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Doctors trained abroad: Getting a NY medical license

Practicing medicine takes more than just countless hours of study, passage of exams and additional preparation. In the United States, it also requires an official medical license from the state the doctor wishes to have their practice.

Can doctors who are trained in other countries practice in the U.S.?

Yes, but the details of the process will vary for each state. Generally, doctors trained abroad who wish to practice will need to complete additional educational courses before a state will grant licensure. It is not uncommon for foreign programs to focus on field work. In the United States, the training program also requires foundational knowledge in physiology, biology, chemistry and the like. As a result, leaders in the field have decided this additional coursework is advantageous before a foreign trained physician can begin their practice in the U.S.

Receiving licensure to practice medicine will also likely require passage of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam, certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign-Trained Medical Graduates, enrollment in a medical residency program and a third licensing test.

Can a foreign trained doctor get a U.S. MD designation?

In New York, applicants may receive an MD (medical doctor) designation if the following requirements are met:

  • Medical education. The applicant must have completed a medical education in a foreign medical school that is "satisfactory to the department." The education must be in line with the policy of the New York Office of the Profession's Board of Regents. The applicant must also have a license to practice medicine in the state.
  • Application. Finally, the physician must complete and apply to the New York State Education Department.

The Board of Regents will then review the application and decide.

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