Section 34-24-70

Qualifications of applicants.

(a) The following constitute the requirements for the issuance of a certificate of qualification for a license to practice medicine in this state:

(1) MEDICAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENT. All applicants for a certificate of qualification shall present a diploma or evidence of graduation from any of the following institutions:

a. A college of medicine or school of medicine accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education of the American Medical Association.

b. A college of osteopathy accredited by the American Osteopathic Association.

c. A college of medicine or school of medicine not accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education which is approved by the Board of Medical Examiners. The board may, within its discretion, withhold approval of any college of medicine not designated in either a., or b., above which:

1. Has had its accreditation withdrawn by a national or regional accreditation organization; or

2. Has had its authorization, certification, or licensure revoked or withdrawn by a national or regional governmental supervisory agency; or

3. Has been denied approval or has had its approval withdrawn by any national, state, or territorial licensing jurisdiction based upon an evaluation of the college of medicine or upon a finding of misconduct by the college; or

4. The board has determined, has engaged in fraudulent, criminal, or other practices which are inconsistent with quality medical education.

(2) POSTGRADUATE EDUCATION REQUIREMENT.

1. Applicants for a certificate of qualification who graduated from a college of medicine accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education of the American Medical Association or a college of osteopathy accredited by the American Osteopathic Association shall present evidence satisfactory to the board that the applicant has completed one year of postgraduate or residency training in any of the following programs:

a. A program listed in the directory of approved residency training programs published by the American Medical Association.

b. A program accredited by the American Osteopathic Association.

c. A program accredited by the Accreditation Committee of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

d. A program accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

2. All other applicants for a certificate of qualification who graduated from a college of medicine not accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education of the American Medical Association or a college of osteopathy not accredited by the American Osteopathic Association shall present evidence satisfactory to the board that the applicant has completed three years of postgraduate or residency training in any of the following programs:

a. A program listed in the directory of approved residency training programs published by the American Medical Association.

b. A program accredited by the American Osteopathic Association.

c. A program accredited by the Accreditation Committee of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

d. A program accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

(3) EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS. Applicants for a certificate of qualification shall achieve a passing score as determined by the Board of Medical Examiners on any of the examinations listed below:

a. The United States Medical Licensing Examination.

1.(i) Applicants who are not dual degree candidates as specified in subparagraph (3)a.2. below shall have achieved a passing score on Step 3 in not more than three administrations, except that the board may approve one additional attempt to pass Step 3 after demonstration by the applicant of additional educational experience acceptable to the board. Applicants who are not dual degree candidates shall have passed Steps 1, 2, and 3 within a seven-year period and shall not have attempted to pass Steps 1, 2, and 3 a combined total of more than 10 times.

(ii) Applicants who are not dual degree candidates as specified in subparagraph (3)a.2. below and who are currently board certified by one or more of the specialty boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association shall not be required to pass Steps 1, 2, and 3 in the time period as set forth in subparagraph (3)a.1.(i) above, however, these applicants shall still be limited to a combined total of 10 attempts to pass Steps 1, 2, and 3 as set forth in subparagraph (3)a.1.(i) above.

2. Applicants who are dual degree candidates, pursuing the M.D. or D.O. degree and the Ph.D degree in a field of biological sciences approved by the board in its rules, shall have achieved a passing score on Step 3 in not more than three administrations, except that the board may approve one additional attempt to pass Step 3 after demonstration by the applicant of additional educational experience acceptable to the board. Applicants who are dual degree candidates shall have completed Steps 1, 2, and 3 within a 10-year period except that the board may approve, within its discretion and at the request of the applicant, a longer period not to exceed 15 years. The time period for completion of Steps 1, 2, and 3 begins when the applicant initially passes his or her first step. The board shall not accept scores from a reexamination of a previously passed step of the USMLE.

b. The Federation Licensing Examination.

c. The National Board of Medical Examiners Examination.

d. The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners Examination or its successor examination.

e. The Licensing Medical Council of Canada Examination.

f. Any other examination which is currently approved or which may later be approved by the Board of Medical Examiners and which examines in the following branches of medical learning: General medicine, surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, preventive medicine, jurisprudence, and any other branches as the board may require.

g. Beginning January 1, 2000, the following requirements shall apply:

1. All applicants for initial licensure by examination shall achieve a passing score, as determined by the Board of Medical Examiners, on the United States Medical Licensing Examination or the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners Examination or its successor examination.

