Job Search Timeline for Physician Residents and Fellows

table indicating the approximate amount of time for physician and resident fellows to obtain a job


Are you still in your fellowship/residency program?

You may be wondering why you’ve been receiving information about practice opportunities when you have months left of training. The fact is, it takes a lot longer than many people realize to find a position and complete all the required administrative tasks before you can start working.

Finding an appropriate group or hospital takes time! Why set yourself up to rush through the process and feel pressured to make a decision before you are ready? Why not give this important step in your professional career the time it deserves?

Start now and it will be much easier for you later.


In the interviewing stage, you’ll be speaking with representatives of different practices to determine which locations you want to visit. You’re busy, they’re busy — it can take a week or more to catch each other for your initial phone conversation to see if the opportunity will be a good fit. If all goes well and you are interested in taking the next step, it can often take a few more weeks to find a day that works for everyone involved for a site visit to occur. The physicians participating in the hiring decision have to clear their schedule to be able to interview you; you will have to arrange time off from your program. Sometimes a visit can happen on short notice, but for the most part, it’s best to plan 2 weeks or more in advance.

[ READ: Tips for Preparing for a Virtual Physician Interview ]

Getting an Offer

Let’s assume you’ve found the perfect practice opportunity and they want to extend an offer to you. Ideally, they will get a written contract to you quickly, but that doesn’t always happen. Once you have the contract, it takes time for you to review it, perhaps have an attorney look at it, and if necessary, negotiate specific details.

State Medical Licensing

From there, you’ll need a current state license. The state licensure process c

an take anywhere from 2–3 months to 8–12 months. If you attended medical school outside of the U.S., you can count on your application taking even longer to be approved. Some state medical boards only meet once a quarter. If your application isn’t in by a certain deadline, it may not be reviewed for months.

[ READ: Which Kind of Medical Practice is Right for Me?

Obtaining Credentials

After you have your license, it can take 2–6 weeks for the hospital to credential you and grant you privileges. And you’re not done just yet! In order to generate revenue, you’ll need to be approved by managed care panels. This will authorize you to be paid by the various insuring organizations. This step usually takes 3 months but sometimes this process takes 6 months or longer!

How Can You Navigate the Physician Job Search Process More Efficiently?

Of course, in any given situation, things can move much faster, but in general, you want to allow yourself plenty of time.

Given all this, don’t you agree that it’s better to get active with your search sooner rather than later?

Our consultants are happy to talk to you about what you are looking for in your next practice and location. Contact us today to start your job search process and get a head start on your fellow graduates.

Learn more about why using a physician recruiter can be especially helpful in the current climate.



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