ERAS Participating Specialties and Programs: The 2018 Additions


As a student of medicine, one of the first things you learn is that there is always more for you to learn. The field of medicine is constantly evolving. Every day, new scientific papers are published in medical journals, providing novel insights that have the potential to revolutionize the way medicine is practiced in a wide range of fields. During your undergraduate education and medical school, you were probably exposed to much of this cutting-edge research. Today, it is being put into practice.

Based on the latest trends in medicine, universities and medical centers all over the United States are creating residency and fellowship programs to train residents in new specialty areas. The application process for these programs is coordinated by the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Thus, the number of specialty areas and programs that are available through the ERAS application process increases each year. In 2018, new specialty areas were added for almost all program types and application cycles

Understanding the ERAS Application process

The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) is the organization responsible for the coordination of medical residency and fellowship programs in the United States. Through the ERAS online portal, aspiring medical residents and fellows can prepare and submit applications to the programs of their dreams — including newly added programs that provide training in innovative specialty areas.

For prospective medical residents, there is one application cycle each year, which runs from June to September. The deadline for the 2018 ERA application process is September 6, 2017, so mark your calendar! For aspiring medical fellows, there are two application cycles each year. The deadline for the first cycle — which is the one used by the majority of fellowship programs in the United States — is in July. The deadline for the second application cycle is in December.

For the 2018 ERAS application process, new specialty areas were added for each application cycle. Read on to learn more about the exciting opportunities that are opening up within the field of medicine.

MD Residency – September Cycle

As a foreign medical graduate looking to apply for a residency program in the United States, you have 50 specialty areas to choose from. The three most common specialties for foreign medical graduates are family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics, but for the 2018 process, there are also two new specialty areas that you might be interested in:

  • Family Medicine / Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine
  • Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine

MD Fellowship – December Cycle

If you have already completed a U.S. medical residency program and want to specialize your training through a fellowship program, there are 18 specialty options available for the December cycle. Five of them are new this year, including several that might be of interest to foreign medical graduates who have completed residency programs in the popular specialty areas of pediatrics and internal medicine.

  • Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology
  • Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Gynecologic Oncology (Obstetrics and Gynecology)
  • Maternal – Fetal Medicine
  • Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

MD Fellowship – July Cycle

Most aspiring medical fellows submit their applications to the ERAS during the July cycle, in which 46 specialty areas are offered. Although the July deadline has already passed, it can still be helpful to be aware of the newly added specialty areas, in case you plan to apply in the future. Most of this year’s additions are in the increasingly relevant field of clinical informatics. Several are ideally suited to foreign medical graduates who have completed residencies in one of the three most popular residency specialty areas:

  • Clinical Informatics (Family Medicine)
  • Clinical Informatics (Internal Medicine)
  • Clinical Informatics (Pediatrics)
  • Clinical Informatics (Pathology)
  • Clinical Informatics (Emergency Medicine)
  • Clinical Informatics (Anesthesiology)
  • Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Preparing for a Residency or Fellowship in a New Specialty Area

For aspiring medical residents, it can be a challenge to prepare for a residency in a newly created specialty area. But remember — all of the other applicants are in the same boat! If your academic interests lie in one of the new fields, make sure to provide a full explanation in your personal statement, which is the part of your application where you get to tell the application reader about your career goals. In addition, the physicians who write your letters of reference may also be able to speak to your interest in the subject.

Before you apply for a residency, you might also consider completing a graduate externship program that is related to the new specialty area that you are interested in. For instance, if you are considering applying for a residency in Family Medicine / Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine in the future, an externship in Family Medicine or Neurology could look great on your CV. Similarly, if you one day hope to do a fellowship in Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology, a clinical externship in Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, or Metabolic Cardiology could be a great experience.

Need more help with the residency application process? FMG Portal offers clinical externships and other resources that can help foreign medical graduates get matched. Contact us today for more information!