2. Applicants by endorsement licensed in another state, the District of Columbia, a territory of the United States, or a province of Canada who completed any one of the licensing examinations listed above prior to January 1, 2000, are eligible for licensure upon proof of a passing score of such examination.

3. Applicants by endorsement licensed in another state or the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States, or a province of Canada whose licensing examination was completed after January 1, 2000, shall achieve a passing score, as determined by the Board of Medical Examiners, on the United States Medical Licensing Examination or the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners Examination or its successor examination.

4. The board may establish by regulation acceptable combinations of the Federation Licensing Examination, National Board of Medical Examiners Examination, and/or United States Medical Licensing Examination through January 1, 2000, in satisfaction of the examination requirement for a certificate of qualification.

(4) APPLICATION AND EXAMINATION FEE REQUIREMENT. Payment in advance to the board of the required application fee or examination fee, or both, in amounts as established in the regulations of the board.

(5) CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECK. In addition to other requirements established by law and for the purpose of determining an applicant's suitability for a certificate of qualification for a license to practice medicine, each applicant shall submit to a criminal history background check. Each applicant shall submit a complete set of fingerprints to the State Board of Medical Examiners. The board shall submit the fingerprints provided by each applicant for a certificate of qualification for a license to practice medicine to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI). The fingerprints shall be forwarded by the ABI to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a national criminal history record check. Costs associated with conducting a criminal history background check shall be borne by the applicant. The State Board of Medical Examiners shall keep information received pursuant to this section confidential, except that such information received and relied upon in denying the issuance of a certificate of qualification for a license to practice medicine in this state may be disclosed as may be necessary to support the denial.

(6) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR EXAMINATION FOR CERTAIN APPLICANTS.

a. All applicants who have not passed a written state licensing examination, the examination given by the National Board of Medical Examiners, the United States Medical Licensing Examination, the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners Examination, the examination given by the Licensing Medical Council of Canada, the Special Purpose Examination, or the Federation Licensing Examination within 10 years immediately preceding the date of the application shall either:

1. Achieve a passing score on the Special Purpose Examination.

2. Be certified by or achieve a passing score on a recertification examination given by one of the specialty boards approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties or one of the specialty boards approved by the American Osteopathic Association within 10 years immediately preceding the date of the application.

b. All applicants who graduated from a college of medicine not accredited by the Liaison Committee of Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Association shall achieve a certification given by the Education Council for Foreign Medical Graduates.

(b) Administration of examinations by the board.

(1) Applicants for a certificate of qualification who are applying for initial licensure in the State of Alabama, and who meet all qualifications for administration of Step 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination are eligible to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination in Alabama.

(2) The following individuals are eligible to take the Special Purpose Examination in Alabama:

a. Applicants who are applying for licensure in Alabama who are required to take the examination under another provision of this section.

b. Individuals required to take the examination pursuant to an order or directive of the State Board of Medical Examiners or the Medical Licensure Commission.

(3) Any individual eligible to take the Special Purpose Examination pursuant to paragraph a. or b. of subdivision (2) who has not achieved a passing score within three administrations shall no longer be eligible to take the Special Purpose Examination.

(c) Administrative requirements for examination by the board.

(1) Each applicant shall pay an examination fee as established by the board for each administration of the required examination. The examination fee is not returnable to an unsuccessful applicant.

(2) Examinations administered by the board may be given in Montgomery or at any other location determined by the board.

(3) Applicants who are required to take the Special Purpose Examination or the United States Medical Licensing Examination administered by the board shall, in addition to the other requirements of this section, be eligible to sit for and take the examination under the rules established by the organization which created the examination.

(4) The board may enter into personal service contracts with individuals, firms, or corporations for the administration of any examination required by this section.

