The scenario: As an international student, you applied for MBBS in a country of your liking and completed your course. You are now looking to expand your horizons by selecting the best career option for you. For example, should I return to my home country and pursue a postgraduate degree (PG) or practice medicine? Should I study further and apply to a PG course abroad after MBBS? These are the two key questions that will ring in your mind. In this blog, we will help you understand and make you aware of the career options available after studying MBBS abroad.

Various Career Options after MBBS in Abroad for Indian Students

Let’s discuss the top career options for Indian students who have completed MBBS abroad. 

Get Your PG in India

Most MBBS students prefer to complete their PG without taking a break. If you are among them, then pursuing PG in India is one of your career options. This will help you become a specialist in your area of interest. To apply for a PG abroad after MBBS, you will be required to clear the NEET-PG entrance exam (The NEET results are valid only for the year you wish to get admission). 

In India, there are only over 36,000 PG seats available in an academic year. The difficulty in cracking the NEET PG exam is relatively high. If you do qualify and get admission, the duration of the course is three years. You can directly apply to colleges after you clear NEET. However, a few colleges may have their own entrance exams to further gauge the student’s skills. In India, the course fee for MD ranges from Rs.1 to 2 lakhs and students also get a stipend.

Residency in the USA

Post-residency,  international medical students attempt to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) to become licensed medical practitioner in the USA. USMLE will be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). This exam determines if a medical graduate is ready to enter a residency or fellowship programme in the US.

There are three stages in this examination:

USMLE 1 is a one-day examination and can be taken by the end of the 2nd year in MBBS. It is an online MCQ-based examination. 

USMLE 2 has two sub-steps, namely USMLE 2 CK and USMLE 2 CS. 

While USMLE 2 CK is a one-day examination that can be taken at various test centres worldwide at the end of the 4th year of MBBS, USMLE 2 CS requires the applicant to examine and diagnose a person acting as a patient. USMLE 2 CS exam can be taken only in five testing centres in the US.

USMLE 3 is an online exam. All medical graduates are required to pass this exam to be licensed doctors in the US.

Clear PLAB and Pursue PG and Practice as a Medical Practitioner in the UK

Like other countries, the UK also has an entry exam that lets foreign medical graduates study PG in the UK. Professional and Linguistic Assessment board Exam (PLAB) is a licensing exam that allows international medical graduates who completed MBBS outside the UK to pursue PG in the UK. PLAB exams have two steps, PLAB 1 and PLAB 2. 

PLAB 1 is a on-day written exam consisting of 180 MCQs that should be attempted in three hours. It is conducted four times every year in the UK and worldwide. Students should have cleared the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test or the Occupational English Test (OET) to apply for PLAB 1 exam on the General Medical Council official website.

PLAB 2 is an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) that includes 16 scenarios. This reflects the real setting of the practice and will be a mock consultation. This exam tests the applicant’s ability to engage with patients, ask the right questions, examine thoroughly, come up with the right diagnosis, etc. This clinical assessment exam can be taken in specific test centres in Manchester, UK. After clearing this exam, the applicant can apply for a UK medical license registration.

PG in New Zealand 

After completing MBBS internationally, an applicant can choose to study post-graduation in New Zealand by appearing for the NZREX exam (New Zealand Registration Exam.) NZREX is an objective structured clinical exam. Some of the basic eligibility criteria are:

  • IELTS with a minimum of 7.5 in speaking and listening and a minimum of seven in writing and reading. The scores should not be older than two years.
  • OET with a minimum of ‘A’ or ‘B’ in each of the four components taken within the last two years.
  • In the last five years, the applicant should have cleared at least one of the below exams:
    • USMLE Steps 1 and 2 (Clinical Knowledge)
    • Part 1 of PLAB Part
    • Australian Medical Council MCQ
    • Part 1 of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination

Apart from the countries mentioned above, international students can study PG in other countries with excellent education standards such as Germany, Australia, Canada, South Korea, etc. 

Alternative Career Options after Studying MBBS Abroad

Most medical students think that only a few options such as PG, MS, or MD are available for them after they complete their MBBS course abroad. However, the world of medicine is constantly evolving. It gives scope to medical graduates to choose a path they like. Some of the alternative yet equally skilled career options are listed below:

  • Medical teacher or professor
  • Medical writing/journalism
  • Entrepreneur 
  • Clinical researcher 
  • Pharmaceutical researcher
  • Organ transplant coordinator
  • Forensic medical officer 
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Public services
  • Radiology
  • Holistic healthcare provider
  • Sports medical healthcare providers
  • Medico-legal advisor
  • Hospital management and administration
  • Exercise medicine and coach
  • Bacteriologist
  • Aerospace medicine

Alternative Diploma Courses after MBBS Abroad in

  • Clinical pathology
  • Anaesthesia
  • Paediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Pathology
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Radiotherapy
  • DVL
  • Occupational therapy
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation
  • Health education
  • ENT
  • Pulmonary medicine
  • Sports Medicine
  • Hospital administration
  • Immunohematology
  • Microbiology

Other Courses to Pursue after Studying MBBS Abroad 

  • MBA in Hospital Management
  • MBA in Healthcare Management
  • MBA in Hospital Administration
  • MBA in Bioinformatics
  • MSc in Computational Biology
  • Masters in Pharmaceutical Marketing
  • Hospital quality management and control
  • Yoga and wellness
  • M.Tech in Biomedical Engineering and Biological Sciences

Alternative Medicines to Consider

  • Medical Statistics
  • Clinical Biomarkers
  • Stem Cells
  • Biosensors
  • Cancer Biology
  • Biomedical Instrumentation
  • Immuno-technology
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Nanomedicine
  • Telemedicine
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Translational Medicine
  • Image Analysis
  • Medical Imaging
  • Recombinant DNA Technology
  • Biomedical Simulation
  • Biomaterials Implants
  • Early Detection of Cancer

What Would You Choose?

By now, it is clear that there are a plethora of options available for students after they complete MBBS abroad. The career choices are limitless. The big question is, what is your passion? Which specialization are you interested in? This will determine the rest of your future career. Choosing a specialization, diploma, or post-graduation in an area you are not interested in will not bring job satisfaction in the long run. We know this is not an easy decision, but you will be able to make the right choice with proper research, introspection, and guidance.