USMLE stands for the United States Medical Licensing Examination. After earning a medical degree and completion of a residency program, the students need to clear USMLE to start practicing as a medical doctor (MD).
The USMLE program is controlled by two nonprofit organizations, namely the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). The program helps medical licensing authorities in the US to assess the development, commitment level, and quality of the students. Through this examination, the authorities can assess the physicians' readiness for medical practice.
• To provide important information to the licensing authorities regarding the characteristics of a physician, such as how knowledgeable the physician is, its values and attitudes. These are the key factors for a safe and effective care of a patient.
• The USMLE follows high professional testing standards, ensuring fairness and equity to physicians.
• To keep on developing and improving assessments for medical licensing authorities so as to assess physicians more carefully.
It is mandatory in all the American states that every physician must have a license from a state medical board of the respective jurisdictions for practicing medicines. Every state has distinguished licensing requirements. Every medical board has its own sets of rules and regulations which state that in order to practice a physician must clear USMLE. Results of the three-step examination are provided to medical licensing authorities so that they issue the initial license based on the results. There is a common evaluation system for the applicant from any state.
The license should be renewed at regular interval. Before appearing for license renewal exam, a doctor must complete minimum 50 hours of continuing education.
The USMLE was introduced to develop one examination system which is acceptable in every state, to assure that all licensed physicians had cleared the same test, irrespective of the college or state where they studied.