Understanding the licensure process - dual agencies and their roles in the application process

Overview

  • The authority to issue medical licenses in Alabama is vested in a dual agency made up of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners ("the Board") and the Medical Licensure Commission ("the Commission").
  • The Board receives applications, verifies that applicants meet the statutory qualifications for licensure, issues approved applicants a certificate of qualification (COQ) to practice medicine and certifies approved applicants to the Commission.
  • The Board may request further information, invite the applicant to discuss the application, or deny the application on statutory grounds.
  • The Board is the regulatory agency with the authority to grant licensed physicians an Alabama Controlled Substances Certificate (ACSC) registration.
  • Physicians in Alabama must hold both an ACSC and a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration to order, dispense, prescribe or otherwise distribute controlled substances.
  • The Commission has the sole authority to issue medical licenses in Alabama and may also request further information, schedule a hearing for the applicant to show cause why the application should not be denied, or deny a license on statutory grounds.

Application process for medical license

Requirements for licensure:

  • To begin the application process, make sure you meet the requirements for licensure.
  • Board Rules, Chapter 540-X-3 contain the qualifications for licensure, including medical school, postgraduate training and examination requirements.
  • You should also check to see if there are any emergency rules that are not yet certified final rules on the Administrative Rules page.   Emergency rules will not appear at the Legislative Reference link above.


Application packet:

  • Once you have verified that you qualify for licensure, you may request an application package by sending the following by mail to:
  • Alabama Board of Medical Examiners
    PO Box 946
    Montgomery AL 36101-0946

    • - $20.00 check or money order payable to the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners for each packet
    • - your FULL name
    • - your mailing address
    • - name and date of your original licensure exam (i.e., NBME, FLEX, USMLE, NBOME, LMCC)
    • - if you have been certified/recertified by an ABMS specialty board or one of the specialty boards approved by the AOA, provide the date of certification or recertification
    • - if you have not had a licensure exam and will apply by taking USMLE Step 3, please note this information
  • Your packet will be mailed out 3-5 business days after receipt of your request and check.
  • Make sure you READ AND FOLLOW ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE APPLICATION PACKAGE.
  • The copy of Board Rules, Chapter 540-X-3, that is included in the package will be the most current version and the rules under which you will apply.


Check application progress:

  • Once the application is received, you will be mailed instructions on how to access the Check Pending Application web page.
  • The Check Pending Application web page lists items received and those items that are still needed for the application to be considered complete.
  • The Check Pending Application website is updated as we receive application documents (medical school certification, postgraduate training certification, etc.).
  • The Check Pending Application web page should be used to check on the application's progress.
  • Please do not call the office; all the information we have will be displayed on the web site.


Completed Applications and Issuance of License:

  • Once all items have been received by the Board, your application is considered complete, the status change will be noted on the Check Pending Application webpage, and the application will be placed on the next Board meeting agenda.
  • The meeting date will be shown on the Check Pending Application web page.
  • In addition, upon an application's completion, a letter is mailed to the applicant enclosing the Commission's license application and an application for an Alabama Controlled Substance Certificate (ACSC). (For more information on the ACSC, please see the ACSC Application Process at the bottom of the page.
  • The Commission's license application will need to be completed and mailed back to the MLC along with the $75.00 license fee.
  • NOTE: You can return the completed Commission license application and fee as soon as you have received them.
  • If you are approved for a license by the Commission, a license number will not be issued until the license application and fee are received.
  • At the Board meeting, approved applicants are issued COQs. Non approved applicants will be notified by mail and given further instructions. After the Board has certified the applicant to the Commission, the application will be scheduled for the next Commission meeting. The Commission meeting date will be shown on the Check Pending Application web page.
  • Applicants approved for licensure by the Commission will immediately be issued a license number if the Commission's license application and fee have been received.
  • A license certificate will be mailed to the address provided on the application. A license number will not be issued until the Commission has received the completed application and fee, and the status at the Check Pending Application web page will show as "Approved Pending Fee."
  • Non-approved applicants will be notified in writing and given further instructions.

ACSC Application Process

  • A physician that will be writing prescriptions for controlled substances is required to have an Alabama Controlled Substances Certificate (ACSC) as well as a Federal DEA Number. After an initial ACSC is issued, you may apply for an initial DEA registration.
     
  • NOTE: To lawfully administer, dispense or prescribe controlled substances in the State of Alabama, federal and state statutes require a DEA certificate of registration and an Alabama Controlled Substances Certificate. For further information concerning federal requirements contact:

DEA
Metairie
(800) 882-9539

  • A physician who WILL NOT be writing prescriptions for controlled substances is not required to have an ACSC. For additional information concerning ACSCs, including Prescription Guidelines and Guidelines for the Use of Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Pain and Registration of Dispensing Physicians, see Board Administrative Rules, Chapter 540-X-4.
     
  • The ACSC application that is sent once the COQ application is complete can be filled out and returned to the Board along with the ACSC registration fee. An ACSC will not be issued until the Commission has issued the license. After the license has been issued, the ACSC application and fee will be processed, and the physician will be mailed an ACSC certificate to the address noted on the license application. A physician MAY NOT write controlled substances prescriptions until both an ACSC and a Federal DEA number have been issued.

If after reviewing this information you have questions about the application process, please contact the agency using the information on the Contact Information page.


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