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Becoming a Clinical Preceptor

The Mission of the college is to prepare globally-minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations and promote research to improve human health.

VCOM Clinical Preceptors are faculty members in the Department of Clinical Affairs. On each VCOM campus, the Department of Clinical Affairs is led by the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.  Clinical Discipline Chairs in each core discipline help ensure the provision of a high caliber clinical education and are involved in the development and delivery of curriculum in the OMS 1 - 4 years. In order to ensure a high quality, standardized clinical rotation curriculum, the Associate Dean works with the Clinical Discipline Chairs to develop the clinical curriculum which includes clerkship objectives, required textbooks, clinical cases, supplemental instructional videos, and an end of rotation written exam. This standardized curriculum ensures that all students, regardless of the geographic location of their clinical rotation, will have completed the same clinical objectives and didactic lessons. Additional support for clinical education is provided at each site by the Director of Student Medical Education and Site Coordinator. Each campus also employs a Director of 3rd year Clinical Rotations, a Director of 4th Year Clinical Rotations and a Clinical Assessment Coordinator.  The academic and administrative support provided by the Department of Clinical Affairs, coupled with a well-established didactic curriculum, ensures that all precepting clinical faculty are free to focus on bedside clinical teaching rather than having to develop an individual curriculum or didactic components at their clinical site.

The Discipline Chairs in the Department of Clinical Affairs monitor the clinical education and experiences students encounter and meet with the core clinical faculty in their discipline annually to share student feedback and educational outcomes and to provide the clinical faculty member the opportunity to make suggestions to improve the curriculum, the rotation experience, and the preparedness of students as a whole.

Benefits of Becoming a VCOM Clinical Faculty Member

In addition to the intrinsic rewards that come with medical student precepting, clinical faculty receive numerous additional benefits.  All VCOM clinical faculty receive an academic appointment with the College at an academic rank commensurate with experience, access to the VCOM electronic library, and a monetary stipend for precepting VCOM students on required clinical rotations (paid to you directly or through the medical education department of your hospital). VCOM’s Discipline Chairs also support clinical faculty through the provision of faculty development and CME opportunities.

Faculty Classification

VCOM Preceptors for core rotations are appointed as Clinical Track Faculty.  Clinical track faculty are those faculty who teach under a contractual services agreement with VCOM, rather than an employment contract, and who teach VCOM students in the clinical setting only. While these faculty provide dedicated time to the teaching of VCOM students, their primary duties are clinical practice for the clinical employer.   Instead of an employment contract, these faculty generally hold:

  1. A contractual agreement for teaching services between the faculty member and VCOM; whereby, the faculty member is paid according to teaching time or services performed in the clinical setting on an annual basis (paid for services provided); or
  2. A contractual agreement with a VCOM affiliated academic health center or medical group that teaches VCOM students in the clinical setting while working for the employer, where the agreement outlines that VCOM must pay the clinical entity for the faculty member’s duties and the faculty member is to be paid by the employer.

 For appointment or advancement in rank, clinical track faculty’s teaching and service accomplishments outweigh their accomplishments in research and scholarly activity; however, while research may not be a significant part of their employment, scholarly activity remains an expectation.  The appointment process for clinical track faculty considers clinical teaching performance, clinical expertise, and accomplishment in the clinical realm.  Scholarly activity for clinical track faculty often consists of case reports but may include research on clinical instruction or clinically-based research.  Service considerations may include clinical service, professional service, or service-based activities related to community health.  The current involvement and benefit for students from the College is considered rather than direct service to the College.  However, to advance to the rank of professor, clinical track faculty must demonstrate sustained outstanding performance in teaching, service, and scholarly activity.  Clinical track faculty who no longer hold active board certification are not eligible for promotion in rank through the clinical track. 

Temporary Appointment Status

Physicians who are seeking appointment as clinical faculty may be granted a temporary initial appointment by the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs until the application for initial appointment is complete and voted on by the APT Committee.  However, candidates should be encouraged to submit their initial appointment applications to the APT in a timely manner so that they may be considered by the APT Committee without the need for temporary appointment.  Temporary appointment is a six-month time-limited appointment and is granted upon condition of a fully executed affiliation agreement with the institution in which the physician practices or with the individual physician, and the candidate having an active and unrestricted medical license and active board certification or board eligibility. This temporary status allows the candidate to precept students while awaiting the completion of the appointment process.

Appointment Re-Credentialing Process

All clinical track faculty will undergo appointment re-credentialing five years following their date of initial appointment and every five years thereafter.  During the re-credentialing process, preceptors must provide a current CV, proof of board certification or board eligibility, and proof of an active, unrestricted medical license. 

Becoming a Clinical Preceptor

Those interested in clinical faculty appointment must be referred to VCOM through VCOM’s Associate Dean, Clinical Discipline Chair, or Director of Student Medical Education. Faculty are encouraged to contact their regional site coordinator to submit all documentation on their behalf. If unsure who your site coordinator contact is, you may contact the appropriate Administrative Assistant listed below for assistance.


Interested physicians are required to submit the following documents:

  1. Clinical Faculty Application Coversheet

    Auburn Campus Clinical Faculty Application Coversheet (PDF)

    Carolinas Campus Clinical Faculty Application Coversheet (PDF)

    Louisiana Campus Clinical Faculty Application Coversheet (PDF)

    Virginia Campus Clinical Faculty Application Coversheet (PDF)

  2. Current Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  3. Proof of degree
  4. Proof of post-graduate training
  5. Proof of Board Certification or board eligibility
  6. Proof of a current medical license in the state in which they practice with no sanctions

 To expedite the process, please submit all documents together; incomplete submissions cannot be processed.

Upon receipt of the above items, a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) will be obtained from a VCOM Discipline Chair or Director of Student Medical Education (DSME) to complete the appointment application.

Once a complete application is received by VCOM, materials will be presented to the Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee (APT) for review. If appointment is granted by the APT Committee, the applicant will receive a standard preceptor contract and appointment letter detailing the actions of the Committee.