From the big city of Atlanta to rural Wilkinson County, more than ten million people call the state of Georgia home. Yet nearly one in every three citizens in the state has limited access to medical care.
Like all states across the nation, Georgia has a shortage of physicians. With Americans living longer, a large number of physicians retiring every year, and the rising costs of medical school, the problem will continue to persist unless more physicians become licensed to work in the state.
If you’re considering a medical career and thinking about making Georgia your home, keep reading.
Here’s how to become a doctor in Georgia.
Complete Your Education and Training
The first step in becoming a doctor in Georgia is to graduate from medical school. When you apply for licensure, you’ll need to provide proof that you obtained your medical degree at an accredited college.
The second step is to complete your residency training, and where you trained also matters.
To obtain your medical license in Georgia you must complete a minimum of one year of graduate training in a program accredited by one of the following:
- Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
- APA Commission on Accreditation
- College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)
Pass the Required Exams
Along with your medical degree and postgraduate residency training, the state of Georgia also requires that you pass your medical board examinations.
To practice medicine in Georgia you’ll need to provide proof that you have a passing score on one of the following exams:
- Steps 1, 2, and 3 of the USMLE
- FLEX parts I and II
- NBME exam
Keep in mind that the Georgia licensing board requires that you pass certain tests within a specific number of attempts. For example, if you’re applying for state licensure with scores from the USMLE exam, you’ll need to have passed step 3 in three attempts or less.
Fill Out an Application for Licensure with the Georgia Composite Medical Board
Once you’ve fulfilled the educational and examination requirements you’ll need to apply for licensure with the state. All physicians, including MDs, DOs, and PAs are required to obtain a license before they can provide any type of clinical care.
The application requires you to provide personal information as well as the details of your education and training. You’ll also need to fill out a lengthy questionnaire that requires you to check “yes” or “no” on questions related to:
- Past disciplinary actions
- Use of controlled substances
- Crimes and convictions
- Child support
- DEA registration
To avoid delays, it’s critical that you fill out your application with 100% accuracy and honesty. Learn more about how to fill out your application for licensure with the Georgia medical board.
Provide Supporting Documentation
Along with your application you’ll need to provide the state with supporting documentation, such as:
- Official medical school transcript
- ECFMG certification (for IMGs)
- Certificate of postgraduate training
- Official medical licensing examination score transcript
- Citizenship affidavit
- National practitioner data bank self-query
You can make the document upload process a bit easier if you use the Federation Credentials Verification Service. The FCVS, which is offered through the Federation of State Medical Boards, allows you to create a portfolio of all the various documents you’ll need to obtain your license, receive hospital privileges, join a provider network, acquire a professional membership, and more.
Continue Your Medical Educational
MDs and DOs in Georgia must fulfill CME requirements as well. Physicians are required to earn 40 CME credits (40 hours) of continuing medical education every two years, and there are specific areas you must train in.
Physicians with a DEA registration that prescribe controlled substances must finish 3 hours of CME training in responsible opioid prescribing.
All physicians must complete 2 hours of CME training on the topics of sexual misconduct, and implicit bias.
Physicians that are not certified in pain management or palliative care but prescribe opioids for pain management to more than 50% of their patients must complete 20 CME hours on pain management and palliative medicine.
Providers that work in Georgia or offer telemedicine care to patients in the state need to maintain a valid medical license. Licenses are valid for two years, so be sure to renew it in a timely manner so that it remains active.
It’s also important to note that licensing requirements are subject to change. Be sure to visit the Georgia Composite Medical Board website from time to time so you can stay abreast of any changes made to licensure. That way, when it’s time to renew your license, you’ll be qualified and prepared to do so.