Reentry to the practice of medicine

Physicians and physician assistants who allow their professional licenses to lapse for a period of two or more years are required to demonstrate their competence to practice medicine upon application for a North Carolina license. Applicants may be required to complete a program of reentry before a license is issued.


Generally, the Board believes that the longer a physician or PA remains out of active clinical practice the greater the deficit in current knowledge and skills at the time of reentry. However, the rate at which knowledge and skills diminish is different for each individual and depends on a range of factors, including area of practice, intensity of practice and years of experience prior to ceasing active clinical practice. The Board’s general approach to reentry is stated in the rule below. 

Administrative rule on reentry to active practice



Professionals who are considering reentering the practice of medicine are encouraged to evaluate their own circumstances to gain a better understanding of knowledge gaps or other issues that may need to be addressed before a license can be issued. Here are a few available resources to help clinicians do this.

Physician Resources
AMA resources for physicians returning to clinical practice
AAP guide for reentering clinical practice

Physician Assistant Resources
AAPA: Planning a Break From Clinical Practice
AAPA: Plan Time Away and Return to Practice



Reentry applicants who have never been licensed in North Carolina should visit our licensure section to review and select the appropriate application type.

Most reentry applicants who were previously licensed in North Carolina will submit the reinstatement application (scroll down to last application on the page)

When an applicant who has not been licensed for two or more years applies for licensure, the Board’s policy is to assess his or her professional history and work with the applicant to determine what steps must be taken to demonstrate clinical competence. Below are some flowcharts that outline the process.

NCMB Physician Reentry Process
NCMB Physician Assistant Reentry Process