Specific Limited Licensing Questions

For applicants to Training Programs in Massachusetts


Q: Where can I obtain information about a limited or training license?


A: You must contact the residency program coordinator at the Massachusetts hospital where your training will be undertaken to answer your questions concerning limited license requirements. 

These professionals specialize in all aspects of the limited license process and they maintain close contact with the Board staff.  Limited license applicants should not call the Board.


Q: What are the requirements for a limited license?

A: Limited licenses are issued to physicians enrolled in postgraduate medical education programs in health care facilities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

All training must be done in an ACGME-accredited or AOA-approved program, or a fellowship in a training facility that conducts on its premises ACGME or AOA-approved programs.  A physician who holds, or who has ever held, a full Massachusetts license is not eligible for a limited license.  Please refer to the “Limited License Facts” at the Board’s website for additional information.


Q: How often is a limited license renewed?

A: Limited licenses are valid for one academic year and must be renewed at the end of each training year. 

A limited license certificate is issued following approval of the limited license and is sent to the training institution. 


Q: What is the Board’s examination requirement for a limited license?

A: Board regulations require that an applicant for a limited license must submit evidence of having achieved a passing score on Steps 1 and 2 of the USMLE, the first two levels of the COMLEX exam, or having received a certificate from the MCCQE.


Q: Is a limited licensee able to “moonlight”?

A: No.  A limited licensee may not “moonlight” either at the site of the training facility or outside of the training facility. 

For example, an emergency medicine resident may not accept “fee for service” and work in the emergency room at the training facility or outside the residency program prior to being issued a full license.


Q: When can a limited licensee apply for a full license?

A: A licensee must meet the following requirements:

  • Education:  Similar to those for a limited license.
  • Examinations:  An applicant must have achieved passing scores on the three steps of the USMLE, the three levels of the COMLEX exam, or received a certificate from the MCCQE.
  • Postgraduate training:  Two years of ACGME-accredited or AOA-approved postgraduate training for U.S. and Canadian graduates.  Three years of ACGME-accredited or AOA-approved postgraduate training for international medical graduates.



This information is provided for the benefit of license applicants and licensees and is subject to change. You may refer to the Board’s regulations, 243 CMR 2.00, for more information.

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