Finding a Place to Live in the United States: Information About Accommodations


If you are considering a student elective, clinical externship, or medical residency program in the United States, one of the most important things that you have to think about is living accommodations — that is, where you will live for the duration of the program. If you are entering a U.S. medical residency program, you will need long-term housing, since medical residencies in the United States can last anywhere from three to seven years. Alternatively, if you are completing a graduate externship program or a student elective, there are more short-term living accommodations available.

It is important to note that housing is different in the United States than it is in some of the other places around the world, so it can be helpful to get an idea of your options before you start looking for accommodations. Read on to learn more about long-term housing options for aspiring medical residents and short-term accommodations for medical students and graduates who are visiting the United States for a clinical externship or a student elective.

Long-Term Housing Options for Medical Residents

As a medical resident in the United States, there are a wide range of factors that can contribute to the type of housing you choose — including your financial circumstances, your family situation, the region of the country in which your residency is located, and whether or not your program is in a rural or an urban setting. Here are some of the types of housing that you might want to think about.


  • Apartment. An apartment is one of the most common housing choices for medical students and residents in the United States, especially in urban and suburban areas. If you want to live alone, you can often find a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Alternatively, many medical residents share a two- or three-bedroom apartment with roommates. This can be a great way to cut down on the cost of living during your residency, and it can also help you make social connections with other residents. In many cities in the United States, renting an apartment is the most common (and affordable) option. However, there are also some places where investing in your own apartment is a feasible option, so it is important to find out about housing prices in the area of your residency before you decide.
  • Shared house. In some locations in the United States, it is easier for prospective renters to find a shared house than a traditional apartment. In a shared house, you might rent one bedroom for yourself and share a kitchen, bathroom, and living room with other roommates. You might also be able to find a situation in which a house is split between floors, with one renter on the first floor and one renter on the second floor.
  • Single-family house. If you are bringing a family to the United States and you need more space, you could consider buying or renting a single-family house. Again, availability and affordability depend on the location of your residency and your criteria for living accommodations, but in some places, it might make sense to invest because medical residency programs last for so long. Still, it is important to note that, if you choose to buy instead of rent, you are responsible for the care and upkeep of your house, and you will need to balance find a balance between the time you spend caring for your house and your responsibilities as a medical resident.

Accommodation Options during Clinical Externships and Student Electives

Before applying for a medical residency program, many foreign medical students and graduates complete a clinical externship or a student elective in the United States. These programs typically last for either three months or six months, and they can be a great way to learn more about a specialty area of interest, bulk up your CV, and establish connections with physicians in the United States who might be able to write letters of recommendation when you apply for a U.S. medical residency program. Because clinical externships and student electives are shorter than residency programs, the options for living accommodations are different:


  • Subletting an Apartment. Many foreign medical students and graduates choose to sublet an apartment for three or six months. In the United States, it is typically easiest to find sublets available between June and August, when many university students are away from their apartments for the summer.
  • Short-term Apartment Rental. In some apartment buildings, landlords offer six-month leases, so if your clinical externship lasts for a full six months, this can be an affordable option. Alternatively, if you are completing a three-month student elective or clinical externship, you might find an apartment where you can choose month-to-month rental for three months.
  • House Sharing. House sharing options, like AirBnb, are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Depending on the location of your student elective or clinical externship, you might be able to find a short-term rental in a fully-furnished home for an affordable price.

For foreign medical students and graduates who are interested in applying for U.S. medical residency programs, FMG Portal provides a wide range of resources. We offer three-month student electives for foreign medical students, as well as three- and six-month clinical externships for graduates. We can also help you with accommodations when you decide to participate in these programs. Contact us today for more information!

Choosing a Medical Residency: Regions of the United States


The United States is one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world. A few weeks ago, we talked about the differences between medical residency programs in urban and rural areas. However, it is important to note that even within the category of “urban” or “rural,” there are significant differences between different parts of the country. Within the geographic borders of the United States, you can find an example of almost every climate zone, and there are distinctive cultural differences between regions as well.

