By: Jacqueline Bain
A physician entering medical practice in the State of Florida can obtain a State Medical License by either examination or endorsement. However, to qualify for either avenue to licensure, the physician must be at least 21 years of age, be determined by the Florida Board of Medicine (the “Board”) to be of good moral character, and must not have committed any other act or offense that the Board has determined would constitute the basis for discipline here in Florida. Moreover, the physician applicant must have graduated from a qualified medical school and completed residency training. If the physician applicant attended medical school outside of the United States, the physician applicant must demonstrate competency in the English language to the satisfaction of the Board. Finally, the physician applicant must submit fingerprints and submit to a criminal background check. Once this criteria is satisfied, the physician applicant may pursue licensure by either examination or endorsement.
Licensure by Examination
In order to gain the right to practice through examination, a physician-applicant must obtain a passing score on either
- the licensure examination of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (the “USMLE”); or
- a combination of the USMLE, the examination of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, Inc. (the “FLEX”), or the examination of the National Board of Medical Examiners (the “NBME”).
In the event a physician applicant was licensed on the basis of a state board examination after 1974 and has maintained that license in at least one other jurisdiction of the United States or Canada for a period of 10 years, such an applicant may obtain a Florida license by passing the Special Purpose Examination of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States (SPEX). (However, if a physician applicant need not take and pass the SPEX in the event such physician applicant was licensed on the basis of a state board examination prior to 1974 and has maintained that license in at least three other jurisdictions of the United States or Canada and has practiced for a period of 20 years)
Licensure by Endorsement
For physicians transitioning from other states to practice in the State of Florida, the Board may issue a license by endorsement in lieu of examination. In order to be considered, a physician applicant must pay the application fee and meets the following criteria:
- The physician applicant has passed all parts of a national examination (NBME, FLEX, or USMLE); and
- The physician-applicant has been licensed and actively practicing medicine in another United States jurisdiction for 2 of the last 4 years; or has passed a Board-approved clinical competency exam 1 year prior to application; or has successfully completed a Board-approved post-graduate training program within 2 years prior to application.
However, to satisfy itself that the physician applicant is qualified and meets the applicable criteria, the Board may still require the applicant to take and pass the appropriate licensure exam, and/or investigate a physician applicant. The Board will not issue a license by endorsement to any physician applicant who is under investigation in any other jurisdiction until such investigation has concluded without discipline. The Board may also issue a limited license by endorsement to any physician applicant who has been subject to discipline in another jurisdiction.