State Licensing for Locum Tenens

On any given day, locum tenens assignments are available in most, if not all, 50 states. However, before a physician can start an assignment, he or she must be licensed to work in that state. (A common exception to this rule is government assignments, such as VA hospitals, which typically accept all state licenses.)

If you’re looking to work in a state where you’re not yet licensed, Weatherby Healthcare consultants can help walk you through the process.


To begin, gather and organize the following documents:

  1. Original education and specialty board certificates. Many state licensing boards require either copies or notarized copies of these documents, and in some instances they may even require you to send in the original documents.
  2. Work history. Boards want to see a summary of all activity in chronological order from medical school on, including accounting for any gaps longer than 30 days.
  3. Malpractice summaries and court documents. These forms should include a personal notarized statement of the claim and your involvement in the patient’s care, along with court documents including the complaint, answer to the complaint, dismissal, and settlement or judgment.
  4. Recent color passport photo. Most applications require these photos be on photo paper and no more than six months old; black-and-white photos or copies will not be accepted. If you don’t have a current photo, visit your city hall, a local post office, or even a copy shop such as FedEx to have one taken.
  5. Explanations for any adverse events in provider history. If you have experienced any of the following, you will be required to give an explanation and provide supporting documents:
    • Actions on another license
    • Probation or non-completion of a medical school or postgraduate training program
    • Substance dependency
    • Medical condition
    • Criminal history
      It’s important to note that having faced any of these issues does not necessarily disqualify you from receiving licensure, especially if you can properly document and explain your history.

Whether you’re switching to a job in a new state or looking to supplement income with locum tenens opportunities across the country, licensing is part of the job search process. There’s no need to be overwhelmed by it. Keeping your documents and records accessible makes a big difference.

Working with a staffing agency also helps. Look for an agency that has experience in licensing and has a large enough support staff to ensure they can help minimize your need to be involved. You should also consider looking for an agency that has relationships with state boards across the country. This creates efficiencies and can in many cases expedite your licensure.

If you have any questions about state licenses or required documentation, reach out to a Weatherby consultant. He or she can help you throughout the entire process.

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