How to Get Your Illinois Medical License

Learning how to get a medical license in Illinois can be a bit more difficult than learning how to get your medical license in other states. Not because the requirements are more difficult but because the Illinois Medical Board provides little to no information to support you before you begin the application process. This means that you would have to physically start the application in order to learn all of the requirements.

Fortunately, there are other sources out there that give you a roadmap for licensure in Illinois.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to get your license from the Medical Board in Illinois so you can confidently prepare yourself ahead of time.

Why Practice in Illinois?

There are plenty of reasons why you might wish to get your medical license in Illinois. There are a ton of things to do, which is perfect for physicians who are looking for a state where they can enjoy natural beauty as well as inner-city life at their leisure. The people are nice, and the cost of living is relatively affordable, especially for someone on a six-figure salary. It’s got beautiful architecture, a diverse range of culinary experiences, and a top-notch airport that you can rely on when it comes time to take a much-needed vacation.

Physicians love practicing in the state because of the ability to really connect with patients, a diverse range of areas to practice in, plenty of specialists near cities and suburban areas that allow for more comprehensive and interconnected care, and the ability to easily integrate into existing healthcare systems and adapt to the way things are done in Illinois. Overall, the Prarie State has a lot to offer modern physicians.

Keep Reading: Guide to Practicing Medicine in Illinois

Getting Your Illinois Medical License: An Overview

Understanding what the licensure process looks like is critical to going in knowing that you have everything you need to complete the process. Illinois physicians need several medical licenses in order to practice, but we’ll focus on the most crucial: the actual medical license (instead of your controlled substance license and DEA license, which are often required in other states anyway and generally an aspect of practicing you account for).

Here’s a basic overview of what you need in order to get your permanent medical license:

License Requirements:

  • Medical education verification and transcripts.
  • Completion of USMLE or COMLEX-USA exams.
  • Graduation from an accredited residency program.
  • Criminal background check.
  • Verification of previous licenses.
  • FCVS for verification (which is accepted by the state of Illinois).

Training Requirements:

  • Maximum of 5 attempts at all USMLE Steps & COMLEX Levels.
  • USMLE must be completed within 7 years; no time limit for COMLEX.
  • 2 years of postgraduate training is required

Of course, this is a very basic overview of what it takes to get your permanent medical license in Illinois. There are a lot more conditions to meet based on various factors like where you received your education, for example. A more comprehensive overview of the licensure process looks like the following.

General Requirements:

    • Must have good moral character.
    • Provide the Illinois Medical Board with your U.S. social security number.
    • Submit an online application for licensure with the required fee and other necessary forms to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

Criminal Background Check:

    • Initial applicants must undergo a criminal background check.
    • Must provide evidence of fingerprint processing from the Illinois State Police or its agent.
    • Fingerprints should be transmitted to both the ISP and FBI for a background check.
    • The ORI number for the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is IL920704Z, and the purpose code is PHY.


    • Licensure fee for Physician and Surgeon: $500 (non-refundable).
    • Additional fees are applicable for exams, Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS), ECFMG certification reports, exam scores/reports, and Certifications of Licensure.

Read more: ECFMG Certification and Getting Your Medical License in the U.S.

Education Requirements:

    • Completion of a 6-year post-secondary study comprising:
      • 2 years in a college or university.
      • 4 years of medical education (2 years in basic medical sciences and 2 years in clinical sciences).
    • Should have graduated from a medical college accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Bureau on Professional Education.
    • Foreign graduates must submit:
      • Verification of ECFMG certification.
      • Certification of Education (ED-NON form).

Experience Requirements:

    • Postgraduate Training:
      • 12 months of approved training if entered the program before or on December 31, 1987.
      • 24 months of training if entered on or after January 1, 1988. Training should be in the U.S. or Canada.
    • Professional Capacity:
      • Applicants inactive for 2 years or more must submit documentation of Professional Capacity.

