Physicians and Surgeons

A Physician or Surgeon (M.D.) is an individual issued a license allowing them to practice medicine. A physician may diagnose, prescribe, and administer treatment to individuals suffering from injury or disease.

Physicians and Surgeons

The Board issues Physician’s and Surgeon’s (P&S) Licenses to allow the practice of medicine in California, in which you may diagnose, prescribe, and administer treatment to individuals suffering from injury or disease.

Physician's and Surgeon's License

To be eligible for a P&S License, you must have:

  • Attended and graduated from a U.S., Canadian, or an international medical school approved by the Board pursuant to Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 2084;
  • Received credit for either 12 (United States and Canadian medical school graduates) or 24 (international medical school graduates) months of board-approved postgraduate training (BPC section 2096); and
  • Passed all required examinations (BPC section 2170).

Board-approved postgraduate training is training accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) if completed in the United States and its territories, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and/or The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) if completed in Canada. The accredited training must include at least four months of postgraduate training in general medicine. (BPC section 2096)

If you have received credit for 12/24 months of Board-approved postgraduate training in another state or in Canada and are accepted into a California ACGME-accredited postgraduate training program, you shall obtain your P&S License within 90 days after beginning your postgraduate training program. If you do not obtain your P&S License, you must cease all clinical service at the end of the 90 days. All clinical service thereafter shall constitute unlicensed practice and you will be subject to disciplinary action. (BPC section 2065(g))

P&S Initial License Renewal Requirement

As a requirement of the initial license renewal, you must provide verification of receiving credit for 36 months of Board-approved postgraduate training, including 24-continuous months of training within the same program.

If your training was part of the MD-integrated Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) postgraduate training program, then you must provide evidence of receiving credit for at least 24 months of postgraduate training accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) to meet the initial renewal requirement. CODA-accredited postgraduate training must be part of an oral and maxillofacial surgery postgraduate training program after receiving a medical degree from a combined dental and medical degree program.

You are NOT required to provide this documentation of postgraduate training after the issuance of your P&S License if you:

  • Provided verification of receiving credit for 36 months of board-approved postgraduate training, including 24-continuous months in the same program during the application process (the Board will notify you once this requirement has been met), or
  • Are licensed pursuant to BPC sections 2135, 2135.5, 2151, 2428, or if you used experience under a BPC 2113 Special Permit to qualify for a P&S license.

Expedited and Priority Review

The Board may give your application for a P&S License priority or expedited review if you:

  • Have served as an active-duty member of the United States Armed Forces and were honorably discharged;
  • Have received and accepted an offer of employment to work in an area of California formally designated as an underserved area or underserved population;
  • Are a spouse of, domestic partner of, or in other legal union with, an active-duty member of the United States Armed Forces who is assigned to a duty station in California under official active-duty military orders; or
  • You were admitted to the United States as a Refugee, granted Asylum, or have a Special Immigrant Visa Status.

You must submit the required documentation with your application to receive priority review. Please review additional requirements and required supporting documents on the Priority Review and Expedited Application Process.

P&S Temporary License

If you are a spouse of, domestic partner of, or in other legal union with, an active-duty member of the United States Armed Forces who is assigned to a duty station in California under official active-duty military orders, you may qualify for a P&S Temporary License. For detailed information, visit the Physician’s and Surgeon’s Temporary License webpage.

P&S Limited Practice License

If you are eligible for a P&S License but are unable to practice some aspects of medicine safely due to disability, visit the Limited Practice License webpage for detailed information.

How to Apply for a Physician's and Surgeon's License

Third Party Services

You may use electronic commercial services to assist in completing your application for licensure. The Board does not mandate any of the electronic services. For additional information, visit the Third Party Services webpage. The Board is providing this information as a convenience to you.

Note: Do not complete this application packet if you are applying for licensure as an osteopathic physician and surgeon. Please contact the Osteopathic Medical Board of California at (916) 928-8390 for an application and further information.

 Tip

Use the checklist as a guide through the license application process.

Application Information & Checklist