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.

Examination Requirement

To meet the examination requirement, the applicant must have taken and passed all steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or other acceptable examinations pursuant to Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 1328. Please refer to section 1328 for a listing of all acceptable examinations.

Note: Transcript of scores must be received directly from the appropriate examination entity.

Acceptable Examinations

The USMLE examinations are the most common examinations used for meeting the examination requirement. However, other acceptable examinations exist (California Code of Regulations Title 16, section 1328).

United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)

Passing scores for all steps are required for the Physician’s and Surgeon’s License (Steps 1, 2CK, and 3). For a Postgraduate Training License, Steps 1 and 2CK are required.

Examination scores are valid for a period of 10 years. Scores expire on the last day of the month the examination was passed, and may be extended with the following:

  1. Based on time spent in a postgraduate training program, including, but not limited to, residency training, clinical training, fellowship training, remedial or refresher training, or other training that is intended to maintain or improve medical skills (Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 2184(b)(2)(B)).
  2. If you are licensed physician and surgeon in another state or a Canadian province who is currently and actively practicing medicine in that state or province (BPC section 2184(b)(2)(C)).

If your examination scores have expired, you will be required to retake and pass the expired step.

You must have received a passing score on Step 3 of the USMLE exam within four attempts in order to be eligible for licensure (BPC section 2177(c)(1)).

You shall be eligible for licensure if you obtained a passing score on Step 3 of the USMLE exam with more than four attempts and meet the requirements of BPC section 2135.5.

Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC)

Both Parts of the LMCC must be passed.

National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)

All parts of the NBME must be passed.

State Board Examination

Tests must have been taken prior to June 1, 1969.

Federation Licensing Examination (FLEX)

FLEX components 1 and 2 or an acceptable combination of examinations are required. Prior to 1985, applicants must have achieved a FLEX weighted average score of 75 or higher in one sitting.

Examination Verification Agencies

The Board must receive verification of your examination scores directly from the appropriate organization(s). Verification of examination scores may be obtained by contacting the following agencies: