Board Exams & Licenses

USMLE Step 3

The GW GME requires all residents to take and pass USMLE Step 3 by January 31 of your PGY-2 year for promotion. 

The Federation of State Medical Boards has a good set of instructions for applying for this exam.

This is a two-day exam. **When selecting your exam dates, you may use elective time or vacation time only.  You may not miss clinic for the exam.**  Please submit the Coverage Approval Request Form to the chief residents as soon as possible for approval.

When you get your score back, give a copy to the program coordinator, and save a copy for yourself.

Certification Examination in Internal Medicine

Registration for the Certification Examination in Internal Medicine (~$1400) is open from December – March (late fee of ~$400 applies in February).  Don’t miss the deadline!

Apply online at .  The two-day examination is administered in August at Pearson VUE Professional Centers. 

NOTE:  Candidates must complete the full 36 months of required residency training, including made-up leave time, by August 31 to be eligible to sit for the examination. 

NOTE: To sit for the exam, the ABIM requires demonstrated competency in ACLS, inserting IVs, arterial sticks (ABGs or arterial lines) and pelvic exams.  Please be sure to document all of your ABGs/arterial lines and pelvic exams in your procedure log!

See our board review book benefit policy.

For more information on "What you need to know about the ABIM Board Exam and study tips." 

Medical License

All residents must work with the GME office and the program coordinator to apply for and annually renew medical training licenses in Washington, DC and in Virginia.  The program covers medical training license fees, but will not pay for late fees.  Please apply EARLY to avoid the back-up at the Board every May!

Fellowship programs typically require a full medical license prior to your start date.  Additionally, state laws vary regarding licensing of residents, so if you do an “away elective” in any other state, be sure to check if you need to obtain any sort of license beforehand.  The program does not cover full license fees or those needed for “away elective” rotations.

Some residents may choose to obtain a full license in DC or elsewhere in order to moonlight.  

**Please note that per Washington, DC law if you have a full license to practice medicine in any other state, you must also obtain a full license in DC.  This means that if you would like to moonlight in Virginia (or Maryland), you must obtain BOTH a full DC medical license and a full Virginia medical license.  Failure to do so is punishable by the DC Board of Medicine.**  This rule is waived for residents in the last 6 months of their training, so you can seek a full license for your next position at that time!


A few helpful hints for DC Licensing:

  • Identify 3 people to fill out your character reference form. This can be anyone with a current license that is in some sort of supervisory position, like an attending or program director.
  • Contact your medical school to have your transcript sent. If you're applying to VA and/or MD as well, get the appropriate contact information for their State Medical Boards and have the results sent to them at the same time.
  • When you contact USMLE for your transcripts, send them to VA, DC, MD at once if you're planning to apply to all of them. Each application costs approximately $65 (see website for exact price) so if you decide to apply to VA after you've already done DC, you may have to pay again.
  • Get all of your paperwork together and hand-deliver it to the DC DOH at one time.  Keep copies of everything - many residents in the past have had their papers misplaced and had to start over!
  • The Board processes applications only once a month so get a head start!