How to Get Licensed with New Mexico’s Medical Board

For the last 10-14 years, you’ve dedicated your time and energy to medicine.

There were all-nighters before exams, endless loans to take out, hundreds of patients to care for, and two degrees you fought tooth and nail for.

And now you’re here.

You’re finally ready to get your license to practice medicine.

If you’re looking to practice in New Mexico — you’ve made a good choice.

The New Mexico Medical Board promises a medical license within three months. You can even choose the application method that best suits your situation.

Are you ready to take the leap?

Follow along as we go over how to get licensed with New Mexico’s Medical Board.


Basic Requirements Before Applying

Most U.S.-based medical schools prepare you well for this moment: The medical licensing process.

To verify you’re ready to apply, double-check that you have:

Passed Examinations

The New Mexico Medical Board has somewhat lax requirements for examinations.

The only requirements are that you pass each step within six attempts (within seven years) and earn a 75% or higher on each part.

The Board currently accepts:

  • United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE): Steps 1-3
  • Federation Licensing Examination (FLEX): Components 1-2
  • National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME): Parts 1-3
  • State Board Exams: If taken and completed before the end of 1973
  • Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE)

Or, you have another option:

You can combine different test sections, as outlined in 16.10.3.8 NMAC.

The same applies if you’re an international applicant, but you’ll need a valid ECFMG certificate as well.

Completed Education

Perhaps the most critical step in becoming a medical doctor is completing proper medical school education.

Assuming you earned a diploma from a Board-approved medical school — or international equivalent — you likely completed this requirement long ago.

Still working on paying down debt from school? Here are 10 Options for Paying Off Med School Loans.

Postgraduate Training

Before applying for your medical license, the NMMB wants to verify that you’ve honed your craft in the field.

To do so, you must complete at least two full years in a Board-approved postgraduate program found in either of these two directories:

Check to see that your postgraduate program is on one of these lists before beginning your application.

Cutting the Line: Getting Licensed by Endorsement

Have you already held a medical license in another state?

If you have, then you can skip most steps in the licensing process and get your license in-hand even sooner through licensing by endorsement.

First, you need to be able to prove that you’ve:

  • Been licensed in another state without disciplinary action
  • Graduated from a Board-approved medical school
  • Obtained certification by a specialty board
  • Practiced for at least three years in Canada or the U.S.

Be aware that your postgraduate training program does not count toward these three years of field experience.

You must have been fully-licensed during this time to be eligible.

Related: How to Get Your Medical License


 

The Four Application Methods

The medical license application process in New Mexico is a little confusing, as you have three to four options (depending on how you look at it).

For options 1-3, you’ll have to complete the Statewide Application.

Option #4 uses a different application — the FSMB’s Uniform Application — that many other states accept too.

Your four choices are:

Option 1: Apply Directly to the New Mexico Medical Board

This option leaves the brunt of the source-gathering on your shoulders.

Since you’re applying directly to the licensing board, you’re responsible for providing proof of your medical education, exams, and postgraduate training.

You can complete this version online or on paper.

Option 2: HSC for Source Documents

If you don’t care to do all the legwork and want to take a more hands-off approach in the hectic licensing process — choose the second option.

With this choice, you’ll get the N.M. Hospital Services Corporation Credentials Verification Organization (NMHSC) involved to gather your sources for you for an extra $325.

You can complete this application either online or on paper.

Option 3: FCVS for Source Documents

FCVS is a national credentialing service that streamlines the medical license application process. Very helpful if you plan to seek licensure in multiple states.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You upload documents like your birth certificate, completed exams, and postgraduate training proof.
  2. FCVS stores these credentials on their server.
  3. You select which State Boards you want to receive these documents.
  4. Pay the extra fees.

You can complete this version online or on paper.

But you’ll have to shell out an extra $375 for a basic profile on FCVS regardless.

All you have to send are your work experience and recommendations to the NMMB.

Option 4: Uniform Application

It can take hours to fill out each state’s application, and many of these applications ask for the same (or similar) details.

Here’s a relief:

New Mexico accepts FSMB’s Uniform Application.

You can complete this application for an extra $60 and send it out to multiple states, assuming they accept the form as well.

Yet, you’ll also have to provide the NMMB with a little extra information.

The additional paperwork covers the details the Uniform Application doesn’t — a more condensed version of the Statewide Application.

What’s on the Application?

Before you begin filling out your application, make sure you’re either typing it (online or PDF) or using black or blue ink.

The online version might be a better choice, however.

The print version seems cluttered and hard to follow, meaning the chances of you missing a question are high.

