Steps to Get Licensed with the North Carolina Medical Board

north carolina medical board

You’ve dedicated your entire life to the practice of medicine. There were countless exams, exhausting training schedules, and times the process seemed endless.

Now there’s only one thing standing between you and being a physician:

Getting licensed.

North Carolina makes getting your medical license simple. They provide clearly laid-out checklists and an easy-to-use online portal.

And if you’re strategic, you’ll be fully licensed to practice health care in just four months.

So to find out what you’ll need before applying for your North Carolina medical license and the steps you’ll take along the way, keep reading.


What You Need to Do Before Applying

The prerequisites for applying to the NC Medical Board (NCMB) are very similar to those of other State Medical Boards.

If you attended a legitimate medical school program, aced your exams, and completed your post-grad training, this process should be simple.

Here’s what you’ll need before applying for your license:

Using FCVS to Speed Up the Process

One trick to speeding up document submission is signing up for Federation Credentials Verification Services.

The FCVS will store all your physician credentials and help you avoid sending individual documents to the NCMB.

This includes documents like:

  • Birth certificate or passport
  • NBME exam history release forms
  • Medical school diploma
  • Fifth Pathway certificate
  • GME completion certificate

Once you’re ready to send these documents to the NCMB, just select “North Carolina” as the receiving board.

Though it’ll cost you an extra $375, using FCVS does have its perks.

You can speed up the time it takes the Board to receive all your documents and also apply to several boards at once without the headache.

Getting your FCVS account squared away does take months, so plan for this step early.

Want to apply for a medical license in another state? Physicians Thrive offers even more step-by-step guides to help you.

A Couple of Critical Notes

Thankfully, the NCMB doesn’t approve or deny medical school education.

As long as you attended a legitimate medical school and have proof of such, that’ll fulfill your education requirements!

There are also a handful of forms you (or your superiors) must complete and send in along with your application.

Sending these forms to the NC Medical Board is as simple as possible!

All required proof or documents must be sent to the State Medical Board at [email protected] from the party who completed the form.

Your online profile with the NCMB will reflect received forms within 12-15 days.

The Forms, Proof, and Documents You’ll Need to Provide

If you’re not using FCVS to streamline the application process, then you’ll have to be more diligent when it comes to sending your proof and documents to the Board.

Here’s a glance at the forms or proof you’ll need:

Proof of Residency

If you live in the United States, you must provide the Board with a color copy of your birth certificate or passport.

Non-U.S. citizens must provide alternative proof of legal residencies, such as a green card or alien registration card.

Name Change Documentation

This is only necessary if your current legal name differs from your birth certificate or passport.

You can use your marriage license or divorce decree as proof of your name.

Medical Education Proof

Your medical school dean or chair must complete the verification of medical education (and CME) forms.

This form must include an official university seal upon submission.

Postgraduate Training Verification

A copy of this form must be completed by every institution you fulfilled some or all your postgraduate training at.

Proof of Licensing Exams

You must prove to the NC Medical Board that you’ve passed the appropriate exams for licensure, which include:

  • COMLEX
  • FLEX
  • NBOME
  • NBME
  • State written exam
  • USMLE

These must be sent directly from the testing agency, and you must have completed your exams within three attempts.

No exceptions.

Medical School Transcripts

Not all applicants have to submit medical school transcripts.

You only have to send in your medical school transcripts if you were a student at more than one school during your tenure. (Or completed fewer than four years.)

Two Reference Forms

You must have two physicians — neither of which are related to you — complete reference forms justifying your fitness for a medical license.

These forms must be sent to the NCMB via mail at either:

P.O. Box 20007, Raleigh, NC 27619

or

1203 Front Street, Raleigh, NC 27609.

Foreign Applicant Requirements

If you’re a foreign applicant, there are a few extra hoops you have to jump through before getting licensed in the United States.

The additional documents you must provide are a current ECFMG certificate or an ECFMG exam score transcript (for 5th Pathway applicants).

Get in contact with the ECFMG to arrange the delivery of your Certification Status Report to the NC Medical Board.

A Fifth Pathway verification form may also have to be completed by your program director and sent directly to the board.

Related: 3 Ways For Foreign-Born Physicians to File for a J-1 Waiver.

Getting Another Type of License

Perhaps you’re already licensed in another state or are seeking a different type of license in the State of North Carolina.

If that’s the case, your other options include:

  • Expedited Application (Must be certified with the ABMS or AOA, be licensed in another state, and have worked for 20+ hours a week for the last two years)

Be sure to do your due diligence and complete the appropriate forms and applications for the type of license you desire.

That way, you won’t accidentally complete the wrong form.

Are you still paying for all those years of education? Here are 10 Options For Paying Off Med School Loans.


Filling Out Your Application for the North Carolina Medical Board

The North Carolina Medical Board license application is simple in one sense:

It’s nearly entirely online!

Let’s review how to complete the application and discuss a few tips to reduce your stress during this tedious process.

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Blue stethoscope laying on a white table next to a silver MacBook laptop

What You’ll Need to Complete the Application

First things first, you’ll need to make an account on the http://www.ncmedboard.org online portal.

But your computer set-up is also crucial for a smooth process.

