How to Get Certified to Perform DOT Physicals

Performing DOT physicals was a big part of my job when I worked in urgent care. Yes, I used to do hernia checks on overweight middle aged men all day long. Back in those days, any NP or MD could perform a DOT physical- no hoops to jump through or special certifications required. It was the like the Wild West of the commercial driver’s exam. Maybe I will check for hernias today, maybe I won’t… Simply perform the physical, fill out the form and send the patient on their way. But, things have gotten a bit more complicated when it comes to DOT physicals this year.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that commercial truck drivers and bus drivers undergo periodic physical exam to make sure they are physically capable of safety behind the wheel. These physical exams, known affectionately by medical providers as “DOT physicals” could once be performed by any licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. New regulations from the National Transportation Safety Board, however, require that medical providers obtain special certification to vouch for driver’s health on the road.

As of May, 2014, new rules state that in order to issue a DOT medical certificate, the medical provider must be authorized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as well as pass a certification exam. Providers must re-certify every 10 years and complete a refresher course every five years. The National Transportation Safety Board hopes these stricter guidelines and certification process will help standardize DOT physicals keeping drivers safer behind the wheel.

As a nurse practitioner, in many settings getting certified to perform DOT physicals is necessary. Many urgent and primary care clinics offer this service to patients so NPs working at these clinics must get certified. How do you get approved?

Think of the DOT Medical Examiner Training similarly to how you think about getting your BLS certification. You will need to attend a course (which can be done online), usually offered by a company other than your employer. These companies can be found through a simple internet search. Once you complete the course material, you will take a certification test. Courses cost between $300 to $500. Fortunately, most employers asking that you get DOT certified will cover this expense. Some medical examiner training companies even offer approved continuing education credits for taking their courses. Courses typically require completion of about 10 to 15 hours worth of online materials.

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Provided you pass the test at the end of your course, you will receive a certificate indicating your completion either by mail, online, or both. Then, you may register with the U.S. Department of Transportation through the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners website.

Getting your DOT certification can be a big plus for your practice. The U.S. Department of Transportation maintains a list of Certified Medical Examiners so drivers can locate a convenient medical provider when they are due for a physical. Performing DOT physicals can help drive new business to your practice and provide an added revenue opportunity in itself.

Are you certified to perform DOT physicals? Are DOT physicals important to your practice?


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31 thoughts on “How to Get Certified to Perform DOT Physicals”

    1. Dr. Dan Robinson

      How can I schedule to do a DOT physical class so that i’m Certified as a chiropractor to do these physicals??

  1. curtis atterbury PA-C

    do you have to find a testing site or can you take the test online after completing the course, if you have go to a test center how do you find one close to your home area

  2. I am a nurse practitioner working in occupational medicine and would like to get certified to perform DOT physicals. Please advise.

  3. After I pass the test how long does it take to get the Examiner Certification so the I can perform DOT physical exams?

  4. Could anyone let me know the cost of taking the exam to be able to be certified to do DOT physicals? Also is it due when I sign up to take the test? I’ve already got all the study material.

  5. Can you please send me a list of approved website’s to study for and take the DOT provider exam. Also, are NPs considered providers for FAA physical examination?
    Also, is the certification’s applicable to all states.


  6. Richard B Hartin

    I am physician who is getting out of ER Medicine and looking to be certified to be DOT provider.

  7. I do NOT want to do an online course. Is there a live class or course involving a classroom setting or face to face training?

  8. I am a prospective drivers. I was examined by a Chiropractor who tested my urine with a litmus strip to determine my blood glucose level. I had just eaten (not told BG would be checked) and I use Glipazide (which dumps excess sugars to the urine). I told him all this and was told (first) eating before would not make a difference and (second) that I’d failed with sugar levels above 2000.
    I know blood glucose is checked (with a meter) from the blood. BG should be tested while fasting. And, if my level had been over 300, I’d be comatose.
    My question: How can I have this person evaluated and possibly retrained?

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