The process of becoming an international medical professional is a long and complex journey, requiring at least three years of training and certification. To be eligible for the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certification, applicants must meet certain requirements. The ECFMG defines international medical graduates (IMG) as individuals who received their basic medical degree at a medical school located outside the United States and Canada. To be eligible for the ECFMG certification, applicants must submit an application for ECFMG certification, which confirms their intention to obtain the ECFMG certification and their understanding of the purpose of the certification program.
The ECFMG certification application consists of an online application and the identification certification form (form 18) that must be completed and notarized. To meet the medical science exam requirement to obtain the ECFMG certification, applicants must pass steps 1 and 2 of clinical knowledge (CK) of the USMLE. IMGs must have received credits for at least four credit years (academic years in which credit was granted to complete the medical curriculum) from a medical school listed in the World Directory with an ECFMG grade stating that they meet the ECFMG eligibility requirements. The ECFMG verifies each IMG medical school diploma with the appropriate officials of the medical school that issued the diploma and requests that the medical school provide the final medical school transcript. The time needed to complete the certification process varies from person to person. Both international medical students and graduates can begin the certification process and apply for the required exams as soon as they meet the eligibility requirements for the exam.
However, since one of the requirements for obtaining the ECFMG certification is for the ECFMG to verify the final medical diploma at the issuing medical school, an IMG cannot complete the certification process until after graduating from medical school. After obtaining their ECFMG certification, doctors who wish to practice medicine in the United States must complete an accredited residency training program in either the United States or Canada. Generally, you must complete 1 to 3 years of residence or years of practice outside of these countries before applying for a license. Every medical graduate must apply for a license in any state(s) in which they intend to practice. It is highly recommended that international medical graduates participate in an observatory rotation in a clinical setting before applying for a residency program. An observation program is designed to familiarize international medical graduates (IMG) with American medicine while they experience a residency program at a hospital.
Through its certification program, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) evaluates IMGs' preparation to enter residency programs or scholarships in the United States accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The 2024 American Medical Association Medical Student Promotion Conference (MAC) will be held March 7-8, 2024. Graduate medical education programs must obtain a visa. The process of becoming an international medical professional is complex and requires dedication and hard work. It is important to understand all of the requirements necessary to obtain an ECFMG certification and to be aware of any additional requirements needed to practice medicine in a particular state or country. International applicants should also take advantage of observation rotations and other resources available to them to increase their chances of success when applying for residency programs or scholarships.