How to get a New York Medical License

You spend years going to school to get the education you need to be a physician. Then, once you graduate, you need to get a state medical license to continue. It’s a critical step that varies from state to state. If you are headed to New York State for your medical career, here is how to get your license.

Why New York State?

There is a lot to love about the Empire State. It is, of course, the home of the Big Apple and some of the top hospitals in the country, such as Columbia, Cornell, and New York Presbyterian. You’ll also enjoy a rich culture and active social scene.

New York has a little something for everyone regardless of what kind of medicine you want to practice. There are rural areas that teach you the art of primary care and first-class trauma centers that give you hands-on emergency experience. New York State is known for everything from beautiful beaches to the best public transport system in the country. It’s a great choice for someone looking to continue their medical career in a state that has everything. Want more details? Read our Guide to Practicing Medicine in New York.

It starts with getting that New York medical license, though. This guide will take you step-by-step through the process of getting your medical license in New York State.

The first step in getting a medical license in any state, including New York, is to do an assessment of the requirements to ensure you meet them all. This will save you a lot of frustration down the road as you apply. New York State has surprisingly few requirements.

Education Requirements for a Medical License in New York

Before applying for a New York medical license, you must graduate from an accredited school with a doctor of medicine (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) degree. New York State requires:

  • Sixty semester hours of college study from a New York State recognized program or the equivalent as determined by the New York State Education Department
  • Completion of a medical program approved by the New York State Education Department as licensure-qualifying or accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and receipt of a Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or the equivalent

They also leave the door open to other options defined by the state commissioner. For example, someone who attends a foreign medical school that does not issue either an M.D. or D.O. might still qualify for a New York Medical license.

To qualify for a medical license without an M.D. or D.O., you must attend a school with a similar philosophy and curriculum as U.S. schools as determined by the Board of Regents. Rules for graduates of non-accredited medical programs include:

  • A curriculum of at least 32 months (4 academic years) in a medical program recognized by the appropriate civil authorities of the country in which the school is located as an acceptable educational program for physicians, and receipt of the degree of Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or the equivalent as determined by the Department. You must complete your last year of medical school at the institution that gave you the degree.
  • A successful proficiency examination. These criteria will be met by certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

You can obtain your New York State medical license following either path..

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Experience Requirements

You must complete, as part of your education, a clinical clerkship or rotations at a general hospital or approved health care facility to get your New York medical license. That clerkship does not have to be in the state of New York, but it does have to follow the laws and requirements for a clinical clerkship in the jurisdiction involved.

If you graduated from a non-LCME-accredited medical school in one country but did one or more clinical clerkships in another, those clerkships must be certified. The Federation Credentials Verification Service does not collect this information. The Director of Medical Education or Department Chair must confirm your completion of the clerkships for each hospital where you have completed such a clerkship.

Specialty Training Requirements

New York State requires applicants to undergo special training, as well.

Child Abuse Identification Reporting
In addition to the professional education requirement, all applicants for a New York medical license or limited permission to practice medicine must complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse, as required by Section 6507(3)(a) of the Education Law. For further information and a list of approved training providers, view the Mandated Training Related to Child Abuse webpage on the Office of the Professions website.

Infection Control and Barrier
Every applicant for physician licensure or a limited permit to practice medicine must complete approved coursework or training in infection control and barrier precautions, including engineering and work practice controls, to prevent the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) during professional practice. For further information and a list of approved training providers, visit the Office of the Professions webpage for Mandated Training Related to Infection Control.

See also: What It Takes to Be a Traveling Physician

Examination Requirements

Those looking to practice in New York must also pass a state-approved licensing exam. The approved exams include:

  • The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). The Federation of State Medical Boards does the administration of this exam.
  • National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME). You can find out more about this exam at the NBOME website.

Passing either exam would satisfy this requirement. These boards must certify directly to the New York State Office of Professions for licensure. New York State no longer accepts passing the FLEX or NBME exams to get a medical license.