(5) The board shall keep complete records of all examinations conducted, giving the name, age, residence, college, date of graduation of the applicant examined, and the results of the examination. These records shall be open to public inspection.

(6) The board shall establish by rule or regulation the passing score for all examinations administered by it under this section.

(d) Grounds for denial of a certificate of qualification. The board may deny an application for a certificate of qualification on any of the following grounds:

(1) Failure of the applicant to achieve a passing score on any examination required under this section.

(2) Failure of the applicant to complete the application form as specified by the board or to provide additional information requested by the board in connection with the application.

(3) A finding that the applicant has submitted or caused to be submitted false, misleading, or untruthful information to the board in connection with an application for a certificate of qualification.

(4) Failure to appear before the board or a committee of the board if formally requested to appear in connection with an application for a certificate of qualification.

(5) A finding by the board that the applicant has committed any of the acts or offenses constituting grounds to discipline the licensee to practice medicine in this state pursuant to, but not limited to, Sections 16-47-128, 34-24-360, and 34-24-57.

(6) Failure of the applicant to comply with any of the requirements or rules for the issuance of a certificate of qualification for a license to practice medicine in this state.

(e) Non-disciplinary citation with administrative charge.

(1) When a ground for denial of a certificate of qualification exists, an applicant for a certificate of qualification may request in writing to the Board of Medical Examiners that a non-disciplinary citation with administrative charge be assessed against the applicant in lieu of a decision by the board to deny the application for a certificate of qualification. The board may grant, if it deems appropriate, a request for an assessment of a non-disciplinary citation with administrative charge and issue a certificate of qualification to the applicant.

(2) The administrative charge shall be in amounts established by the board in its regulations, not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Payment of an administrative charge assessed in a non-disciplinary citation shall be made to the board prior to the issuance of a certificate of qualification.

(3) If a certificate of qualification is issued by the board after the payment of an administrative charge in a non-disciplinary citation and the Medical Licensure Commission does not issue a license to practice medicine, the amount of the administrative charge shall be refunded by the board to the applicant. The imposition of a non-disciplinary citation with administrative charge shall not be considered a disciplinary action against the applicant.

(f) Withdrawal of application for certificate of qualification and certificate of qualification.

(1) An applicant for a certificate of qualification shall have six months from the date the initial signed application form is received by the board to complete the application, except that an applicant for a certificate of qualification who is required to pass an examination as part of the application process shall have 12 months from the date the initial signed application form is received to complete the application. After the expiration of the deadline for completing an application established in the preceding sentence, an incomplete application shall be withdrawn by the board.

(2) A certificate of qualification issued by the board shall be withdrawn by the board after a period of six months from the date of issuance unless the applicant has filed an application for a license to practice medicine with the Medical Licensure Commission of Alabama and paid the required fee.

(3) If either an application for a certificate of qualification or a certificate of qualification is withdrawn by the board, the applicant, to reapply, shall submit a new application form including a new application fee.

(g) Each applicant for a certificate of qualification shall be a citizen of the United States or, if not a citizen of the United States, a person who is legally present in the United States with appropriate documentation from the federal government.

(Code 1907, §1627; Code 1923, §2837; Acts 1939, No. 448, p. 600, §1; Code 1940, T. 46, §259; Acts 1959, No. 109, p. 620, §1; Acts 1969, No. 617, p. 1124, §1; Acts 1975, 3rd Ex. Sess., No. 161, p. 405, §1; Acts 1975, 4th Ex. Sess., No. 93, p. 2771, §1; Acts 1976, No. 747, p. 1027, §1; Acts 1981, 3rd Ex. Sess., No. 81-1139, p. 415, §§2, 3; Acts 1983, 3rd Ex. Sess., No. 83-812, p. 24, §1; Acts 1983, 3rd Ex. Sess., No. 83-827, p. 47, §1; Acts 1987, No. 87-775, p. 1514, §2; Acts 1993, No. 93-148, p. 202, §3; Act 99-103, p. 123, §1; Act 2002-140, p. 359, §1; Act 2004-374, p. 604, §1; Act 2007-402, p. 807, §1; Act 2008-397, p. 771, §1; Act 2009-34, p. 113, §3.)