Medical Schools in the Caribbean
Competition for medical schools in the United States is tough. Applicants need to have a stellar undergraduate record, great MCAT scores, and a convincing personal statement to really make schools take notice of their applications. Not surprisingly, not all applicants are admitted.
That’s why many med school hopefuls are turning to schools outside of the US – notably in the Caribbean. Read on to find out all about it.
How Legitimate are Degrees from Caribbean Med Schools?
The status of Caribbean med schools has risen greatly in the past decade, as people have come to see good medical programs in the Caribbean as effective alternatives to packed US programs. Many graduates of Caribbean medical schools have gone on to receive residencies and work in the United States. When looking at a Caribbean medical school, be sure to find out about the school’s accreditation – what accreditation does it have, from what agencies, and is this accreditation recognized by the areas in the US where you would like to do your residency and eventually practice? Caribbean schools can be an excellent option for medical students however the quality of schools and programs varies greatly. Do your research before packing up for the first school you hear from.
Medical School Abroad: Taking the USMLE
After their second year of medical school, medical students who study abroad and wish to practice in the United States must take the Step 1 (clinical knowledge) of the United States Licensing Exam or USMLE. This rigorous exam tests what you have learned thus far and ensures that the education you are receiving in the Caribbean is up to US medical practice standards. If the USMLE is successfully passed, students generally go to the US for clinical rotations. In most cases, Caribbean medical schools send their students to clinical training at specified US hospitals with which they have written agreements. Students must also later pass the USMLE Step 1 (clinical practice). Asking about a Caribbean medical school’s USMLE pass rate is a good way to judge the calibre of the program.
Transitioning to Work in the US
After completing a Caribbean medical school program, graduates intending to work in the US must undertake a residency in the States.
Students who have attended a well-established Caribbean school, successfully passed the USMLE Steps 1 and 2, and have good letters of recommendation should be able to obtain a residency position in the US.
The number of Caribbean students obtaining positions in competitive residency programs in the US has risen in past years, and continues to increase. Finally, to practice in the US, graduates of Caribbean medical schools must obtain certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduate and Graduate Medical Education Programs.
This is done by graduating from an accredited recognized school and passing the USMLE Steps 1 and 2.