During your residency, the characteristics of the region in which you live can affect both your lifestyle and your work as a physician. This is especially true if you are pursuing a residency in one of the more general medical residency subjects — such as family medicine or pediatrics — since the types of cases you encounter can depend largely on the cultural circumstances of the region. Therefore, if you are a foreign medical graduate looking to get matched to a residency in the United States, it can be helpful to learn more about the different regions of the country so that you can apply to programs in places where you will feel comfortable living and where you will have the chance to work on cases that fit in with your medical interests and career goals.

The East Coast

The East Coast is one of the most densely populated areas of the country. As a result, you can find more medical residency programs in this region than any other, and you will find most of them in urban and suburban areas. The East Coast is home to some of the largest cities in the country, including New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC — each of which has its own unique culture. However, they do share some general characteristics, such as highly diverse populations, good public transportation, and easy access to restaurants and grocery stores.

If you live on the East Coast, you can expect to experience four distinct seasons. Summers are hot, and winters can be very cold. In the northern areas, you might get a lot of snow in the winter, but further south, heavy rain is more common. Both spring and fall on the east coast are considered to be beautiful. In general, the culture on the East Coast tends to be more formal than in other areas of the country.

The Midwest

The Midwest, also known as the Great Plains, refers to the inland states between the east coast and the Rocky Mountains. Some of these states include Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota. Although large portions of these states are rural, there are also a few major cities, such as Chicago and Detroit. Like the states on the east coast, you can expect cold winters and hot summers in the Midwest states. People in the Midwest are especially well-known for being friendly.

One of the most significant health issues that you will face if you work as a physician in the Midwest is the opioid abuse epidemic. The misuse of opioid medications (such as morphine, oxycodone and hydromorphone) is a growing problem in all parts of the United States, but it is especially concentrated in the Midwest. As a medical resident in the Midwest, you may treat overdose cases or individuals who are seeking treatment for addiction, so if you are interested in pharmacology, psychiatry, or any other drug-related area of medicine, a residency program in the Midwest may be of interest to you.

The South and Southwest

As in the Midwest, the South and Southwest regions are mostly rural, but with a few major cities, such as Atlanta (in the South) and Houston (in the Southwest). The climate in these states is much warmer and more humid in the summer, but Southerners also enjoy milder winters. The South is famous for its hospitality and its delicious comfort food.

Two medical issues that are more prominent in the South than in any other part of the country are obesity and smoking. Southern states like Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, and West Virginia have some of the highest numbers of people who meet the criteria for obesity and who say they smoke regularly. As a result, physicians are challenged to treat patients with many obesity-related medical conditions (such as type II diabetes and heart disease), as well as health problems caused by smoking (such as lung cancer).

The Mountain West and the West Coast

The Mountain West region includes the states that are between the Midwest and the West Coast. Some of the states in this region include Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. Because of the Rocky Mountains, much of this region is rural, although there are a few large cities, such as Denver. The Mountain West is known for its dry climate. In the winter, there is often snow, especially in the high country. In the summer, you can expect a daily temperature swing, with warm days and cool nights.

Outside of the East Coast, the West Coast is the most populous area of the country. Most people on the West Coast live in California, where the climate varies considerably. Southern California is warm and sunny, while Northern California is overcast and cool for most of the year.

The Mountain West and West Coast states are well-known for being among the healthiest in the United States, with low rates of smoking and obesity, and high rates of activity and exercise. However, the outdoor adventure opportunities in the states — like hiking, rock climbing, and skiing — can cause traumatic injuries. If you are interested in treating sports- and outdoors-related injuries — in either an emergency room or a rehabilitation setting — this region could be a great place to work. California is also particularly well-known for cutting-edge technological advances, so a residency in this area could be of interest if you are interested in medical technology research and development.

Choosing Between Regions of the United States

As an aspiring medical resident, it can be a challenge to figure out which region(s) of the country you would be comfortable living in. One way to experience life in the United States first hand is to complete a student elective or graduate externship before you apply. Not only can this give you a better idea of what it is like to live in a particular region of the United States, but it can also give your CV a boost and connect you with physicians who could possibly write letters of reference for your application.
FMG Portal offers student electives and graduate externships in a wide range of fields. Contact us today for more information!