Additional Requirements for a New York Medical License

Be At Least 21 Years Old

New York State will not license anyone under the age of 21 even if they meet other requirements. They will, however, waive this requirement for someone who will be 21 at the end of their residency. This would mean they must be 18 before beginning their medical residency.


You must be a legal U.S. citizen or someone in the country lawfully and given permanent residence status. The New York Medical Board may grant a three-year waiver to work in areas that are underserved. They may also grant an extension to physicians seeking citizenship, but it cannot exceed six years.

Good Moral Character

The Office of Professions makes the determination if someone meets these standards for a New York medical license based on FCVS credential verification and other sources.

Verification Process for a Medical License in New York

The New York State Education Department’s Office of the Professions requires that your qualifications for a New York medical license be independently validated to confirm their legitimacy.

FCVS Verification

The Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS) is recognized as an approved credentials verification agency by the New York State Education Department in the profession of Medicine and the New York Medical Board.

The Federation Credentials Verification Services (FCVS) is run by the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, Inc. The FCVS is a nationwide nonprofit corporation that serves state medical and osteopathic licensing bodies in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Its major goal is to create a centralized, consistent mechanism for state licensing agencies, as well as private, public, and commercial institutions, to receive a verified, primary source record of a physician’s “core” qualifications.

FCVS credential verification creates a permanent repository for verified documents that you can use at any time. This service verifies:

  • Identity
  • Training
  • Postgraduate training
  • Exam history
  • Board Action or Disciplinary History
  • ECFMG Certification, if available

This verification process works for those with M.D.s, D.O.s, or degrees from foreign schools. To apply for credential verification, visit the FCVS website and follow the instructions there. The process may take some time, so they recommend you apply early and follow the requirements closely to avoid delays. The application fee for FCVS is $395 for physicians.

Other Options for Credential Certification
Those who graduate from a New York State program can do their verification via FCVS or do it independently. You may request that your Registrar’s office provide a completed Certification of Professional Education (Form 2), verifying that you have properly completed all degree requirements. The completed Certification of Professional and Preprofessional Education (Form 2) must be sent directly to:

The New York State Education Department
Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services
Medicine Unit
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234-1000

The documents for your New York medical license must come directly from the school in official sealed envelopes. The necessary forms for verification are available on the Office of Professions website. If you did not graduate from an accredited New York State program, you cannot use these forms. You must use FCVS.

Application Process

The application process is done online via the Office of Professions website. They offer fillable PDF forms along with an application checklist to ensure you have the appropriate requirements met.

Along with the application form, you will need to verify your credentials. They require evidence of education and testing to come directly from the organization and not from the applicant. In addition, all hardcopy documents must be originals and have an official signature and stamp or seal from the issuing organization. All transcripts and forms must come to the Office of Professions in an official sealed envelope bearing the institution’s name and address.

They will accept electronic submissions or third-party transcript service providers if the department can independently verify the source via a secured system. They will only accept third-party transcription services after both the school and the service show they have security and verification procedures consistent with that of the department. Also, if verification is necessary, it may slow down the process of issuing the license.

Tip: Getting your medical license is a lot of work. Once you have it, make sure to protect your income with disability insurance. Read our Disability Insurance Guide to learn more.

Pay a Licensure Fee

The current licensure fee is $735, but it is subject to change without notice. The payment is sent electronically via the online Application for Licensure portal.

The Office of Professions also requires an additional 30 dollars for every license or registration that goes into a special revenue fund known as the Professional Medical Conduct account.

While the steps to get your New York State medical license may seem extensive, the entire process will likely only take six weeks. That is a short time frame compared to other states.

It’s a long road to becoming a doctor. First, you go through four years of college and then an additional four years of medical school to get to this point. The next step of getting a New York medical license will get you started on a residency program in the Empire State.

Want to work in a different state? We also have guides on getting licensed in many other states!

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