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3 Tiers of Caribbean Medical Schools

When you’re researching Caribbean medical schools, remember that they’re not all of equal quality or graduate success. To help you rank them and decide what school is best for you, we grouped them in three tiers based on approvals and accreditations. Find out how they stack up.

Top-tier

  • American University of Antigua
  • American University of the Caribbean
  • Saba University
  • St. George’s University
  • Ross University

These are the schools you should seriously consider. We may be a little biased putting AUA at the top of the list but we are one of the best, quantifiably. AUA, St. George’s, and Ross are the only three Caribbean medical schools that have approval by the New York State Education Department and the Florida Department of Education, recognition from the Medical Board of California, and accreditation from CAAM-HP. They are also approved to participate in the U.S. Federal Direct Loan Program (sometimes referred to as Title-IV). These schools also have thousands of alumni in residency or practicing throughout the U.S. and Canada – another testament to the quality of their education.

Mid-tier

  • Avalon University
  • Medical University of the Americas
  • Spartan Health Sciences University
  • St. Matthews University
  • Xavier University

These medical schools have at least an accreditation or approval. MUA is New York approved and has Title-IV. However, St. Matthews is disapproved by the Medical Board of California but has New York approval. MUA and St. Matthews in particular have many graduates throughout the U.S. and Canada. Spartan and Xavier have provisional CAAM-HP accreditation.

Bottom-tier

  • American University of Barbados
  • Aureus University
  • Caribbean Medical University
  • Trinity School of Medicine
  • University of Health Sciences Antigua
  • Windsor University

These schools have no state approvals or CAAM-HP accreditation and low residency placement rates. There are many more that aren’t included on this list because that would take up way too much space.

If any of these schools are not listed in the top or middle tiers, it is best to do more research. The three hard metrics to look out for while determining the quality of the institution are:

1) Residency Performance

It’s no secret that obtaining a residency is strongly tied to the student’s academic performance. An overall high residency performance is an indicator of the quality of the Caribbean medical school’s medical program, and the effort they put into their students.

2) Accreditation

Accreditation is the key indicator of the institution’s legitimacy and education quality. The most important ones to look out for are:

  1. CAAM-HP
  2. ACCM
  3. WFME/FAIMER
  4. New York State Department Approval
  5. Florida Department of Education Approval
  6. Medical Board of California Recognition
  7. U.S. Department of Education Recognition

3) USMLE Step 1 first-time pass rate

Although USMLE Step 1 will be a pass/fail exam starting January 2022, the first-time pass rate is still an important metric to take into consideration when looking at a Caribbean medical school. Failing the USMLE even once can potentially set you back when applying for competitive residencies or sought-after specialties, so it’s important to ensure that you’re in the hands of an institution that fully prepares its students for this exam.

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