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Due to the difference in each state’s physician licensing requirements, the time to process your license application can vary by a month or more. If you’re interested in a locum tenens position, those extra weeks can significantly delay your start date. For these reasons, it makes sense to consider a state’s licensing requirements and processing time frames before relocating.

blue lineLocum Tenens Licensing

Eleven states currently offer locum tenens physician licensing. Listed below are the states that do offer this type of license and the expected processing time to obtain one:

  • Alaska (8 weeks)
  • Arizona (4 weeks)
  • Maine (2 to 3 weeks)
  • Massachusettes (8 to 12 weeks)
  • Nebraska (2 to 3 weeks)
  • Nevada (12 weeks, but no licensing for Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine)
  • New Hampshire (3 weeks)
  • Oregon (unknown)
  • South Dakota (2 to 3 weeks for a 60-day certificate)
  • Tennessee (4 to 6 weeks)
  • Wisconsin (6 to 8 weeks)

blue lineFastest Regular Licensing Time Frames by State

At an estimated three to four weeks, Hawaii has the shortest physician licensing time frame. Kansas offers an estimated four-to-eight week wait time. There are five states that require only a six-to-eight-week processing time. They are:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delawar
  • Georgia
  • Vermont (DOs wait 4 to 6 weeks)

Only Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine have six to eight week processing times in Tennessee, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

blue lineOnline Processing

While the majority of states either require or offer the option of submitting your license application online, not all do. Below are the states that do provide an online application for doctors:

  • California (DOs must use a paper application)
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico (DOs must use a paper application)
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma (DOs must use a paper application)
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

blue linePersonal Interview Requirements

Five states require personal interviews before granting you a license. West Virginia requires Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine to undergo an interview but do not have the same requirements for Doctors of Medicine. The other five states that require personal interviews are:

  • Delaware
  • Massachusettes
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina

blue lineFingerprinting Requirements

Only a few states don’t require fingerprinting before granting you a license. These states are:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona (DOs only)
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusettes
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia (DOs are required to be fingerprinted)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Keep in mind that licensing requirements, processing time frames and other requirements can change at any time, so it’s important to check for any changes with each state’s licensing board before applying. However, if you have some geographic flexibility when looking for work, picking a state with an online application and a faster processing time could limit the time you have to wait before practicing.