And if you miss a question, it’ll take the Board longer to approve your application.

As for what’s on the application, here’s the information you’ll have to provide:

  • Demographics & Contact Information: Including social security number, date of birth, home address, phone number, practice locations
  • Education: Including undergraduate, medical, and graduate programs
  • Work History: Within the last 15 years; explain long gaps on a separate sheet
  • Hospital and Health Facility Affiliation History: From the previous 15 years
  • Professional References: Not the same as your professional recommendations. These must be peers (not partners) from the last five years
  • Licensure-Registration-Certification Information: Including your ECFMG number, DEA registration, state Medicaid provider number

And, you’ll face questions about your completed exams, liability insurance, and board specialties.

Professional Practice Questions

All that’s left now is the Professional Practice Questions, perhaps the most critical part of the entire application.

There are 21 yes/no questions in this portion.

And truthfully, some of them might feel a little invasive or personal.

For example, you’ll see questions about:

  • Disciplinary action or adverse action
  • Settlements
  • Current or past drug addictions (or controlled substance use)
  • Withdrawals from medical school
  • Arrests on your criminal record
  • Overdue child support payments
  • Past complaints

Now, if you answer “yes” to any question but #20, you’ll have to explain your answer in extraordinary detail on a separate sheet of paper.

And if you answer “no” to #20, you might want to reconsider your career path.

Provide as much detail as possible for any explanations to avoid follow-up questions from the NMMB.


 

Proving You’re a Good Physician Candidate

good-physician-candidate
By this point, you’ve submitted your application, paid your dues to the Board, and are awaiting the fingerprinting process.

Now, for the most crucial step: Gathering the documents.

If you decided on options one or four above, this section is for you.

If you chose options two or three, you’ve either completed these steps already or will have the NMHSC do them for you.

Unique Requirements for Foreign Applicants

We’re about to review what all medical doctor applicants must submit to the Board to receive license approval.

But as a foreign applicant, you have a few extra hurdles to clear!

First, the Board must receive your ECFMG status report or Fifth Pathway verification directly from the medical school you attended.

And you must provide translations to all non-English documents.

Related: 3 Common Contract Issues that Green-Card Seeking Physicians Face

U.S.-Based Applicants: What You Need

The list below will seem complicated from afar, but it’s more tedious than anything.

Here are the documents the Board requires:

Proof of Immigration Status

If you’re not a naturalized U.S. citizen, you must prove that you’re complying with immigration laws and residing here legally.

The NMMB will accept an H-1, J-1, or passport as valid proof.

A Completed Applicant’s Oath

This document certifies that everything you included in your application is, to your knowledge, 100% factual.

Lying (or withholding the truth) on your application can result in disciplinary action from the Board. Be upfront whenever possible.

You’ll also need to attach a passport-style photo to this Oath.

Make sure this photo is recent (within the last six months), in full color, features your shoulders and above, and measures 2” x 2” (i.e., No filtered Instagram photos).

Malpractice History Forms

Only future licensees with malpractice on their record have to complete this form.

If you have multiple settlements against you, complete one for each instance.

Otherwise, skip this form in its entirety!

Medical Education Verification

This form is truly as straightforward as they come.

You complete the top section. This permits your medical school to release your educational information, and they’ll handle the rest.

A seal, dean’s letter, and an official transcript must accompany this form.

Postgraduate Training Verification

This form follows a similar format to the medical education verification.

You’ll fill out the top half, and your program administrator will complete the rest.

For the Board to accept this document, it must bear a notarization or hospital seal.

Work Experience Verification

The work experience verification form will seek approval from your past institutions.

Just remember that this form doesn’t include postgraduate training.

And don’t let the chief of staff forget the notary seal before submitting this one!

Professional Recommendations

Though the standards have been relatively lax up until this point, the requirements for recommendations are a bit stricter.

At the request of the NMBME, you must submit two professional recommendations by those you’ve practiced medicine with in the field.

In other words, family and friends don’t count.

Examination Scores

The New Mexico Medical Board will not accept exam scores sent from you — they must come directly from the testing agency (or FCVS).

Reach out to the NBME, SPEX, FLEX, or USMLE to arrange for the sending of your scores to the licensing board.

Where to Send Your Proof

Fortunately, the most challenging part of this process is filling out the top of each form and sending them to your medical school or past programs.
The weight then shifts onto your recipients to forward the now-completed documents to the NMMB.

Your application, fees, and supporting documents must go to:

NMMB
2055 S. Pacheco St., Bldg. 400
Santa Fe, NM 87505

You can also email the NMMB at [email protected] with any questions about your application or supporting documents.