You’ll need a computer that runs on Microsoft Windows. Use Internet Explorer to complete your application, and disable your browser’s pop-up blocker.

The application won’t run properly without these specific configurations.

There’s also a need for a printer to print out these forms along the way.

Be sure to specify whether you’re using FCVS at the beginning of the application to ensure you’re completing the right application.

What Details They’ll Ask You For

Your application to join the North Carolina Medical Society runs the gamut when it comes to the types of information you’ll have to provide.

It includes everything from high school until today.

Some of these critical topics or details you’ll be grilled on include:

  • Personal information (your full name, mailing address, email address, etc.)
  • Questions about your medical school & post-graduate training
  • History of complaints, reprimands, and disciplinary action
  • Illegal drug use, convictions, and charges (all instances of arrests)

Any questions that you answer “yes” to will require explanation on the lines beneath.

That includes revealing dates and charges for crimes (including marijuana) or explaining all disciplinary actions taken against you (the behavior and consequence).

Provide detailed answers. Your explanation might be enough to explain your case and prove to the licensing board members that you’re the right candidate.

Related: Why Physicians Need Malpractice Tail Coverage.

Pay the NCMB Application Fee

Your application is essentially on hold until you pay the necessary fees.

The North Carolina Medical Board only accepts credit card payments.

Once you pay your application fee and submit your application to the Board, you can sign-in (www.ncmedboard.org) periodically to check your application and document statuses.

All you need to log-in is your file ID# and your date of birth!


What Comes Next

Now that you’ve gotten the documents and medical license application squared away with, only a few small steps remain.

Take a look at what your next steps will be.

Completing the Applicant’s Oath

Perhaps the most important form you’ll need to complete is your Applicant’s Oath.

Fortunately, this two-page document is also as straightforward as they come!

All you have to do is print your name, write a sentence promising that your details are accurate, and check a few boxes to agree to release your data.

You’ll also need to attach a 2” x 2” color photo of yourself.

But there’s a caveat:

You need to complete this form in the presence of a notary public.

Get the form signed and stamped with a notary seal and then send it via mail (not email or fax) to the NCMB.

It’s that simple!

Getting Fingerprinted

Fortunately, you can skip the fingerprinting process — which can delay your license by 8-10 weeks — if you’re pursuing your license during COVID-19.

Just remember that you will have to complete a background check later on.

So you’re not out of the woods just yet.

Here’s what you need to know about getting fingerprinted in normal circumstances:

For out-of-state applications, reach out to [email protected] to have paper fingerprinting cards sent to you.

You must have two cards completed and send them both to;

NCMB

PO Box 20007

Raleigh, NC, 27619

If you live in North Carolina, you’re eligible for live scan prints instead.

You can get printed at your local police station or law enforcement agency with your Applicant Information form in-hand.

Whether you’re in or out-of-state, you must send your Electronic Authority to Release form to the NCMB at [email protected] to release your prints.

Changing Your Application

Panic will ensue if you realize you made an error on your submissions.

Maybe you sent the wrong medical school transcript or failed to explain the 30-day gap in your medical training thus far.

Not to worry!

As soon as you notice your mistake, notify the licensing board via email.

Be sure to follow up on any change you’d like to make to your application with the necessary documents or explanations to update your file with the NCMB.

For security purposes, you cannot make these updates over the phone.


Approximate Timeline For Licensure

You’ll have a year from the day you begin your online application to submit all required documents to the licensing board.

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The whole licensing process usually takes four months.

Yet, a six-month wait isn’t unheard of if you apply between March and August due to the increase in residencies during that time.

Luckily, there are a few ways to ensure the smooth processing of your application.

To avoid delays:

  • Double-check that all open fields on your application are completed.
  • Send two fingerprint cards to the NCMB (and send re-prints within 90 days).
  • Check the portal to ensure that documents were delivered (within 15 days).
  • Include your full name and file ID number where appropriate.
  • If using FCVS, give yourself a few month’s buffer for your application.

A four-month timeline is more realistic if you begin gathering the required documents months before you need to apply!


Fees to Expect

Your license to practice medicine in the State of North Carolina doesn’t come without additional costs.

As a brand new licensee, extra charges include:

  • A $400 application fee
  • A $375 fee for your FCVS registration (optional, but recommended)
  • A $38 fingerprinting fee
  • A $2 donation to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB)

The grand total for licensure comes to $440.

Or it’ll cost you $815 if you decide to use FCVS to simplify the process.


Conclusion

There’s no way to cut corners or skip steps when looking to get your license with the North Carolina Medical Society.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process a bit, like:

  • Temporarily skipping the background check portion of your application during the COVID-19 crisis
  • Opting to use FCVS to store your credentials, helping to avoid sending each individual document to the review panel
  • Notifying your references ahead of time to let them know that you’re applying and to be prepared to write a reference
  • Gathering your required documents in the few months before you hope to be licensed by

There’s no doubt that the application process is long and tedious.

But if you follow the process to a “T” from day one, you should have your medical license in hand within four short months.

Ready to sign a new contract? Contact Physicians Thrive to do a full contract review with a licensed attorney and expert financial planner.

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