Examination Requirements:

    • Acceptable exams are:
      • US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Steps 1, 2, and 3.
      • Examinations of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) Parts I, II, and III.
      • Licensee of the Medical Council of Canada examination (LMCC).
    • Exams taken prior to January 1, 2000, may require special consideration depending on the combinations.

What’s important to note is that how you fill out your application and provide the necessary documentation will play a role in licensure as well. How one physician goes about it can impact the process much more than they would anticipate. Here’s an overview of the steps you need to take depending on how you approach certain aspects of the application.

Read More: USLME, CBSE, NBME, MCCQE, + More: Medical Licensing Exams Explained

Options for Credential Verification

  • Using the Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS):
    • The FCVS is a standardized, centralized system for state licensing authorities and other entities to access a physician’s main credentials that have been verified at the source, streamlining the process of verifying and sending crucial documentation.
    • Categories of Verified Documents You’ll Need:
      • Identity
      • Medical Education
      • Examination History
      • Board Action/Disciplinary History
      • ECFMG Certification (if applicable)
    • Service Duration & Fee: Initial profile collection takes roughly 8 weeks (foreign graduates may need an additional 2-3 weeks). Once established, they process subsequent requests in about 2-3 weeks. There are fees associated with these services.
    • IDFPR Acceptance: IDFPR approves FCVS’s Physician Information Profiles. If you choose FCVS, you must still apply for licensure in Illinois with the necessary documents and fees. There are circumstances where direct verification isn’t possible; more details are in the IDFPR section below.
  • Verification by IDFPR:
    • For those not using FCVS, the IDFPR needs proof of your compliance with each licensure requirement from the respective source (e.g., test agencies, employers).
    • In the evaluation phase, official transcripts with the school seal and a photocopy of foreign documents are essential. Foreign language documents must come with an official, notarized English translation by someone other than the applicant. The translator’s certification is also necessary.

Application Requirements For Applicants Using FCVS:

U.S. or Canadian Medical School Graduates:

  • FCVS Physician Information Profile
  • Illinois Medical Application
  • CCA form
  • PH form
  • VE-PC form
  • Illinois licensure fee
  • Official transcript of pre-medical education
  • CT form

Foreign Medical College Graduates:

  • All the above, plus…
  • Proof of internship or social service completion (if applicable)
  • ED-NON form

Applicants NOT Using FCVS:

For U.S. or Canadian Medical School Graduates:

  • Illinois Medical Application
  • CCA form
  • PH form
  • VE-PC form
  • Illinois licensure fee
  • Official transcript of pre-medical education and medical school diploma
  • CT form
  • Verification of Pass/Fail Examination History
  • TN-MED form

For Foreign Medical College Graduates:

  • All of the above, plus…
  • Proof of internship or social service completion (if applicable)
  • Verification of ECFMG certification
  • ED-NON form

Read What it Takes to Be a Traveling Physician

Additional Questions When Applying to the Medical Board in Illinois

The above information gives you a comprehensive overview of everything you need to have and every step you need to take when you’re applying for your permanent license. But you still might have questions, especially if you’re someone who already holds a medical license elsewhere or currently has another type of license in the state. Let’s clear up some of these questions to help you make sure you’re ready for permanent licensure.

How Long Does Licensure Take?

The Medical Board of Illinois doesn’t have an exact timeframe for licensure. However, some outside sources assert that obtaining a license can take around three to four months. What the Board has said, however, is that you can expedite the process by applying anywhere outside of March 15th to July 1st, which is when the Illinois Medical Board is going through temporary licenses. Additionally, make sure you make no mistakes as they can take around three to four weeks to rectify before your application is back on track.

Will I Need to Pursue Continued Education After I Receive My Medical License?

Yes. All physicians in Illinois will need to earn 150 hours of continuing medical education (CME) credit over a three-year re-licensure period, which will be required for renewal.

As of 2023, there are new CME requirements in place (all of which count toward the 150-hour renewal requirement). All physicians must meet CME requirements in four distinct areas, which include:

  • Safe Opioid Prescribing Training: A 3-hour course for professionals with an Illinois Controlled Substance License, which covers faculty, advanced practice providers, and current GME trainees.
  • Sexual Harassment Prevention Training: A 1-hour course mandatory for all professions licensed by the state needing continuing education for re-licensure.
  • Recognizing Dementia: A 1-hour training for healthcare professionals dealing with patients aged 26 or older. This focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
  • Implicit Bias: A 1-hour course on identifying implicit bias in healthcare, meant for all licensed healthcare professionals.

How Does Having My Temporary License Affect Me?

While many of the requirements will be the same when you have a temporary license, there are some things you won’t have to provide due to already having an active license in the state, even if it isn’t a permanent one. Here’s some of the information that the Illinois Medical Board highlights in regard to getting your permanent medical license when you already have a temporary one.

All individuals with a temporary license are eligible for a permanent license once they complete 24 months of accredited clinical training and pass the qualifying examination (USMLE, COMLEX, or LMCC).

The required documentation for your permanent 036 license application includes:

  • The 4-page application.
  • PH Form.
  • CCA Form.
  • VE-PC.
  • A fee of $500.
  • TN-MED form (completed by your program director) certifying the successful completion of 24 months of accredited clinical training.
  • Medical licensing exam transcripts (USMLE, COMLEX, LMCC). Transcripts should be sent to IDFPR directly from the source. If you send it yourself, it will be rejected and your application will be deficient until IDFPR receives the transcript from the official source.
  • Fingerprint results from both the FBI and the Illinois State Police (ISP). Fingerprint results should not be older than 60 days from your application date.

As you’ll see from the above, many of the requirements to get your permanent license after you’ve already acquired your temporary license are the same. That being said, this is just a brief overview. Make sure to review all of the information provided in the sections above to make sure you have everything ready for your Illinois medical license application.

If you already have an active Temporary 125 license:

You don’t need to resubmit your educational transcripts. This applies to foreign graduates too. IDFPR will automatically transfer all the necessary pre-medical and medical school documents that were used for obtaining the Temporary 125 license.

If you have an active Temporary 125 license, you do not need to submit a licensure certification (CT).

If you’re applying for a Permanent 036 license by endorsement from outside Illinois:

  • You May Need to Submit CT From Your Original Jurisdiction: Submit licensure certification from the place where you first got licensed. Illinois doesn’t count temporary, training, or limited licenses as original licensure, so no CTs are needed for these.
  • You Will Need to Submit CT From Your Current Jurisdiction: This is where you’re currently practicing medicine. If you hold licenses from multiple states (like for Telemedicine or Locums), select the state where you live and/or actively practice. If the state you practice in differs from your home address on the application, provide clarification to prevent misunderstandings and delays.
  • There Are Exceptions to the Rule: Licensure certifications (CTs) should come directly from the original source. If the CT comes from you, it will be rejected, except if you’re from Indiana or Kentucky. For these states, you can upload or mail the certification that you get from the state licensing website.

Read this: Beginner’s Guide to Physician Tax Planning

Wrapping it Up

Licensure isn’t always a straightforward process, and sifting through all of the information needed to successfully acquire your license can be difficult, to say the least. Fortunately, there are guides like this one that can boil down all of the essential information and provide you with an overview of what’s expected of you, regardless of whether you have a temporary license, currently have everything in place but have no license, or have a license in another state but wish to be licensed in Illinois as well.

Of course, it’s also important to consider which states you actually wish to practice in as moving and getting your license can be a timely endeavor. If you’re still trying to figure out where to establish yourself, take a look at our guide on the top 10 places to live and work and consult our Annual Physician Compensation Report to help with your decision.

Learn how to get licensed by other state boards in our Medical Licensing Library.


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