Or you can visit the Board’s website at http://www.nmmb.state.nm.us.


 

Completing a Background Check

Besides paying your dues to the NMMB, the final barrier standing between you and being a member of the health care community?

Passing a background check.

Let’s talk about how to do that.

How to Get Fingerprinted in New Mexico

Like many medical boards across the United States, New Mexico requires in-state applicants to complete electronic fingerprinting.

Here’s how:

  1. Visit the Gemalto website, New Mexico’s preferred provider.
  2. Select “New Mexico.”
  3. Complete the registration page. Including information about your eye color, height, and other identifying features.
  4. Submit the required $45.25 fingerprinting fee.
  5. Schedule an appointment at one of Gemalto’s local sites.

On the day of your appointment, make sure you have your registration I.D. number and a photo I.D. with you (including your driver’s license).

Also, arrive early, if possible.

Many fingerprinting facilities work on a first-come, first-serve basis — regardless of registered appointment times.

Fingerprinting for Out-of-State Applicants

As you may have expected, the fingerprinting process is slightly different if you don’t currently live in the State of New Mexico.

The key difference is that you’ll have to request a set of blank cards from the Board.

No big deal.

Instead of submitting your prints electronically, mail them to:

Gemalto
NM Card Receiver
APS Department #165
2964 Bradley Street
Pasadena, CA 91107

Getting Approved First

To fast-track the application process, the NMMB may approve your license before receiving your background check results.

But there’s a caveat.

If the Medical Board rules in favor and then finds a violation of the Medical Practice Act or a felony, they reserve the right to rescind your license.

Ultimately, you can avoid this surprise by revealing any past convictions in the Professional Practice Questions section of your application.


 

The Costs of Getting Licensed

costs-getting-licensed
The costs behind becoming a licensed physician depend on which application method you choose.

The more convenient the process seems the more you should expect to spend!

Here’s the cost breakdown for each type:

Option #1: Applying Directly to the Board

This option offers cost-cutting measures but requires you to do a little extra work to gather documents yourself.

The only fees you’re responsible for are the primary application itself ($400) and fingerprinting ($45.25).

Total: $445.25

Option #2: Using HSC to Gather Documents

This convenient option will hand the document-gathering over to the NMHSC.

Besides the $400 application fee and $45.25 fingerprinting fee, you’ll owe an extra $320 to the NHMSC to do most of the legwork for you.

Total: $765.25

Option #3: Using FCVS for Credentialing

This pricey option makes the most financial sense if you’re planning to get licensed in multiple states.

You’re now on the hook for the $400 application, $45.25 fingerprinting, and $375 FSMB profile fees.

Total: $820.25

You’ll also owe an extra $65-95 for every additional profile you set up.

Option #4: Completing the Uniform Application

This option allows you to skip the tedious process of filling out multiple states’ applications.

Though, the added convenience comes with a price hike — $400 on the application, $45.25 for fingerprinting, and $60 for the uniform application.

Total: $505.25


 

An Approximate Licensing Timeline

It usually will take about three months for the New Mexico Medical Board to approve your license application.

However, the following can add weeks (or months) to your approval:

  • Having extended gaps (6+ months) in your schooling or postgraduate training
  • Not completing your application in its entirety
  • Lacking sufficient explanations for “yes” answers in the Professional Practice Questions section of your application
  • The presence of malpractice suits on your record (especially if they involved a hefty settlement)

When in doubt, be more forthcoming.

It’s better to have the NMMB know all about the disciplinary action from your residency upfront. Rather than risk unprofessionalism by not disclosing the details.

Start your new career off right by reading this: How-To Guide for Work-Life Balance.


Conclusion

The good news is that you can take shortcuts when seeking your New Mexico medical license process.

The bad news is that these so-called “shortcuts” are also more expensive.

Are you still on the fence about which method is right for you?

Here are some crucial details to help you decide:

  • Option #1: Least expensive but requires the most legwork from you
  • Option #2: Costs $225 more but fast-tracks the evidence-gathering stage
  • Option #3: Better option if you’re planning to apply to multiple state boards but only in the credentialing process
  • Option #4: Another good option for multi-state applications but more in the sense of the application itself.

Just remember:

No matter which of the first three options you choose, you’ll still have to complete New Mexico’s standard application.

When you’re ready to sign a contract, contact Physicians Thrive for a complete review.

And be sure you’re getting your fair due when you launch your medical career by checking out our 2020 Physician Compensation Report.

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