I decided to start my own practice in March of my last year in residency. As a resident, still training in Illinois, there weren't too many steps in starting a medical practice I could work on other than obtaining my medical license. Depending on the state, this process can either be a cinch or a total nightmare.
In addition to my California license, I also decided to apply for a permanent license in Illinois as well (I only had a temporary medical license during residency). Illinois' credentialing process is quite easy. In case my California application took forever to get approved, I thought it would be a good idea to have a medical license in another state rather than no state.
If you are still in residency, you should apply for a permanent license as soon as you are eligible. At least for Illinois, people with temporary medical licenses can obtain their permanent license more easily and quickly. Even if you know for sure that you will not be practicing in the same state as your residency, it's just nice to have a permanent license somewhere.
California Medical License
My California medical license application, on the other hand, was a bit more cumbersome, and it could have become a nightmare if I didn't stay on top of things. Because it can be so daunting, some people choose to hire a professional medical licensing service for about $500. I just chose to do everything myself (this will be a common trend by the way), and in all honesty, I don't think my application process would have gone any smoother had I utilized these services.
In the past, it was not uncommon for it to take 6 to 9 months to get a California license approved. I have heard that management has changed, and that the application process has become faster. I applied for my California license on March 16, 2010, and received approval on May 19, 2010. Needless to say, I was quite shocked at the fast turnaround time! These processing times vary seasonally. I'm not sure when the peak times are, but I would guess them to be early in the calendar year. I have also heard that in-state applications take precedence over out-of-state applications.
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