How Can Foreign Medical Graduates and Doctors Practice in the US?

Finding work abroad is a major trend these days, thanks to globalization. Many professions offer these awesome opportunities to travel and make money at the same time. However, the medical field is not necessarily one of them. For foreign medical graduates and doctors, the road is not always simple.

But it’s worth it!

How can foreign Doctors practice in the US? In most cases, a foreign medical graduate (FMG) must take additional courses to practice in the United States. These are courses not taken by overseas medical students.

Why? It takes years of clinical hours and coursework to complete the educational requirements for practicing medicine in the US. If you earned your medical degree in a foreign country, you must complete additional hours on top of your degree to meet those requirements.

Most FMGs must also pass a few US medical licensing exams, such as the USMLEs. You must also pass the USMLE exams to participate in a residency or fellowship for foreign doctors in the USA.

All of these requirements must be met by physicians practicing in other countries who want to practice medicine in America. These are also the requirements to participate in residency programs for foreign medical graduates and a fellowship for foreign doctors in the USA.


It All Begins with Pre-Med Education

Are you a medical student who wants to become a practicing physician in the United States? Well, your first step is to earn your college degree. To qualify for US medical schools, it must include no less than three years of pre-medical education.

Try to find a pre-med program. Most offer a curriculum that ensures you take the courses needed to make it into med school. If not, a bachelor’s degree in biology or chemistry should give you what you need.

Why Does the US Require Additional Education for Foreign Medical Students & Doctors?

Physicians practicing in America must go through a medical licensing process that holds them to very high-quality standards. The US medical industry must confirm that foreign doctors go through the same educational training and testing as American physicians.

Foreign physicians wishing to practice medicine must also:

    • Prepare to pass the US Medical Licensing Exams (USMLEs)
    • Get certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign-Trained Medical Graduates
    • Enroll in and apply to and complete residency programs for foreign medical graduates
    • Take and pass a third US medical licensing exam
    • Speak and understand English fluently
    • Have a basic understanding of the field of science
    • Understand the core requirements set by accredited US colleges and universities

What Are the Core Course Requirements to Practice Medicine in the US?

Whether you participate in a pre-med program or attend a college that doesn’t offer one, these are the core courses you must take:

    • Chemistry Intro
    • Molecular & Cell Biology
    • General Biology
    • Physics
    • Calculus
    • College Algebra
    • Anatomy & Physiology
    • Principles of Genetics
    • Biochemistry
    • Research Writing
    • Epidemiology
    • Human Embryology

Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates

Any FMG who wants to become a practicing physician in the US must meet the requirements set by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). The following are required before participating in a residency or fellowship for foreign doctors in the USA:

    • Complete all missing medical education requirements
    • Pass the required US medical licensing exams
    • Must go through residency programs for foreign medical graduates
    • Must obtain final certification from ECFMG

US Medical Licensing Exam Requirements

How can foreign doctors practice in the US? These are the US medical exam requirements for any for foreign medical graduates and practicing physicians to obtain ECFMG Certification:

    1. Medical Science Requirements – You must pass both the USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge

Once you pass all three of these US medical licensing exams, you’re eligible for ECFMG certification. You don’t have to wait until you graduate from medical school to apply. Feel free to apply as a med student. However, you won’t receive confirmation until you provide graduation confirmation.

After you received ECFMG certification, you can begin your residency in the US. But be sure to apply for your residency long before graduation and certification. The application process may take some time.

Is It Hard for Foreign Medical Graduates and Physicians to Pass the USMLEs?

Many medical students and graduates have failed the USMLEs for various reasons. Some find these US medical exams difficult to pass. This may be due to inadequate teaching or bad learning skills. Either way, some people need help to pass the USMLEs.

If you’re worried about passing your exam, there is help for you. USMLE test preparation is the perfect way to help you review what you learned in medical school. There are test prep courses, tutoring services, and mock exams that help you prepare to pass your test.

Join the MedSmarter Family in the Atlanta, Georgia area to get the resources you need for passing US licensing exams. Our licensed healthcare professionals are skilled at helping foreign medical graduates and overseas physicians get high scores on these tests.

How can foreign doctors practice in the US? You must pass the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK to participate in residency programs for foreign medical graduates. Passing all three is also required to take part in a fellowship for foreign doctors in the USA.

Let MedSmarter Atlanta help you pass with in-person, live USMLE courses, 1:1 tutoring, and mock exams. One-on-One USMLE tutoring is offered online via video conferencing or on our Suwanee, GA campus. 

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