From Dreaming to Practicing: The Journey of Pursuing Medical PG in the USA

Jan 24, 2024 5 min read
Pursuing Medical PG in USA

Key Takeaways

  • USA invited global doctors to pursue medical PG and practice medical residency in the country. 
  • To be able to achieve this, international medical graduates must clear the USMLE exam, which is a 3-step exam. 
  • After the USMLE, doctors can do residency in their preferred university, and even get a job and a visa later.  

Embarking on a medical postgraduate (PG) journey in the United States is not just a career move; it's an adventure filled with exclusive benefits and opportunities. While the USA is already an attractive destination for students and professionals, the world of medicine offers a unique path for global doctors to thrive. So, whether you're a medical student with dreams of donning a white coat or a seasoned graduate aiming for new horizons, let's dive into the exciting realm of pursuing a medical PG in the USA!

Picture this: The land of opportunity, where world-class education meets cutting-edge medical practices. The USA beckons, extending its arms to passionate individuals eager to carve out a niche in the healthcare landscape. In this blog, we'll unravel the A-Z of the entire process – from dreaming about medical PG to crafting a stellar medical career across the Atlantic! So, fasten your seatbelts, aspiring doctors; we're about to embark on a journey that could shape the rest of your professional life!

Table of Contents

  • Why Choose the USA? 
    • Quality of Medical Education 
    • Diverse Clinical Experience 
    • Research Opportunities 
    • Networking and Collaboration 
    • Global Recognition
  • Who is Eligible to do Medical PG in the USA? 
  • Steps Involved 
    • 1. Create a USMLE/ECFMG ID via IWA (International Credentials) 
    • 2. USMLE Step 1 
    • 3. USMLE Step 2 
    • 4. Residency (PG) 
    • 5. USMLE Step 3 (1st Year, USA) 
  • What Next? 
    • Board Certification 
    • Fellowship Training 
    • Academic Medicine 
    • Private Practice 
    • Hospital Employment 
    • Locum Tenens 
    • Administration and Leadership 
    • Global Health Opportunities 
    • Health IT and Consulting 
    • Entrepreneurship 
  • How Can Academically Help? 
  • Conclusion 
  • FAQs 

Why Choose the USA?

Choosing the USA for a medical postgraduate (PG) education offers several advantages, including the following- 

Quality of Medical Education

The United States is home to some of the world's leading medical institutions, renowned for their high-quality education, research, and clinical training. Pursuing a medical PG in the USA provides exposure to advanced medical practices and cutting-edge research.

Diverse Clinical Experience

The U.S. healthcare system is diverse, with a myriad of medical specialties. Training in the USA allows medical professionals to gain exposure to a broad spectrum of clinical cases and enhance their clinical skills.

Research Opportunities

The USA is a global hub for medical research, offering numerous opportunities for individuals interested in contributing to advancements in medicine. Many institutions encourage residents and fellows to engage in research projects.

Networking and Collaboration

Being part of the U.S. medical community provides opportunities to network with professionals, attend conferences, and collaborate with experts in various medical fields. This can be beneficial for career development and staying updated on the latest medical advancements.

Global Recognition

A medical PG from the USA can open doors to career opportunities in various countries. The prestige associated with U.S. medical education can contribute to a strong professional reputation.

Overall, medical post-graduation in the USA is the beginning of outstanding career prospects for global doctors. Walking on the right path may even help you get a well-paying job and residency in the US, bestowing you with an unparalleled quality of life. 

Who is Eligible to do Medical PG in the USA?

While pursuing a medical PG in America might be a dream for many, a person with the following prerequisites can only realise this dream- 
A person who has completed a medical degree (MD or equivalent) from a medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS) or approved by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

  • Someone who has successfully completed all three steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE):
    • Step 1
    • Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge)
    • Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills)
  • Medical graduate who has obtained the certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). This involves passing the USMLE exams and completing the necessary paperwork.
  • An IMG with a J-1 visa, which requires sponsorship by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). 
  • Someone who has demonstrated proficiency in English through IELTS, TOEFL or any other accepted English language test. 

Steps Involved

Pursuing residency or a medical postgraduate (PG) program in the USA involves several steps, and the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) plays a crucial role in this process. Here's an elaboration on each step. 

Create a USMLE/ECFMG ID via IWA (International Credentials)

The process begins by creating an account on the Interactive Web Applications (IWA) portal of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). This is where international medical graduates (IMGs) start the process of certification to participate in the USMLE.

USMLE Step 1

The USMLE Step 1 is a computer-based examination that assesses an individual's understanding and ability to apply important concepts in medical science.

It focuses on topics relevant to medical practice, including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and more. Scoring well on Step 1 is crucial, as it often plays a significant role in residency program selection.

