Eligibility Requirements

Physician Licensure Requirements

NOTICE:  Applicants seeking licensure in North Dakota may be required to appear before the members of the Board for an interview.  These interviews are conducted in Bismarck during March, July and November of each year.  A provisional temporary license may be issued to allow an applicant to practice medicine in North Dakota during the interval between Board meetings.  Locum tenens permits may be issued to allow an applicant to practice medicine in North Dakota for a period not to exceed three months.  HOWEVER, NO LICENSE WILL BE ISSUED UNTIL THE ENTIRE APPLICATION PROCESS IS COMPLETED.

General Requirements

Every applicant for license shall file a completed application, on forms provided by the board, showing to the board's satisfaction that the applicant is of good moral character and satisfies all of the requirements of this chapter including:

a. Successful completion of a medical licensure examination satisfactory to the board;
b. Physical, mental, and professional capability for the practice of medicine in a manner acceptable to the board; and
c. A history free of any finding by the board, any other state medical licensure board, or any court of competent jurisdiction of the commission of any act that would constitute grounds for disciplinary action under North Dakota law; the board may modify this restriction for cause.

Graduates of U.S. or Canadian medical schools must meet the following requirements in addition to the general requirements:

1. Possession of the degree of doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy from a medical school located in the U.S., its possessions, territories, or Canada, approved by the Board or by an accrediting body approved by the Board at the time the degree was conferred.

2. Successful completion of one year of postgraduate training in the U.S. or Canada in a program approved by the Board or by an accrediting body approved by the Board.

3. Licensure by a state-constructed written examination in North Dakota or in another state; or successful completion of one of the following licensing examinations or acceptable combinations thereof: FLEX (Federation Licensing Examination), NBME (National Board of Medicine), LMCC (Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada), USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination), NBOME (National Board of Osteopathic Medicine), or COMLEX (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination). An applicant is permitted a maximum of three attempts to pass each step or part or component of a licensing examination. The examination requirements must be successfully completed within a seven (7) year period.

Upon review of an individual applicant, the board may allow an exception to this rule if it finds that it is in the best interest of the state and the applicant:

a. Is validly licensed as a physician in another state;
b. Has practiced a minimum of ten years;
c. Has no disciplinary actions imposed by any other state medical licensing board;
d. Is certified by a specialty board recognized by the American board of medical specialties or by the royal college of physicians and surgeons of Canada; and
e. Meets the requirement of section 50-02-11-02, regarding the time limit for examination attempts.

Examination combinations acceptable: Part I (NBME) or Step 1 (USMLE), plus Part II or Step 2, plus Part III or Step 3; or FLEX Component 1 plus Step 3; or Part I or Step 1, plus Part II or Step 2, plus FLEX Component 2. Such combination of testing must have been completed before January 1, 2000. 

Graduates of schools located outside the U.S. or Canada must meet the following requirements in addition to the general requirements:

1. Possession of the degree of doctor of medicine or a Board-approved equivalent based on satisfactory completion of educational programs acceptable to the Board.  Graduates of osteopathic schools located outside the U.S. are not eligible for licensure.

2. Successful completion of thirty months of postgraduate training in the U.S. or Canada in a program approved by the Board or by an accrediting body approved by the Board.  If the applicant has not completed thirty months of postgraduate training in a program approved by the Board or by an accrediting body approved by the Board, but has met all other licensing requirements and has successfully completed one year of postgraduate training in the U.S. or Canada in a program approved by the Board, and if the Board finds that the applicant has other professional experience and training that is substantially equivalent to the last eighteen months of postgraduate training, then the applicant may be deemed eligible for licensure.  The Board is granted broad discretion in determining whether to apply this exception to the normal licensing requirements.  An applicant seeking licensure under this exception must present evidence satisfactory to the Board that he/she is either (a) American or Canadian board certified, or; (b) passed the SPEX (Special Purpose Examination) developed by the Federation of State Medical Boards.

3. A standard ECFMG certificate is required of graduates of foreign medical schools except graduates of medical schools located in Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.  This requirement may be waived for applicants who possess a 5th Pathway certificate or, by unanimous vote of the Board, for applicants who are American board certified.

4. Licensure by a state-constructed written examination in North Dakota or in another state; or successful completion of one of the following licensing examinations or acceptable combinations thereof: FLEX (Federation Licensing Examination), NBME (National Board of Medicine), LMCC (Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada), or USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination). An applicant is permitted a maximum of three attempts to pass each step or part or component of a licensing examination. The examination requirements must be successfully completed within a seven (7) year period, measured from date of completion of the 1st Step or Component.

Upon review of an individual applicant, the board may allow an exception to this rule if it finds that it is in the best interest of the state and the applicant:

a. Is validly licensed as a physician in another state;
b. Has practiced a minimum of ten years;
c. Has no disciplinary actions imposed by any other state medical licensing board;
d. Is certified by a specialty board recognized by the American board of medical specialties or by the royal college of physicians and surgeons of Canada; and
e. Meets the requirement of section 50-02-11-02, regarding the time limit for examination attempts.

Examination combinations acceptable: Part I (NBME) or Step 1 (USMLE), plus Part II or Step 2, plus Part III or Step 3; or FLEX Component 1 plus Step 3; or Part I or Step 1, plus Part II or Step 2, plus FLEX Component 2. Such combination of testing must have been completed by January 1, 2000.