Choosing a Medical Residency Setting: Urban or Rural?

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As a foreign medical graduate, there are many factors that you must consider when applying to medical residency programs in the United States. With so many different residency programs available at universities and medical centers, it can be hard to narrow down the list, even after you have identified your specialty area of interest. One of the factors that you should take into account is the setting of the residency program — that is, whether your choose a program in an urban area, a rural location, or a small city / suburban area. The setting that you choose can make a big difference for your residency experience, in terms of both your medical work and your life outside of the program. Read on to learn more about what you might expect from U.S. medical residency programs in urban and rural areas.

Choosing a Medical Residency in an Urban Area

U.S. medical residency programs in urban areas offer distinctive opportunities for foreign medical graduates. In cities, you can find lots of hospitals, outpatient care centers, and community health centers, so your clinical rotations may take place at many different sites around the city. This can give you a broader range of experiences than you might get from a residency program in a rural area or a suburban setting.

Many of the cities in the United States are also characterized by significant racial and socioeconomic diversity. Indeed, a 2015 study by the  Brookings Institution found that the 50 largest cities in the United States had a significantly larger gap between the rich and the poor than smaller cities and rural areas. Therefore, if your residency is in an urban area, you might have the chance to work with patients from a wider range of cultural and economic backgrounds. Depending on your country of origin and the city in which you choose to work, you may have foreign language skills that can come in handy when working with the diverse populations of American cities.

Choosing a residency program in an American city will also significantly impact your lifestyle outside of the program. One of the benefits of living in a large city is that you will never need to worry about being bored — from restaurants to museums to concerts, there is no limit to the cultural experiences you can find in American cities! However, one of the drawbacks is that living accommodations are more expensive in American cities, so you may need to live with roommates. At the same time, public transportation systems are better in cities than in rural areas, so you may not need to own a car.

It is important to note that there is no “typical” American city, so if you are looking for a residency program in an urban area, you should do additional research about the cities you are considering. As of 2015, the 10 most populous metropolitan areas in the United States were:

  • New York City, New York
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Dallas – Forth Worth, Texas
  • Houston, Texas
  • Washington, DC
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Miami, Florida
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Boston, Massachusetts

Choosing a Medical Residency in a Rural Area

The opportunities that you would get as a medical resident in a program in a rural area are different from those that you would get in an urban area, but they can be just as educational and fulfilling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health risks for Americans in rural areas are significantly greater than for those living in rural areas, so as a medical resident, you may have the opportunity to gain experience with more serious cases. Here are a few statistics from the CDC about health disparities in rural areas that can provide insight into some of the challenges that medical residents in rural areas face:

  • Compared to Americans in urban areas, rural residents are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke.
  • Death from unintentional injury is 50% higher in rural areas than in urban areas — primarily due to motor vehicle crashes and opioid overdoses.
  • Children living in rural areas are more likely to have mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders than those living in urban areas.

Because there are fewer physicians in rural areas, residency programs in rural areas are more commonly available in the broader specialty areas of family medicine, pediatrics, and internal medicine. That’s good news for foreign medical graduates, since the NRMP reports that these were the top three areas in which foreign medical graduates got matched in 2015.

The rural areas in the United States are located primarily in the Midwest, the South, and the West, each of which offers different cultural opportunities and lifestyle options. For example, in many rural areas in the West, there is easy access to outdoor activities like hiking, rock climbing, and rafting. On the other hand, the South is famous for comfort foods like fried chicken and pecan pie. Rural Midwesterners are known for being particularly friendly. On a more practical note, if you are living in a rural area, your housing will probably be less expensive, but you may also need to own a car in order to get around.

Clinical Externships in Rural and Urban Areas

Researching rural and urban areas in the United States can be helpful as you decide where to apply for a U.S. medical residency program, but there is no substitute for real-world experience. A great way to learn what life is really like in one of these settings is to complete a clinical externship. FMG offers clinical externships in many areas around the country, including rural and urban settings, as well as small cities and suburban areas. Contact us today to learn more about all of the resources we offer for foreign medical students and graduates!

