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When Should I Move to the US?

jessica930

Lurker
I am an Australian high school student interested in eventually moving to the US to practice medicine (with no plans of coming back if I do). When would be the best time to do this? For undergrad, med school or residency?

I am interested in practicing medicine in the US because the residency training is quicker, and I'm attracted to the prestige of American institutes and residencies, and have aspirations of becoming an academic clinician-researcher. I have the impression that the United States has more opportunities for clinician-scientists and doctors looking for academic/research positions. I also want to immigrate to the US in general (bigger country, more people compared to Australia, I have a desire to "swim in a bigger pond" so to speak). I have no family there. Are these good enough reasons, or should I stay in Australia forever?

I am interested in doing an MD/PhD, and am also interested in surgical subspecialties. I am aware residencies, especially for surgical specialties, are very competitive for FMGs. However, I work incredibly hard and am extremely self-motivated and ambitious, and am more than willing to persevere for many many years to achieve my goals.

One the one hand, it seems like medical schools in the United States are much more expensive than Australian medical schools, and it is extremely difficult for international applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States to gain admission to US medical schools. Does this still apply even if they did undergraduate studies in the US? In regards to student debt, is it always possible to pay it back when I'm making more money, or would that be a very big hindrance to studying medicine in the US? Furthermore, what are the chances that I can become a permanent resident in the United States during four years of undergraduate studies? Slim to none (would I have to marry an American or something haha)? What about getting a visa to study in medical school? In addition, from what I have gathered, studying for USMLE (and perhaps MCAT as well) is easier for students in the US as their curriculum is more relevant to the exam than Australia's.

On the other hand, it seems like it is much harder for FMGs to get into residencies (for competitive specialties and/or top programs) compared to US MD graduates.

So in conclusion, I am unsure as to whether I should be aiming to move to the US for undergraduate, medical school or residency. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks so much!
 

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lordgarlic

MSO Kiwi #1
Emeritus Staff
Wow where do I even start..... I think the phrase learn to walk before your run immediately comes to my mind

While highly aspirational I think that there are many many layers you need to consider

It isn’t just a simple matter of saying I want to work in X

There are going to be immigration and visa issues if you aren’t an United States citizen. Do you have access to a green card? Or other various things to do with that to ensure you can work and study there. Have you researched how much your fees will be if you study there as an IMG? (Clue, domestic graduates in the US can have upwards of 200k of debt at graduation)

Just because you move to the US it doesn’t mean medicine or research is any better. In fact you’re insinuating what we do here pales in comparison!

I think as a high school student while it’s nice to have a plan, it is more important to think about researching if it is even feasible. No one can ever tell you if your personal reasons are good or not. They are personal reasons.

Most of these questions I think you need to research yourself at the end of the day
 
Moreover US has only postgraduate medicine so you have to do a bachelors/ college before applying for medicine. Even though they have a larger pool of medical universities, it is not any easier to secure a place at a given uni. Not to mention that you need to have citizenship because if I'm not wrong then in the past few years only couple 100 of international students were enrolled all across the states.
 

Ian Naga

Lurker
I am an Australian high school student interested in eventually moving to the US to practice medicine (with no plans of coming back if I do). When would be the best time to do this? For undergrad, med school or residency?

I am interested in practicing medicine in the US because the residency training is quicker, and I'm attracted to the prestige of American institutes and residencies, and have aspirations of becoming an academic clinician-researcher. I have the impression that the United States has more opportunities for clinician-scientists and doctors looking for academic/research positions. I also want to immigrate to the US in general (bigger country, more people compared to Australia, I have a desire to "swim in a bigger pond" so to speak). I have no family there. Are these good enough reasons, or should I stay in Australia forever?

I am interested in doing an MD/PhD, and am also interested in surgical subspecialties. I am aware residencies, especially for surgical specialties, are very competitive for FMGs. However, I work incredibly hard and am extremely self-motivated and ambitious, and am more than willing to persevere for many many years to achieve my goals.

