License and DEA Information

All VUMC house staff have a license exemption while they are in their residency or fellowship. However, you might determine you want to obtain a license before completing your program. Below you will find a bit of information about how to obtain a license in the state of Tennessee. You must have a medical license to sit for the boards and in order to moonlight while in training at VUMC. The license process can take several months so get started as soon as possible.

First go to the State of Tennessee  Department of Health Board of Medical examiners website here:

  • The website has links to documents and information that you will need during this process
  • Recently, the cost of obtaining a license has been $510.

The process can now be done online via this link: It is done through the LARS (Licensure and Regulatory System) portal. This system makes it easier for access, payment, and the turning in the appropriate documentation. You do have to set up an account initially.

Some of the documentation needed for licensure requires a notary. Here is a link to the notaries on campus: You will have to scroll down to see the list of notaries.

Items you will need to be licensed:

If you have completed medical school in the U.S., to meet the qualifications for medical licensure in the state of TN you must:

  • Have successfully completed a board-approved licensure examination (Typically the USMLE Steps 1, 2 and 3). All steps of the exam must have been taken and passed within 10 years of starting the first exam.
  • Have graduated from a medical school that is accredited by the LCME and have an official transcript sent directly from your medical school.
  • Completed at least one year of an ACGME accredited training program (and provide verification by your program of such).
  • Submit two recent (within the last six months) letters of recommendation (can be from your Program Director and Associate Program Director) that attest to your good moral character.
  • Be a U.S. or Canadian citizen, or provide evidence of being legally entitled to live and work in the U.S. (documentation could include notarized copy of birth certificates, naturalization papers, or current visa status).
  • Provide verification of every medical license currently or previously held.
  • Complete a practitioner Profile Questionnaire.
  • Complete, sign and have notarized a Declaration of Citizenship.

If you have completed medical school outside the U.S., in addition to the list above, you must:

  • Submit a notarized copy of your ECFMG certificate.
  • Have successfully completed a three-year U.S. residency program approved by the ACGME (verification of training is required).
    • This requirement may be deemed satisfied if the applicant is board certified by an ABMS specialty board.

After your TN license is obtained:

  1. You must obtain your personal DEA, and should no longer use your VUMC institutional DEA. The link to start that application is here:
    The cost for the DEA number is $731.00.
  2. All prescribers who hold a current DEA license and who prescribe controlled substances are required by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners to complete a minimum of two hours of prescribing CME credit. One of the two required prescribing credits may be completed online, free of charge by following the instructions below:
    1. Visit
    2. Log in with your VUnetID and password
    3. In the blue bar at the top of the page, click on Online
    4. Enter "opioid laws" in the search box
    5. Follow the instructions.

Retiring your license:

Once you have an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the state of Tennessee you will be receiving an annual bill for the professional privilege tax. Technically, this tax is due from all physicians who have an active license on the upcoming June 1 date. For those of you who are completing your training, or for other reasons will be leaving Vanderbilt within a few months, and if you do not have immediate plans to return to the State of Tennessee, you may wish to consider “retiring” your license. To avoid the current tax, this needs to be done prior to June 1.

Please remember, if you do elect to retire your license, you cannot practice medicine outside the aegis of your own training program. This obviously means that you cannot moonlight. This is the link to the form you will need to complete to retire your license: The effective date of the retirement will be JUNE 1 so please don’t retire your license now if you have any moonlighting activity in the month of June.  The annual fee for the license is $400 and it cannot be prorated and the license retirement date is always June 1st.  You can send the form in by email as long as they can read the document and see the notary seal/signature. The email address to use is

Tennessee State Medical License

In accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated Section 63-6-207(d)(2), the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners will exempt persons from the requirement of a Tennessee Medical License while participating in an accredited clinical training program in the state of Tennessee. The Office of Graduate Medical Education will request and maintain the records of this exemption. However, a full medical license is required for moonlighting and for Clinical Fellows entering a non-ACGME fellowship with a secondary faculty appointment.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Registration Numbers

While in training under this exemption of license you will use the institutional DEA number with an identifying suffix. All physicians must include an identifying number on prescriptions forms when prescribing narcotic drugs and certain other non-narcotic controlled drugs. Verify that each prescription is signed legibly. Current, active House Staff can find the institutional DEA and their identifying suffix on the House Staff Portal.

House Staff with Personal DEA Numbers

House Staff should use the GME-assigned DEA number on all prescriptions while in training. If you have a secondary faculty appointment then your personal DEA number may be used. Check with the faculty credentialing office for more information.