Important Information for Physicians Licensed in Kentucky

To conduct a free clinical medical practice without the supervision of a supervisor (i.e. outside of graduate school), all Kentucky physicians (graduates of foreign and American universities) must get a license from the medical license department of Kentucky.

To be licensed to practice medicine in Kentucky, any physician must pass all four tests that make up the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE)

  • Students and doctors educated outside the United States take the same tests and are evaluated to the same standards as US medical graduates;
  • USMLE is designed to test problem-solving ability, not simple memorization.

The USMLE exam consists of three parts (Steps) designed to determine a physician’s ability to apply a wide range of knowledge, concepts, and principles in order to evaluate their patient-centered skills.

Step 1 (exam with a choice of the suggested answers)

This exam is designed to test the examinee’s ability to apply basic, holistic scientific concepts in a clinical setting.

Step 2 (two separate exams)

The Basic Clinical Exam Step 2 CK is an exam with a choice of suggested answers, designed to determine whether the examinee has the medical knowledge and understanding of clinical science that is the basis for treating a patient under the supervision of a supervisor. The Step 2 CS Practical Clinical Exam is a separate exam that tests the examinee’s clinical and communication skills through their ability to receive information from standard patients, inform them about the results of the examination, and fill out a patient card.

Step 3 (exam with a choice of the suggested answers)

This exam determines the examinee’s ability to apply the medical knowledge and understanding of biomedicine and clinical science required in medical practice without the supervision of a supervisor, with an emphasis on patient management in an outpatient setting.

Path to obtaining a medical license in Kentucky

Graduates of Foreign medical universities (IMG) must be certified by the Educational Commission for Graduates of Foreign Medical Universities (ECFMG). To receive the ECFMG IMG certificate, they must pass the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS. Doctors can take these exams in any order, but we recommend that you take them in the order they are presented here. After the doctor receives the ECFMG certificate, he or she can apply for a residency at the hospital.

Step 3 is always the LAST of all the license exams because to be eligible for Step 3, graduates of foreign medical universities must already be certified by the ECFMG. In some states, doctors are allowed to take Step 3 before entering residency. Many doctors believe that successfully passing Step 3 increases their chances of getting into residency. This may be the case in some cases, however, the most significant factors for admission to the residency are high grades on Step 1 and Step 2, as well as a statement with favorable data describing the doctor. Step 3 must be passed if the student wishes to apply for an “H” visa.

Graduates of foreign medical schools who wish to be licensed to work in Kentucky must complete the following procedures in order to be eligible for postgraduate medical residency.

ECFMG Certification

  1. Doctor’s Degree;
  2. Diploma Supplement;
  3. Step 1 Passing Score;
  4. Step 2 CK Passing Score;
  5. Step 2 CS Passing Grade.

Residency-match application

(Electronic Residency Application Service – ERAS / National Residency Matching Program – NRMP)

  1. (Electronic Residency Application Processing Service-ERAS / National Residency Distribution Program – NRMP): CV / CV, Letters of Recommendation, Photo, Motivation letter;
  2. Interview with the Program Director and/or the Selection Committee for new internships;
  3. Drawing up a rating of programs (after the interviews, students form a list of programs of interest to them in descending order, and the program managers do the same for students, after which the computer summarizes the two ratings using a survey).

Residency at a Kentucky hospital

“Residency” is a 3-6-year professional training program that graduates of foreign universities must complete in a hospital engaged in postgraduate education. Think of it as an on-the-job training for doctors. IMG and American medical students decide which specializations and programs they want to enroll in. Applications to the residency program are submitted for special residency programs in the fall of the year preceding the start of the residency program. Interviews are conducted in the fall and early winter. The distribution (“Match”) takes place in March.

In the United States, there are more than 8 thousand resident programs. The Program Director of each such program has the right to hire residents at his discretion. Therefore, they all strive for some kind of diversity. There are no national standards in this matter. The task of those who want to enter the residency is to find a director who will like what he or she has to offer.

In general, program directors evaluate students by:

  1. Ratings on USMLE;
  2. Documents submitted with the application, including a letter of motivation and letters of recommendation;
  3. Personal interview;
  4. The relative level of other applicants for the same program.

Residency training for foreign medical graduates: Given the limited number of residency places available each year and the increasing number of applicants, foreign medical graduates should make a serious effort to find the right place. Many IMGS apply for a range of programs and specializations in an effort to increase their chances of getting into residency. They apply in the fall, after receiving certification from ECFMG.

Residency interview: In the late fall and early winter, program managers review the applications received and interview the selected candidates. The interview is an opportunity for program managers to evaluate the candidate, and for the candidate to familiarize themselves with the program. Just as in the case of a job interview, the goal is to find mutual understanding between the applicant and the program management.

Sometimes, during the interview or immediately after it, the program director may offer the candidate a “contract”. After accepting it, the candidate agrees to join the residency program and no longer participate in the distribution (Match). Please note that this agreement is a full-fledged legally binding contract. So, if you are offered it, we recommend that you agree because it means that you are immediately accepted!

The Match (distribution): after the interviews, the process moves to the “Match” phase (distribution). Most residency places in the United States are provided through a centralized, computerized system known as “The Match”. This computerized system assigns people to programs based on ranked lists submitted by program management and applicants. For programs that assign a high priority to certain candidates, the candidates who assign high priority to these programs are selected.

Within 5 weeks, from mid-January to the end of February, both applicants and program directors submit lists (via the Internet) to the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Program managers form a list of candidates they would like to invite for training, in descending order. Candidates, in turn, submit ranked lists of programs of interest to them. Both lists are entered into the computer, and after processing them, places in the residency are provided. The results are usually posted online in mid-March.

Please note: computer-defined vacancies are full-fledged legally binding contracts for both the program management and the candidate.

eKasper System in Kentucky

Recent legislation in the state requires all licensed physicians to register with the eKASPER system. This includes physicians who are licensed in Kentucky and practicing in another state. Failure to register may result in action against a physician’s license. KY Kasper login and password can be created on the website