The purpose of the Osteopathic Medicine Guide is to provide transparency, inform applicants of expected timeframes for receiving your license, and outline steps you can take to reduce mistakes and mitigate delays. To provide the greatest clarity on the licensing process from start to finish, we will break it down into three phases, providing estimated times for each stage of the process, and recommendations for how to reduce processing times.

Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon (OS)

An Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon:

  • is a graduate of an accredited Osteopathic Medical School
  • has passed a three-part national examination, as well as a diagnostic and practical examination
  • is fully qualified to perform surgery and prescribe medications
  • practices a "whole body" approach to medicine, with a focus on preventative health care
  • is specially trained in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment
  • uses their hands to diagnose and treat the patient
  • receives extra training in the body's musculoskeletal system - the body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones

  1. Osteopathic medicine applications are processed in the order they are received. Please submit your application as soon as possible.

  2. An official state criminal history record check (CHRC) is required from your current state of residence. For applicants living, working, or completing training in Pennsylvania, your CHRC will be generated automatically as part of your application and the required fee will be included at checkout.

    • In addition to the background check from your current state of residence, you will need to submit official state CHRCs from every state where you have lived, worked, or completed training during the last 10 years. An FBI background check can be submitted in lieu of state checks where you previously lived, worked or trained. No record checks can be dated more than 90 days prior to the date you submit your application.
       
  3. You are required to complete three hours of Board-approved continuing education on the topic of child abuse recognition and reporting. Learn more about Approved Child Abuse CE Providers. Confirmation of the course completion must be sent directly to the Board from the education provider. When registering for a course, please be sure to indicate that you are applying for Pennsylvania licensure to ensure your confirmation is sent to the Board.

  4. Any application that includes criminal history, disciplinary action taken in another state, malpractice complaints, etc., must be accompanied by a written explanation from you explaining the circumstances of the situation. Every page of requested documents must be submitted; partial copies are not acceptable. This includes copies of all legal or court documents, disciplinary action from another Board, or a complete copy of a malpractice complaint filed in court.

  5. The Board requires verification of completion of an American Osteopathic Association-approved internship. When your training hospital is verifying completion of your training, be sure they verify your internship year.

  6. If your first year of training was not an American Osteopathic Association-approved internship, you must contact the American Osteopathic Association to have your first year of training recognized by them. A copy of the recognition letter must be submitted as part of your application.

  7. A resume or curriculum vitae must be submitted listing all activities from graduation of medical school to the present date. The listing must include to/from dates listed in a month/year format with no gaps in time. Additionally, you must list the location (state/jurisdiction) of each activity.

  8. License verifications are required from any states/jurisdictions where you hold or have ever held a health-related professional license, registration, authorization, or permit to practice. Verifications are required regardless of the current status of the license. Additionally, verifications are required for training licenses/permits.

Osteopathic Graduate Medical Trainee:

A Graduate Medical Trainee may:

  • Perform all of the functions of a licensed doctor of osteopathic medicine, under the appropriate supervision, including: 
  • Performance of health assessments;
  • Diagnosis and treatment of health conditions; 
  • Counsel and educate patients about health conditions;
  • Execute medical regimens as delegated by the supervising physician;
  • Participate in interdisciplinary health care teams and committees to provide patients with the appropriate continuum of care.

  1. State Board of Osteopathic Medicine applications are processed in the order they are received. Please submit your application as soon as possible.

  2. Provide a recent Criminal History Records Check (CHRC) from the state police or other state agency that is the official repository for criminal history record information for every state in which you have lived, worked, or completed professional training/studies for the past ten (10) years. The report(s) must be dated within 90 days of the date the application is submitted. For applicants living, working, or completing training/studies in Pennsylvania, your CHRC request will be automatically submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police upon submission of this application.  Please note: For applicants currently living, working, or completing training/studies in California, Arizona, or Ohio: Due to the laws of these states, the Board is not an eligible recipient of CHRC's or your CHRC will not be issued to you for upload to the Board. Please obtain your Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Identity History Summary Check at https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks.

  3. You are required to complete three hours of Board-approved continuing education on the topic of child abuse recognition and reporting. Learn more about Approved Child Abuse CE Providers. Confirmation of the course completion must be sent directly to the Board from the education provider. When registering for a course, please be sure to indicate that you are applying for Pennsylvania licensure to ensure your confirmation is sent to the Board.

  4. Any application that includes criminal history, disciplinary action taken in another state, malpractice complaints, etc., must be accompanied by a written explanation from you explaining the circumstances of the situation. Every page of requested documents must be submitted; partial copies are not acceptable. This includes copies of all legal or court documents, disciplinary action from another Board, or a complete copy of a malpractice complaint filed in court.

  5. If primary source verification is provided, applicants may use the FCVS credentials verification service through the Federation of State Medical Boards to verify their medical education.

  6. Within a year of obtaining initial licensure, you must document completion of at least 4 hours of Board-approved education consisting of 2 hours in pain management or the identification of addiction and 2 hours in the practices of prescribing or dispensing of opioids.  The Board does not approve continuingeducation programs but accepts continuing education programs accredited as AMA PRA Category 1, AMA PRA Category 2, and AOA Category 1A, 1B, or 2.

Osteopathic Physician Assistant:

Under the appropriate direction and supervision by a physician, augment the physician’s data gathering abilities to assist the supervising physician in reaching decisions and instituting care plans for the physician’s patients. This list is not intended to be specific or all-inclusive.

