International Medical Graduate (IMG) Residency Programs
IMGs who want to practice medicine in the United States can do so through residency programs. These three-year training experiences are offered by hospitals and clinics known for providing quality care.
Getting into these programs can be more difficult for international medical graduates (IMGs), even if they have US citizenship or permanent residence* at the time of graduation. This is why it’s crucial to strategically choose residency programs that are friendly toward IMGs.
An International Medical Graduate (IMG) is a physician who graduated from a basic medical degree program in an accredited institution outside of the United States and Canada. The location/accreditation of the medical school, not the citizenship of the graduate, is considered the key factor to determine whether a physician is an IMG or not.
For IMGs who do not have US citizenship/permanent residence, matching to residency programs can be even more difficult. This is because the whole matching process is based on visa requirements, and non-US IMGs are subject to a different set of visa regulations and restrictions.
As such, it’s important to do your research before sending out applications. This includes researching individual programs to find those with a history of matching large numbers of IMGs, including both U.S. and non-US citizens. It’s also crucial to research a program’s track record in interviewing IMGs. Many programs advertise that they accept IMGs and sponsor visas, but NRMP reports show that only 17 percent of programs interviewed U.S.-citizen IMGs and 32 percent of non-US IMGs.
USMLE Step Scores
If you are an international medical graduate (IMG) seeking residency in the US, you may be wondering how to boost your chances of being accepted. Aside from taking the necessary steps to meet ERAS or CaRMS eligibility requirements, a number of things can help you stand out as an applicant.
One of these things is your USMLE Step Score. This is a crucial part of the ERAS process, and it can be used to match you with programs that accept incoming IMGs.
The USMLE Step 1 scores vary widely from program to program, but a good way to figure out how much you need to aim for is to think about your goals and what type of specialty you want to be in.
If you’re aiming for an orthopedic surgery specialty at a competitive academic center, you’ll want to aim for a high Step 1 score. However, if you’re aiming for a more community-based program in a less competitive specialty, you’ll probably be better off with a low Step 1 score.
Letters of Recommendation
If you’re an international medical graduate (IMG), you know how tough it can be to match into residency programs in the U.S. Whether you’re a US citizen or non-US citizen, your ability to overcome biases against IMG applicants will depend on the quality of your application materials.
In addition to a well-crafted personal statement, residency programs also seek letters of recommendation that provide a holistic view of your strengths and qualifications. Letter writers should speak to how your education abroad has prepared you to excel in the United States, and why you’d be a good fit at a particular program.
Having multiple letters of recommendation from different people helps you demonstrate a diverse array of experiences, skills, and qualities that will help you stand out as an applicant. However, it’s important to avoid sending letters from people who are flaky or unresponsive to your emails and requests for meetings.
Clinical experience is an important part of the medical school curriculum. It helps students understand the importance of teamwork in the healthcare industry and gives them real-world examples of how to work with others effectively.
There are many ways to gain clinical experience, including volunteering at nursing homes and hospitals, participating in clinical research studies, and more. It is also a great way to determine which specialty you are most passionate about and can see yourself working in full-time once you graduate.
It is also a good idea to start shadowing a health professional during their workday so you can get a better understanding of the job and how it flows. This can be a low-risk way to begin gaining your clinical experience and can help you build connections with your potential mentors and supervisors.
IMG Residency Programs often require a letter of recommendation from a US faculty member. These letters can help allay some of the concerns that program directors have about IMGs working in the U.S. They can also attest to your language skills and cultural fluency in the United States.