’ll have to complete the Claims Information Form for each case to submit to the Board.
Unique Considerations For Foreign Applicants
As a foreign applicant, you likely already know about the extra pieces of documentation and paperwork that you must provide the Board.
The first and most important is the International Graduates Questionnaire.
On this form, you must answer several yes/no questions about your foreign medical school, like:
- Whether your medical school had a Dean when you attended
- If your medical school had family or internal medicine
- Three years’ minimum in undergraduate
- School accommodations for the student population
If you don’t know the answer to any of the 18 questions, you must select “no” and then explain your answer.
The form concludes with a quiz of sorts.
You must know when your medical school was initially founded and be able to explain how it offered a legitimate education.
You also must be able to prove that you passed the ECFMG exam.
How to Fill Out Your Application
Once you’ve verified that you meet the Colorado Medical Board’s prerequisites and have the proper supporting documents, it’s time to get to the application itself.
The first thing you need to do:
Register for an account on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies’ portal.
Here’s what you need to know about the application:
On the Technological End
The Colorado Medical Board is high-tech, but technology has its limits.
Since you’ll have to upload different file types (i.e., PDF, Docx) to the online portal, a smartphone or a tablet won’t be able to handle the job.
You’ll need to use a laptop or a computer.
The Medical Board recommends using the most recent version of either Internet Explorer or Google Chrome as your web browser.
Fast-Track Your Credentials With FCVS
If you have a little extra money to spend, plan to apply to several State Medical Boards, or just want to make your life a little easier, consider using Federation Credentials Verification Service.
FCVS is a ground-breaking feature brought to you by the Federation of State Medical Boards.
In other words:
You’ll upload essential documents — like an exam transcript, medical school diploma, birth certificate, and accredited postgraduate training certificate — into the FCVS platform, and the system will build a “profile” for you.
The folks at FCVS will verify that the credentials you uploaded are 100% legitimate.
You can then select the State of Colorado as the receiving Medical Board, and FCVS will transfer this data into your application.
You may think $375 for a profile on FCVS is a little pricey. However, it can streamline the process, especially if you’re sending out multiple applications.
What’s On the Application?
The Colorado medical license application isn’t complicated as much as it’s lengthy.
Information you’ll have to provide includes:
- Contact information: Phone number, email address, mailing address
- Personal information: Gender, social security number, place of birth
- Education and training: Medical school, dates attended, specialties
- License information: Current or previously-held licenses in other places
The final section of the application is arguably the most important.
These are known as “screening questions.”
You’ll face a dozen or so yes/no questions, and, if you answer “yes” to any of them, you must explain your answer in detail and provide reports to back up your claims.
The topics in question may include:
- Complaints, investigations, or disciplinary actions
- Malpractice claims (current and past)
- Past license revocations or suspensions
- Criminal charges, indictments, and convictions
- Medical issues that could complicate your ability to be a physician
- Excessive controlled substance or alcohol abuse in the last five years
While it might be uncomfortable to discuss these topics, dishonesty can lead to automatic rejection.
It’s better to over-disclose than risk coming off like you’re hiding something.
Background Check: Is It Necessary?
Unlike many other states, the State of Colorado does not require medical license applicants to undergo a background check.
That’s good news.
A background check can cost an extra $40 and sometimes takes two to four weeks to run through the system and get results.
Be upfront with the Board about any possible charges, indictments, and convictions you may have on your record.
Note: If you incur any new charges, convictions, or indictments after getting your license, you’re required to alert the Board.
The Affidavit of Eligibility
Without a signed and completed Affidavit of Eligibility, the Medical Board won’t even give your application a second look.
This section in the online application is to verify that you’re residing in the country legally. You’ll need to prove your lawful residency with verifiable documents.
That includes a driver’s license or a U.S. passport.
On top of completing the application and submitting documentation, there are a few other things you’ll have to do to ensure your ducks are in a row.
- Creating a profile on Colorado’s Healthcare Professions Profile Program (HPPP)
- Explaining to the Board how you will protect patient records and avoid making incorrect essential entries
- Describing your practice over the last two years (if you’re getting your license for the first time, this portion would be about your postgraduate training)
Now is also the time to consider joining the Colorado Medical Society.
Related Reading: 10 Options for Paying Off Medical School Debt.
The Approximate Timeline to Get Licensed
The State of Colorado gives applicants more than enough time to complete their license applications and send in supporting documents.
You’ll have one year to get everything to the Board.
If you don’t submit all documents in time, your application will expire. You also won’t receive a refund on your $400 application fee.
Not to worry!
As long as you begin gathering your supporting documents before you start working on your application, you won’t need anywhere close to 365 days.
You also don’t have to worry about mail delays, as nearly every step is online.
On average, it takes the Board 60-90 days to approve applications.
While You Wait…
How’s this for some good news:
You might be able to practice medicine before the State of Colorado even approves your application in a few circumstances.
The two scenarios where this is possible include:
- If you’re currently a resident or a “fellow” in a Board-approved training program and also have your physician training license
- You already practice within the confines of the Medical Practice Act’s “occasional practice” provision
The Licensing Costs
Up until now, every step you’ve taken toward becoming a physician has been both time-consuming and pricey.
Getting your license is no different.
By the time you submit all of the necessary documentation and your completed application to the State Board, you’ll have paid the following fees:
- Application Fee: Around $400
- NPDB Reports: $20 ($10 per federal data bank)
- FCVS (Optional): $375
- IMLC (Optional): $700+ (only if you’re seeking licensure in other states too)
On the conservative end, it’ll cost you $420 to get your license with the Colorado Medical Board.
Yet, costs are significantly higher if you intend to practice in multiple states.
Adding in FCVS to streamline credentials verification and pursuing IMLC, you’ll be on the hook for upwards of $1,495.
These fees are non-negotiable.
With that in mind, ensure that your application is completed in its entirety. Check that all documents requiring notarization have it and that you pay all fees on time.
Thanks to its convenient online portal, the Colorado Medical Board makes applying for your medical license as straightforward as possible.
There are also additional measures you can take to fast-track licensure:
- Upload documents to the portal as soon as you get (or complete) them.
- Request that third parties send your documents as quickly as possible, even before you begin your application.
- Consider creating an FCVS profile if you’re applying to several State Boards.
- Avoid snail mail — the Board requires nearly all documents to be uploaded or emailed anyway.
Once you get your medical license, the next step is, naturally, signing a contract.
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