  1. Screen patients to determine need for medical attention. 
  2. Review patient records to determine health status. 
  3. Take patient history. 
  4. Perform a physical examination. 
  5. Perform a development screening examination on children. 
  6. Record pertinent information data. 
  7. Make decisions regarding data gathering and appropriate management and treatment of patients being seen for the initial evaluation of a problem or the follow-up evaluation of a previously diagnosed and stabilized condition. 
  8. Prepare patient summaries. 
  9. Initiate request for commonly performed initial laboratory studies. 
  10. Collect specimens for and carry out commonly performed blood, urine and stool analyses and cultures. 
  11. Identify normal and abnormal findings on history, physical examination and commonly performed laboratory studies. 
  12. Initiate appropriate evaluation and emergency management for emergency situations, for example, cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, injuries, burns, hemorrhage. 
  13. Perform clinical procedures such as: 
    • Venipuncture. 
    • Intradermal tests. 
    • Electrocardiogram. 
    • Care and suturing of minor lacerations. 
    • Casting and splinting. 
    • Control of external hemorrhage. 
    • Application of dressings and bandages. 
    • Administration of medications with the exception of controlled substances, whole blood and blood components. 
    • Removal of superficial foreign bodies. 
    • Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. 
    • Audiometry screening. 
    • Visual screening. 
    • Carrying out aseptic and isolation techniques. 
  14. Provide counseling and instruction regarding common patient problems. 
  15. Order durable medical equipment.
  16. Issue oral orders to the extent permitted by a health care facility’s bylaws, rules, regulations or administrative policies and guidelines.
  17. Order respiratory and occupational therapy referrals.
  18. Order disability assessments for the program providing Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
  19. Issue homebound schooling certifications. 
  20. Perform and sign the initial assessment of methadone evaluations in accordance with Federal and State law, provided that any order for methadone treatment shall be made only by a physician.

  1. State Board of Osteopathic Medicine applications are processed in the order they are received. Please submit your application as soon as possible.

  2. You will need to be licensed under the same Board as your supervising physician.  If you wish to be supervised by an allopathic physician (MD), you will need to obtain licensure under the State Board of Medicine.  If you wish to be supervised by an Osteopathic physician (DO), you will need to be licensed under the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

  3. Provide a recent Criminal History Records Check (CHRC) from the state police or other state agency that is the official repository for criminal history record information for every state in which you have lived, worked, or completed professional training/studies for the past ten (10) years. The report(s) must be dated within 90 days of the date the application is submitted. For applicants living, working, or completing training/studies in Pennsylvania, your CHRC request will be automatically submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police upon submission of this application. The PATCH fee will be included at checkout. 

    • For individuals living, working, or completing training/studies outside of Pennsylvania during the past ten (10) years, in lieu of obtaining individual state background checks, you may elect to provide BOTH a state CHRC from the state in which you currently reside, AND your FBI Identity History Summary Check, available at https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks.  Please note: For applicants currently living, working, or completing training/studies in California, Arizona, or Ohio: Due to the laws of these states, the Board is not an eligible recipient of CHRC's or your CHRC will not be issued to you for upload to the Board. Please obtain your Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Identity History Summary Check.

  4. You are required to complete three hours of Board-approved continuing education on the topic of child abuse recognition and reporting. Learn more about Approved Child Abuse CE Providers. Confirmation of the course completion must be sent directly to the Board from the education provider. When registering for a course, please be sure to indicate that you are applying for Pennsylvania licensure to ensure your confirmation is sent to the Board.

  5. Any application that includes criminal history, disciplinary action taken in another state, malpractice complaints, etc., must be accompanied by a written explanation from you explaining the circumstances of the situation. Every page of requested documents must be submitted; partial copies are not acceptable. This includes copies of all legal or court documents, disciplinary action from another Board, or a complete copy of a malpractice complaint filed in court.

  6. The physician assistant school cannot complete and submit your Education Verification form prior to your graduation date. 

  7. License verifications are required from any states/jurisdictions where you hold or have ever held a health-related professional license, registration, authorization, or permit to practice. Verifications are required regardless of the current status of the license. Additionally, verifications are required for training licenses/permits.

  8. Within a year of obtaining initial licensure, you must document completion of at least 4 hours of Board-approved education consisting of 2 hours in pain management or the identification of addiction and 2 hours in the practices of prescribing or dispensing of opioids.  The Board does not approve continuing education programs but accepts continuing education programs accredited as AMA PRA Category 1, AMA PRA Category 2, and AOA Category 1A, 1B, or 2.

Process Overview

How to Apply for a Professional License in PA

Professional licensing protects the health and safety of the public from fraudulent and unethical practitioners. Fraudulent and unethical practitioners. We want the process of applying for a professional license in Pennsylvania to go as smoothly as possible..

What Happens After You Submit Your Application

Our goal is to make the professional licensing process as easy as possible while maintaining our standards to protect the public's health and safety.

  1. Sign in or create account at www.pals.pa.gov

  2. Select the board to apply and plain-language questions will appear to help you get started

  3. Application appears – review checklist, upload required documents, follow prompts

  4. Review all information and edit as needed

  5. Pay the required fee and your application is submitted

  6. Keep an eye on your email or get real-time updates at www.pals.pa.gov

Helpful Links and Next Steps:

Contact 

State Board of Osteopathic Medicine
Phone -   1 (833) DOS-BPOA
Fax - (717) 787-7769
Email: ST-OSTEOPATHIC@PA.GOV