For those who wish to graduate in Medicine from abroad, each country has its pros and cons in choosing a college. However, few are as complex as the United States of America. Do you want to know what it is like, how much it costs, and how long does it take to graduate in the USA? So pay attention to the next information.
HOW THE MEDICAL SCHOOL WORKS IN THE USA
To receive your professional recognition as a general practitioner – also called a physician-you to need a postgraduate degree, regardless of your first original undergraduate degree. However, American students and universities choose to make a Pre-Med School and then enter Medical School, where you actually learn medicine.
Before all this, both natives and foreigners must pass the American entrance exams: the famous SAT and ACT. Besides, foreigners also need to prove their English proficiency! Understand this path in the following step by step:
MEDICAL EXAM IN THE USA (SAT AND ACT)
To enter a higher education institution in the USA, it is necessary to pass 2 main standardized tests, known as ACT and SAT. Fortunately, both assessments can be made in Brazil, but each foreign university has its acceptance criteria for each one despite the similarities between them.
The vast majority of universities in the United States require you to take the ACT or the SAT. So that means you don’t have to do both. Generally speaking, they are designed to test the academic knowledge and skills that a student needs to succeed at university. The central themes are focused on grammar, reading comprehension, and high school math.
PROOFING YOUR ENGLISH
In addition to the entrance exam, it is a basic requirement among American universities that every foreigner must prove their English language proficiency. After all, it is no use being a genius here and not understanding what they are going to teach there, right … Only with these two certifications can the student apply for a Pre-Med School.
Although TOEFL is the most common exam in the USA, many universities also accept the IELTS certificate of proficiency. Besides, there is no exact minimum score for the acceptance tests. This is at the discretion of each university. So, if your grade is not good enough to apply for one institution, you can still use it to try others.
PRE-MEDICINE (PRE-MED SCHOOL)
Although there is no specific course called “pre-med,” it is the term used by university students enrolled in the institution to graduate from Medical School and become a “Doctor.” In other words, the Pre-Med School is just a university that predates the intended medical training.
There are 4 years of pre-med college, and, as a specific course is not necessary, the curriculum can be set according to the student’s preference. However, pre-med students need to include in their curriculum subjects essentially related to Medicine, such as Biology, Physics, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Mathematics.
As there is no specific course, the monthly fee for a Pre-med school can vary a lot, depending on the institution. It is not cheap and can range from $ 9,900 to $ 34,700 per annum.
EXAM TO ENTER THE MEDICAL GRADUATE PROGRAM (MCAT)
After four years of graduation, you don’t just enroll in medicine. It is still necessary to pass a test to enter the desired postgraduate course. In the case of Medicine, the test is called Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
The test, done directly on a computer, lasts approximately seven hours and charges essentially Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Psychology, writing, and critical thinking. The MCAT registration fee is the US $ 315.00, and you can receive a scholarship if you have a Green Card or US nationality.
WHAT IS THE PRICE AND HOW IS THE MEDICAL SCHOOL (MED SCHOOL)?
With the result of your MCAT, it is still necessary for the Med School to accept you. Therefore, there is still an interview between the test and its registration. Your entire curriculum makes a difference at this moment: volunteer work, research, academic performance, and all that attracts evaluating boards. If you succeed, there will be another four years of study. Now, from Medicine!
The annual cost of a Med School varies between the US $ 35 thousand and the US $ 52.5 thousand, without any scholarship for international students and with financing exclusively for American guarantors. It is not soft, no.
There are two years of study in the classroom and laboratory, complemented by two more years of clinical rotation in university hospitals, the so-called internship – “ internship ” in Brazil. All under the tutelage of qualified teachers. Besides, throughout this phase, all medical students must pass USMLE tests.
HOW THE MEDICAL LICENSE EXAMINATION (USMLE STEPS) WORKS
The so-called USMLE Steps are four medical qualification assessments that every professional in the field must perform to work in the United States – both native and foreign. At Med School, however, only three tests are required: Step 1; the Step 2 CK ( Clinical Knowledge, translating, clinical experience), which is a theoretical proof of clinical care; and Step 2 CS ( Clinical Skills, translating, Clinical Skills), which is the practice. All can be done at any time during graduate school.
As the last year of college is dedicated to internship, many choose to do Step 2 CK and CS at the end since the content charged is essentially about the skills of clinical experience. Only with the approval of the three exams can the student receive the title of Doctor of Medicine (MD) and work in hospitals or seek a specialization.
MEDICAL RESIDENCE IN THE USA (RESIDENCY)
After, or even during an internship, the student can seek a specialization in some area of Medicine. Each area has its curriculum and duration, but can generally range from three (such as Family Medicine) to seven years (such as Neurosurgery), with salaries (the US $ 45,000 per year ) not so satisfactory for the workload ( shifts from 4 pm to maximum 30h ).
The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) – affectionately nicknamed “The Match” – is the selection system used for a Medical Residency. It is designed to find a match between the Residency program and the doctor. All are based on the preferences of the applicant and the acceptance criteria of the institutions. With the grades of the USMLE Steps and the student’s profile enrolled in the system, the Match algorithm does all the work of finding an idle vacancy compatible with the individual’s conditions.
International students can also take a Medical Residency in the USA. However, a certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is required, and you must also complete the three USMLE Steps to apply. At the end of the Residency, both foreigners and native doctors must take the last USMLE exam, Step 3.
MEDICAL SUBSPECIALIZATION (FELLOWSHIP)
Similar to Residency, Fellowship is a more in-depth study that doctors can do within a specialty. The professional who participates in a Fellowship is called a fellow and works full time in his field, being tutored by another doctor certified in that study. At the end of the program, which lasts an average of three years, the fellow can act independently.
Find out how to stand out in a Medical Residence!
Whether native or gringo, a doctor who meets the bureaucratic and academic requirements of a Residency and/or Fellowship, can apply for recognition from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) – or the American Council of Medical Specialties – to act with the proper title of specialist. The requirements and procedures will vary according to the specialty, but it is an indispensable certificate to act in the area legally in the USA.
There are many possible paths after your medical training. If you want to return to your beloved homeland, you will need to take the diploma revalidation exam. It is also possible to return through the Mais Médicos program for those who want to make up for the lack of doctors in the interior of Brazil.
Regardless of your destiny being in a Brazilian university or abroad, the dedication to become a quality, the ethical professional is certain. Studies will demand maximum productivity, and psychological pressure will test your resilience.
Are you interested? Do you think it is worthwhile to get your medical degree in the United States? Do you know anyone on this adventure? Tell us!