Residency Specialty Spotlight: Occupational and Environmental Medicine


If you want to focus your career on preventive medicine, a residency program in occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) could be right for you. This specialty area is unique because it is highly interdisciplinary. As a physician specializing in OEM, you will be trained to diagnose and treat work-related injuries and illnesses, so your education will include experience in both traditional medical care and public health.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Programs

Residency programs that train specialists in occupational and environmental medicine typically last for two years. They are designed specifically to train physicians in the competencies laid out by the ACGME for Residency Training in Preventive Medicine (Occupational Medicine specialty), as well as those defined by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Specifically, OEM residency programs typically involve studies in:

  • Clinical practice of OEM
  • OEM-related laws and regulations
  • Environmental health
  • Disability management
  • Toxicology
  • Hazard identification, assessment, and management
  • Disaster management
  • Public health and disease prevention
  • Management and administration

Many programs also provide opportunities for academic research in OEM, and some programs even give residents the chance to earn a Master of Public Health (MPH) or Master of Occupational Health (MOH) degree in the first year. As a result, when you finish, you will not only have the skills needed to work in a clinic or hospital, but you will also be prepared to get a  job in a corporate setting, work for a government agency, or serve as part of a legal or regulatory body.

Applying for an OEM Program as a Foreign Medical School Graduate

Because OEM combines studies in medicine and U.S. law, it is one of the less common choices for foreign medical graduates. However, if you are passionate about making a difference in the field of OEM, don’t hesitate to apply!

The most important thing to do on your residency application is to show that you are committed to a career in OEM. For instance, you can discuss previous work experiences or research that you have conducted in the field. It can be especially helpful to have completed a clinical externship in the occupational medicine, because it can demonstrate to your application reader that you have the knowledge and skills that are required for a U.S. residency in OEM. A clinical externship is also a great way to boost the quality of your CV, and you may be able to get a letter of reference from an attending physician in the United States, which is required for some programs.

FMG Portal offers clinical externships in many different specialty areas, including occupational medicine. Contact us today to get help with residency placement!

Residency Specialty Spotlight: Pediatrics


If you want to dedicate your medical career to working with kids, a residency program in pediatrics may be the right option for you. According to 2015 data from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), pediatrics was the third-most popular residency specialty area for foreign medical graduates, behind only internal medicine and family medicine.

As a pediatrician, you could work with infants, children, and adolescents, ranging in age from birth to 21 years. Pediatricians are trained to provide preventive care and treat a wide range of conditions, including hereditary diseases, infectious illnesses, and traumatic injuries. You may choose to work in a primary care setting as a general pediatrician, or you may specialize your practice on a certain area of the field. It all starts with a pediatrics residency.

Pediatrics Residency Programs in the United States

US medical residency programs in pediatrics last for three years and provide general training in the wellness of infants, children, and adolescents. However, because pediatrics is such a broad specialty area, the programs can vary widely between schools. That means that when you are searching for residency programs, you should pay careful attention to what makes each one unique.

For example, programs may differ in the relative amount of time dedicated to clinical work in ambulatory and primary care settings. The location of a school often plays a role in this, since some schools are located in large cities where you may end up working at multiple hospitals and outpatient centers, while programs in rural areas allow you to gain extensive experience working at one or two locations. There are also programs that allow you to focus your studies by pursuing a certificate in an area of interest, such as global health, community health, medical education, or academic research.

In general, though, you’ll usually spend the first year of a pediatrics residency building a broad base of knowledge and developing basic skills in pediatric care, through a combination of clinical and didactic work. In the second year, you will have the chance to take on greater responsibility in clinical decision-making. You’ll probably also have the chance to pursue particular areas of interest through electives. Finally, the third year of a residency program will give you the chance to step into a leadership role in the clinic and prepare for your future as a pediatrician, whether you choose to focus on a specific subspecialty or practice as a generalist in the field.

