Stethoscope beside books and pen on table

International Medical Graduate of a Caribbean Medical University: Your Next Steps

Once you have attained your Caribbean medical degree, the next leg of your journey will begin. As an International Medical Graduate (IMG), you will need to take several steps in order to become a practicing doctor. Use the following information as your guide to navigating the path that lies ahead of you.

Before you even apply to a medical university in the Caribbean, consider this: Unless your medical diploma is from an institution that is registered in the World Directory of Medical Schools (World Directory), you will not be able to get approved for a residency in the U.S. That means you will not be able to get a medical license in the U.S., so be sure to check that detail before you fill out an application. 


What to Do After You Get Your Caribbean Medical Degree

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the actions you must take to qualify for a residency match. You should be aware of this information long before you graduate, so you will know exactly what you must do to get a residency.
  • ECFMG Certification – First, you must complete certification for the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). You do this by passing all of the steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). The steps prior to residency are as follows: Step 1: Register with the ECFMG, and pass Step 1 of the USMLE. The first step covers scientific principles, such as anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology. Step 2: Pass the clinical knowledge (CK) portion of the exam. Step 3: Pass the clinical skills (CS) phase of the USMLE. All of these phases will test you on the knowledge you acquired at medical school. 
  • Residency Match – After you have passed the mandatory three steps of the USMLE, you can apply for a residency match. This is done via the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP, also referred to as “the Match”). Keep in mind that to be eligible for participation in the NRMP, IMGs must have ECFMG certification. You will first register with the NRMP by way of an electronic residency application service (ERAS). Go to the NRMP website, and click on the links below the “How a Match Works” tab for detailed information. 
  • After Residency – When you are approved for a residency match, you will then spend three to eight years in residency training. After one year of internship in the state you plan to practice in, you can apply for a state medical license to practice unsupervised. Once your residency training is complete, you may apply for physician board certification, which is required for advanced training for a specialty. Board certification is also a requirement of many employers.  

Congratulations on Choosing a Caribbean Medical Education!

You will work hard to receive your degree, and it will be well worth the effort. By choosing to study at WUSOM, you will benefit from being in a spectacular environment. While you work to achieve your goals, you will enjoy an unforgettable learning experience. Whether you apply from Calgary, Houston, or Schaumberg, the journey ahead is sure to be an exciting one. 


Reach us today to learn more about pursuing a Caribbean medical education, as well as a U.S. residency program.
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