3 Steps to Get Medical License in the USA
To conduct free clinical medical practice without supervision of a headman (i.e. outside of graduate school), all doctors (graduates of foreign and American universities) must obtain a license from the medical licenses’ department of the state where they plan to carry out this activity.
Any physician must pass all four tests that make up the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) to be licensed to practice in the United States. Students and doctors educated outside the US take the same tests and are assessed to the same standards as US medical graduates. The USMLE is designed to test problem-solving ability, not just memorization.
License exam in the USA
The USMLE exam consists of three steps designed to assess the physician’s ability to apply a wide range of knowledge, concepts and principles in order to assess his patient-centered skills.
Step 1 (multiple choice exam)
This exam is created to test the examinee’s ability to apply basic, holistic scientific concepts in a clinical setting.
Step 2 (two separate exams)
The Step 2 CK Clinical Core Exam is a multiple-choice exam designed to determine whether the examinee has the medical knowledge and understanding of clinical science that is the basis for supervised patient care. The Step 2 CS Practical Clinical Exam is a stand-alone exam that tests the clinical and communication skills of the examinee through their ability to receive information from standard patients, communicate test results and complete a patient record.
Step 3 (multiple choice exam)
This exam measures the examinee’s ability to apply the medical knowledge and understanding of biomedicine and clinical science required in medical practice without supervised heading, with an emphasis on outpatient case management.
Opportunities for doctors in the USA
After the end of the residency, each doctor in the United States is given several options to choose from:
- private practice;
- admission to clinical postgraduate study for a period of 1 to 3 years, depending on the specialization;
- work in a university clinic (what we call “stay in the department”) is possible only for 5-10% of the best graduates.
During the first two years after the end of the srudying, each doctor is required to obtain a certification in his specialty – Board Certification. This requires passing two large exams – written and then, if successful – oral. Certification must be confirmed every 10 years (ten year rule). For more information, see the websites of the American Medical Association and the National Board of Medical Examiners.