Post-Residency Fellowship Options

Once you finish your residency in pediatrics, you can start your career as a general pediatrician or you can apply to a fellowship program. Almost all pediatrics fellowships in the US require an additional two or three years of study, although there are a few one-year fellowships available as well. Although this is not a comprehensive list, here are some of the options you could consider:

  • Adolescent medicine (3 years)
  • Allergy and immunology (2 years)
  • Pediatric cardiology (3 years)
  • Pediatric endocrinology (3 years)
  • Neonatal medicine (3 years)
  • Pediatric infectious disease (3 years)
  • Pediatric emergency medicine (2 years)
  • Pediatric sports medicine (1 year)

Getting Matched to a US Program

If you are interested in a US medical residency program in pediatrics, you might want to complete a graduate externship or student elective in the field. Not only can these experiences help you decide if pediatrics is the right specialty area for you, but they also look great on your CV. Many residency programs also require foreign applicants to submit a letter of reference from a US physician, and an externship program is a great way to make connections in the States.

FMG Portal offers student electives and graduate externships in many different specialty areas, including pediatrics. Contact us today for more information!

Residency Specialty Spotlight: Anesthesiology



Pain management is a hot topic in the field of health care right now. If you are interested in dedicating your career to the safe and effective use of pharmacological therapy for patients during and after surgical procedures, you might want to consider pursuing a residency in anesthesiology.

About Anesthesiology

As an anesthesiologist,  you would be responsible for the administration of anesthetics to patients during surgery. Before a procedure, you would develop a plan for general or regional anesthesia, accounting for a wide range of factors related to the patient’s current condition, medical history, and the nature of the procedure. During the surgery itself, you would be responsible for the administration of the anesthetic drugs, and afterward, you would remain on-call in order to assist with any complications that might arise. In addition, you would play a role in the development of post-surgery pain management strategies.

To be a successful anesthesiologist, you need to be a great team player. In the operating room, you will be working in conjunction with surgeons, surgical assistants, nurses, and technicians. In the pre- and post-operative rooms, you will share the duties of patient monitoring with nurses and nurse anesthetists. When planning a post-operative plan for pain medication, you will probably communicate closely with the patient’s regular doctor. Therefore, if you thrive in collaborative settings, anesthesiology could be the specialty area for you.

Anesthesiology Residency Programs

Anesthesiology programs in the United States last for three years. The first year is typically dedicated to learning the basics of the field through a combination of lectures, grand rounds, and clinical experience. Topics of study include intubation, line placement, and strategic planning for anesthetic administration and reversal. In the second year, you will do rotations that provide hands-on training in critical care and expose you to the subspecialty areas within the field, which include:

  • Obstetrical anesthesia
  • Cardiovascular anesthesia
  • Thoracic anesthesia
  • Neuroanesthesia
  • Ambulatory anesthesia
  • Regional anesthesia
  • Transplant anesthesia
  • Post-anesthesia pain management

The work you do in your third year of an anesthesiology residency can depend on the program and your interests within the field. If you know you want to pursue a clinical career, you will have the chance to hone your clinical skills by working with more challenging and complex cases. Alternatively, if you are interested in conducting cutting-edge pain medicine research, some programs give you the chance to conduct highly specialized research in order to advance medical knowledge in the field.

Clinical Externships in Anesthesiology

If you are a foreign medical student or medical school graduate looking to get an anesthesiology residency in the United States, a clinical externship can be a great way to gain experience and increase your likelihood of getting matched. In a clinical externship program, you would gain experience working under the supervision of multiple physicians, giving you the chance to learn about various subspecialties or even find out what it is like to balance a clinical job with pain-related research. That way, when you prepare your residency application, you can present a clear vision for your future career, and you may also be able to supplement your application with letters of recommendation from attending physicians.
If you are a foreign medical graduate and want to learn more about clinical externships in anesthesiology, or get general assistance with the overall residency application process, FMG Portal offers great resources. Contact us today to take the next step toward a future career as an anesthesiologist!

