In contrast to India, medical degrees in the USA are only offered at the post-graduate level. Therefore, before applying to medical school, you must complete at least three to four years of ‘pre-med’ undergraduate studies with classes in biology, chemistry, physics, and English. You will then be required to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test).

Following this, you must complete an additional four years of coursework to earn either a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) or a Doctor of Medicine (DM). You must then decide on your area of study in order to finish a residency training program which may take three to eight years to complete depending on your area of expertise. Before beginning your practice, you must also pass the USMLEs (United States Medical Licensing Examinations), which we will discuss in the next part.

What Steps Can I Follow to Get Medical Residency in the USA?

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) mainly aim to obtain a U.S. medical residency, but the process can be challenging and daunting.

The IMG residency application process may be broken down into ten steps to make it easier for you to understand what needs to be done and when. Let us understand how to get residency in the USA after MBBS:

1) Sign up for the USMLE®

Before beginning your residency, the U.S. graduate medical education, as an IMG, you must have your credentials certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates® (ECFMG®). To start the ERAS® application process, you must register with the ECFMG®.

2) Pass the USMLE® exams

The USMLE® is a three-series exam required for American medical licences.

The USMLE Step 1 tests how you comprehend and apply fundamental sciences to the practice of medicine. The USMLE Step 2 CK exam measures how well you can use your clinical science knowledge and medical background to provide patient care. The USMLE Step 2 CS tests how well you use your medical knowledge and abilities in a real-world, patient-centred environment.

You will also need to pass USMLE Step 3, the last exam, which emphasises patient care in an ambulatory setting. You can take this exam before applying for an IMG residency or after your internship.

3) Obtain beneficial clinical training in the USA

Engage in a high-calibre, practical externship in the US. Do not squander your time on the path to a medical residency if you are still an undergraduate student and have not yet completed the USMLE steps; instead, inquire about your chances for clinical rotations.

4) Register with the AAMC®

The Association of American Medical Colleges® (AAMC®) manages the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®), a centralised online application system. Use their MyERAS® Portal to submit your applications to residency programs.

5) Pick your residency programs

Having taken a few USMLE® Exams, you will get a clearer idea of how competitive you are as an IMG for the medical residency match. This is crucial as it will assist you sort through hundreds of US residency programs available for particular specialities (Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, etc.) and identify those that you have the best chance of getting into.

6) Get your ECFMG® token to register with ERAS®

Use the OASIS or the MyECFMG mobile app to get your personal 14-digit ECFMG® Token to register with ERAS® and submit your applications.

7) Finalise documentation and submit ERAS® application

After identifying the medical residency programs for which you are qualified, you can apply to them through ERAS® and include all supporting documentation, including your residency personal statement, ERAS® Common Application Form, curriculum vitae, and letters of recommendation. 

8) Medical residency interview

One or more residency programs may contact you for an interview after you submit your ERAS® application. Preparing for your medical residency interview is essential for your ERAS application since it is among the most crucial steps in the process.

9) Register with the NRMP

The yearly Residency Match is run by the National Residency Match Program® (NRMP®), which matches IMG residency candidates with residency and fellowship programs. To decide which applicants and programs should be matched, the Residency Match consults ‘rank order lists’ submitted by applicants and residency program directors. After your interviews, you will rank residency programs according to preference. To prepare for the ERAS Residency Match, log into ERAS and update your profile using your NRMP ID.

10) Residency post-match

If you have an IMG match, then congratulations! If you have not been matched, you have a second chance with the post-residency Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®), where you can compete for the Residency Match’s remaining unfilled positions.

In a nutshell, this step-by-step process outlines everything you need to do to get a medical residency in the USA. It is time to stop pondering over how you can get medical residency in the USA and go after your dreams fully prepared.