One the one hand, it seems like medical schools in the United States are much more expensive than Australian medical schools, and it is extremely difficult for international applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States to gain admission to US medical schools. Does this still apply even if they did undergraduate studies in the US? In regards to student debt, is it always possible to pay it back when I'm making more money, or would that be a very big hindrance to studying medicine in the US? Furthermore, what are the chances that I can become a permanent resident in the United States during four years of undergraduate studies? Slim to none (would I have to marry an American or something haha)? What about getting a visa to study in medical school? In addition, from what I have gathered, studying for USMLE (and perhaps MCAT as well) is easier for students in the US as their curriculum is more relevant to the exam than Australia's.

On the other hand, it seems like it is much harder for FMGs to get into residencies (for competitive specialties and/or top programs) compared to US MD graduates.

So in conclusion, I am unsure as to whether I should be aiming to move to the US for undergraduate, medical school or residency. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks so much!

I would recommend getting your undergraduate medicine degree here (MBBS or MD). While you are in medical school, do USMLE step 1 and Step 2. Usually you will have to score very high in Step 1 and Step 2 CS. But recently, I heard that they are making Step 1 as Pass or Fail (not percentile as it is currently) with a plan to do the same for Step 2 a few years later. Which means, you have to work extra hard to land a residency position (a lot of networking would be needed) as it is harder for you to prove you are better than other candidates. And landing a residency position in prestigious centre like Mayo clinic would be even harder. Before, when step 1 was purely percentile, if you had top results (>90 percentile), it was not too difficult. If you can get a high percentile in Step 2 (>95%), you will have a good chance. For IMGs, ECFMG is the organisation that conducts credential verification and you would need to liaise with them to take the USMLE exams. They have stats showing how many residency positions got filled by American graduates and IMGs.

I suggest doing your electives in America.

If you wish to explore the option of studying in America straight from high school, there are quite a few schools that offer admission to school leavers. It is usually 6 years duration (like our provisional entry medicine) and a LOT expensive.

e.g:
There are many more. If you google, you will see them but one thing that is common is the fees (very expensive!).

There are numerous conditions like sitting (and obtaining high scores in) SAT/ACT. Remember, Americans do their SATs when they are in Year 11 normally. They start their application very early like Sept previous year for following Sept entry. Also, their applications are holistic and you need to supply references, do a lot of volunteer hours, etc. There is a new school in California that offers direct entry to high school students and supposed to be less competitive. Best wishes.

Update:
IMHO, visa is the least of your problem. Thousands of IMGs gain residency in the US every year and the schools help to get the visa.
Also E3 visa might be available for Australians.

have a look here:

Admissions and Benefits

  • All graduates from medical schools outside the U.S. and Canada must be certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) to qualify for admission. Information about certification and visa sponsorship, if required, is available from the ECFMG website.
  • Mayo Clinic supports ECFMG J-1 visa sponsorship for residents and fellows enrolled in graduate medical education. Applicants must refer to the specific program websiteto confirm if the program meets all requirements for ECFMG J-1 visa certification. Mayo Clinic may also support an H-1B temporary work visa under the following circumstances:
    • J-1 visa sponsorship is unavailable (the program is either not eligible for ECFMG certification or non-ACGME accredited and non-ABMS recognized).
    • A foreign national is a U.S. medical or dental school graduate or holds current H-1B status for graduate medical education at another school.
    • To enable recruitment that fits Mayo's strategic priorities.
    • H-1B eligibility requirements include:
      • Successful completion of USMLE Steps 1, 2CK, 2CS and 3 at time of appointment
      • Eligibility for appropriate state medical licensure (Arizona, Florida, Minnesota)
      • Program completion within six-year H1-B time limit
      • Is not subject to the two-year home return requirement (current J-1 visa holders are not eligible)
 
Last edited:

Maddy20

Lurker
Hello,

I have been looking for a post like this for confirmation but havent been able to search much. Was wondering whether FRACGP via limited registration pathway is acceptable in USA? I have 12 years overseas experience and 3 years experience here n Australia with FRACGP. Are we exempted from taking USMLEs and just do US accredited training or there is more to it? Thanks in advance
 

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