What To Do If You Didn’t Get Matched

Match Day has come and gone, and if  you are one of the fourth-year foreign medical students who was not matched, it can be hard to figure out what to do next, after working so hard during medical school and counting on a residency in the United States. But there is no reason to despair! You still have a variety of options for next year.

Participating  in the Post-Match Scramble

Even now, almost a month since Match Day, there are programs with open slots. You’re most likely to find a residency in family medicine, but other specializations are also available, especially if you’re willing to keep you options open in terms of location. By being flexible and reaching out to programs that are still looking for residents , you could find yourself starting your residency this July after all.

Preparing for Next Year

Another option for students who were not matched is to wait for next year’s match process. That can give you time to strengthen your application and increase the likelihood that you will be matched the second time around. Here are some things that you may want to do:

  • Complete a clinical externship. One way to increase your odds of getting matched next March is to complete a clinical externship. Not only does this provide excellent clinical experience and boost your resume, but you can also get letters of recommendation.
  • Take clinical electives. Like externships, electives are a great way for non-matched foreign medical students to get ready for next year’s match process. In these courses, you can get a better understanding of the American medical system and make connections that can help you strengthen your application for next year.
  • Seek additional education. Although additional clinical experience is usually the best way to show residency programs that you have what it takes when it comes time to get matched next year, you can also expand the breadth of your experience by completing a non-medical degree or certificate program. Many graduate programs are available in part-time and online formats, which can be helpful for aspiring physicians with multiple time commitments.
  • Get a research job. Research is an important part of many residency programs, whether at the basic science, translational or clinical level. You may be able to find full- or part-time medical research opportunities in labs at universities or in industry, which is another way to supplement the clinical experiences that you may want to pursue between now and next year’s match.

Overall, whether you decide to search for an open residency spot or focus on strengthening your application for next year, not getting matched is not the end of the world. If you take control of the situation and go after what you want, your medical career can still get off to a great start. 

Need help with residency placement? Contact us today!

Three Benefits of U.S. Clinical Externships for Foreign Medical Graduates

Clinical externships allow foreign medical students to test their skills at U.S. medical institutions. In a clinical externship, a foreign medical graduate (FMG) is placed with an attending at a U.S. institution. Depending on the length of the externship, FMGs may have the chance to learn from multiple attendings in different specialties. Not only is this an excellent learning opportunity, FMGs that complete clinical externships are more likely to match with a U.S. medical residency. They have more of the tools necessary to successfully interview and match.

Meet Requirements for U.S. Medical Residencies

Many U.S. residency programs require time spent working in the U.S. This is an easy requirement for U.S. allopathic seniors, who can complete clinical studies at their medical schools or neighboring institutions. Foreign medical graduates, however, must relocate to the U.S. for an extended period of time to meet these requirements. Unfortunately, every U.S. medical residency has a different requirement for the amount of U.S. clinical experience. While a 3 month externship may be enough for one program, it’s not enough for another. FMGs should review the requirements of their preferred medical residency program to determine the length of externship that is required.

Receive Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation from U.S. doctors are a great tool for foreign medical graduates during the interviewing process. The interviewing program is likely to trust known U.S. doctors more than unknown foreign doctors recommending a graduate for a program. For some schools, it is a requirement that faculty member write a letter of recommendation for a foreign medical graduate. It would not be possible for a FMG to match with this type of school unless they completed a externship with a faculty member or knew a faculty member through other means.

Learn U.S. Terminology and Common Ailments

Externships also prepare FMGs for the U.S. testing required to match with a medical residency. There is a clinical section to the exam. A foreign medical graduate who has already spent time working in a U.S. institution will not be surprised by any differences in protocol. They already learned the basics at an externship. The skills gained at the externship can immediate translate to the exam. FMGs who complete externships will also become more familiar with common U.S. ailments, which are more likely to appear on the clinical exam.

Clinical externships are not only beneficial for FMGs, but, in many cases, they are a requirement for matching with a U.S. medical residency. Selecting the right externship can make the difference between matching with a U.S. medical residency or not being able to do so.