USMLE Step 2

USMLE Step 2 is divided into two parts: Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Clinical Skills (CS).

Step 2 CK assesses the medical knowledge and understanding of clinical science necessary for the provision of patient care. Step 2 CS evaluates clinical skills, like gathering information from patients, performing physical examinations, and communicating findings to patients and colleagues.

Residency (PG)

After successfully completing Steps 1 and 2, international medical graduates can apply for residency positions in the USA. The application process involves submitting documents, including letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a curriculum vitae, through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Residency programs participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), where applicants and programs submit their preferences, and a computer algorithm matches them.

USMLE Step 3 (1st Year, USA)

Step 3 is the final examination in the USMLE sequence. Typically taken during the first year of postgraduate training (residency), Step 3 assesses a doctor’s ability to utilise medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science in varied environments. The exam includes multiple-choice questions and computer-based case simulations.

What Next?

Completing residency in the USA is a significant milestone in a medical career. The prospects after completing residency can vary depending on several factors, including your chosen specialty, location, and personal career goals. Here are some possible options a doctor in the USA can choose to pursue. 

Board Certification

Many physicians pursue board certification in their chosen specialty after completing residency. This involves passing an examination specific to the field of practice and is often considered a marker of expertise and competence.

Fellowship Training

Some physicians choose to undergo fellowship training to further specialise in a particular subspecialty within their field. Fellowships can enhance clinical skills and provide opportunities for research.

Academic Medicine

If you have an interest in teaching and research, you might explore opportunities in academic medicine. This can involve working in a university hospital, conducting research, and training medical students and residents.

Private Practice

Many physicians choose to enter private practice, either as solo practitioners or as part of a group. This allows for a more independent practice, and income potential can vary depending on the specialty and location.

Hospital Employment

Some physicians prefer to work as hospital employees. This may involve being part of a hospitalist group or working within a healthcare system.

Locum Tenens

Locum tenens work involves providing temporary medical services to fill in for other physicians, often in different locations. It is a kind of freelance job that can offer flexibility and diverse experiences.

Administration and Leadership

Physicians may also pursue roles in healthcare administration and leadership, such as becoming a medical director or holding an executive position within a healthcare organisation.

Global Health Opportunities

Opportunities for international medical work or involvement in global health initiatives may also be available for physicians interested in contributing to healthcare on a global scale.

Health IT and Consulting

Some physicians transition into roles within health information technology (IT) or consulting, leveraging their clinical expertise in non-traditional healthcare roles.

Entrepreneurship

With the right skills and mindset, some physicians choose to start their healthcare-related businesses or engage in entrepreneurial ventures, such as medical startups or consulting.

Overall, completing your residency in the USA can help you acquire a good job with sumptuous pay and an extravagant lifestyle. A few years down the road, you can acquire a permanent residency and live the life of your dreams in the US. 

How Can Academically Help?

Academically is an online education platform that assists global medical graduates or students in USMLE preparation. Our exclusive course is designed to equip aspirants with the knowledge and skills required to crack USMLE. From the resources required to guidance on the steps involved, we offer a comprehensive package to global medicos. 

With tailored guidance and coaching and expert tips and tricks from the experts, we ensure students get everything they need to ensure success. Our faculty includes world-class educators and doctors who have cleared the USMLE. 

All in all, our course is enough for global doctors or medical students who aspire to pursue residency and medical PG in the USA. 

Conclusion

Completing a medical PG in the USA is a huge value addition to your life and career and is something which is attainable for global doctors. All you require is the right guidance and support to help you make efforts in the right direction. 

However, it is suggested that you start preparing for USMLE right while you begin with your medical graduation studies. This will help you set up the base and acquire the knowledge and skills required to crack USMLE and pursue residency in the US without wasting time. 

Get in touch with Academically today to kickstart your journey! 

FAQs

Q. How long is the medical PG course in the US?

Ans. The medical PG in the US lasts from 4 to 6 years, depending upon your specialisation and sub-specialisation. 

Q. Is Indian MBBS accepted in the US?

Ans. Doctors can undertake medical PG in the USA after completing MBBS in India, given they have cleared the USMLE. 

Q. How can I become a registered doctor in the USA?

Ans. To become a registered doctor in the USA, you need to complete medical PG from the USA by clearing USMLE steps 1, 2 and 3. 

Q. Can global doctors work in the USA without taking USMLE?

Ans. No, it is mandatory for global doctors to clear USMLE to be able to practise medicine in the US. 

Sheenu Sharma
Sheenu Sharma
about the author

Sheenu Sharma is a seasoned writer with several years of experience curating content in the EdTech and healthcare sectors. She believes in delivering information and facts to the readers by crafting compelling stories. Through the platform of Academically, she aims to help global healthcare professionals in their career aspirations and dreams!