Can Medical Externship Programs for IMG Students Help You Be Licensed?
Getting licensed to practice medicine in the US will require far more than simply passing your degree, especially if you study and gain your degree overseas. All graduates will need to complete a residency as well as pass certain exams before they are licensed to practice on their own. Getting onto a residency, however, will often require you to demonstrate experience with US medical processes which can be gained through routes such as externship for IMG or a medical clerkship for IMG.
International Medical Graduates (IMGs) often have no exposure to how US hospitals operate, nor do they have contacts in facilities in the US that may be able to help their applications with letters of recommendation. So programs that let them experience what goes on in different hospitals are of great benefit not just to the student personally but in showing the residency programs that you are serious about your application. Conducting medical externship programs for IMG students will often boost your chances of gaining a place on a residency.
Residencies will want to admit graduates that have shown that they have the skills required to work in their chosen field in the US, and that means far more than just a piece of paper. If you cannot demonstrate that you have gained clinical experience and observed how US facilities work you are unlikely to be entertained as a serious applicant. So applying to externship programs for foreign medical graduates is very important.
Difference Between a Clinical Externship, Observership, and Clerkship
Gaining US clinical experience (USCE) is vital to gaining your future internship training and residency placement. But gaining that hands-on clinical experience is going to be difficult if you are a foreign medical graduate that has not studied in the US. Many residency programs will not want to see only the international healthcare system experience, they want US-based experience.
This is why companies such as AICG – American International Clinical Group, and many US hospitals will offer specific programs to help you get the experience you are looking for. This experience will usually come through either an externship, observership or a clerkship. But what are the differences between the three of them?
The following table will help you to gain an idea of what the differences are between the three types of programs:
|What is it?||An opportunity to gain hands on clinical experience at a US based hospital or clinic .||To observe what happens in US clinics and hospitals with no direct hands on involvement.||A clinical rotation that is conducted as part of your final years of medical school. “Away Rotations” can be undertaken in a US institution.|
|Duration||2 days to 2 weeks||On average 2 to 6 weeks||Usually 4 to 6 weeks|
|Cost||Varies significantly||Varies significantly||Varies significantly|
|Application Requirements||Varies but typically USMLE part 1, personal statements, resumes, and letters of recommendation.||Varies but can be as little as a letter of application and your payment.||Varies considerably between institutions.|
|Specific Learning Goals||Yes||No||Yes|
|Opportunity to Gain a Letter of Recommendation for Residency||Yes||Yes||Yes|
What Is the Benefit of Applying for an Externship for IMG?
Externships for international medical graduates can be seen as rotati healthcare providers. This helps with your residency application and future career as it provides you with:
- An opportunity to gain hands-on experience within your chosen specialty.
- To gain experience with US processes and procedures.
- To network and gain an opportunity to get a letter of recommendation for your application.
- To impress those who may be future colleagues or employers.
- To clarify that you really want to pursue a career in this specialty.
What Is Required for Starting an Externship for FMG?
Whether you are applying for a psychiatry externship for IMG or a neurology externship IMG you will have to find and apply to the program that you need. Each program, however, will have very different requirements and expectations. Some programs will simply want a copy of your degree and the money that they charge. Not all programs, however, are created equally. Getting an internship at a more popular and respected hospital can do far more for your chances of gaining the residency place that you are looking for.
More popular externship programs can be quite competitive over who they will accept and you will have to make an application for a place. Typically you will have to provide some or all of the following with your application:
- Externship IMG personal statement: this should spell out your personal ambitions and reasons for studying in your chosen field of medicine. It should be written in a way that will grab the reader’s attention and persuade them that you are someone that is going to succeed within their career in medicine.
- Externship IMG resume: your externship IMG CV or resume must be able to clearly show that you have all of the expected qualifications and skills that the program will be looking for. This should always be carefully tailored to the application so that it clearly reflects exactly what they want to see if your application will be accepted.
- Externship IMG letters of recommendation: some programs will want a letter recommending you from the medical school at which you have studied or someone that can judge your medical abilities. This should be well written and must clearly recommend you for the placement.
- Externship IMG cover letter: a good cover letter allows you to clearly state your reasons why you are applying to the program and also why you will benefit from what they have to offer. Written well it will clearly match you to their specific expectations.
Where Can I Find Medical Externships for IMG/FMG
Finding a good externship to apply to can be hard work as there is no central application portal that you can use. Often you will have to search each individual hospital or clinic to see if they offer the opportunity that you are seeking. You may also find paid services that will seek out opportunities for you. The following are some of the different institutions that do offer externships:
- Boston University School of Medicine
- Mayo Clinic
- American Medical Clinicals
- New York Presbyterian Hospital
- Brigham Women’s Hospital
- West Virginia University
- Weill Cornell Medical Center
- Louisiana State University
What Specialties Can You Apply for Externships Within?
The following are some of the many different core specialties in which you can apply for an externship within:
- Pathology externship for IMG: if your interests lay in the study of diseases then you will be looking to enter a program in this field. A good externship will help you with your application for a pathology residency program.
- Neurology externship IMG: this specialism deals with disorders of the nervous system and should be applied to if your future training and career will be in this field.
- Family medicine externship for IMG: for those that are interested in a career as a traditional family doctor then this is the area for you.
- Psychiatry externship for IMG: specialists in this area will deal with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.
- Internal medicine externship for IMG: here you will get to learn about how to diagnose and treat the many diseases that affect adults.
- General surgery IMG externship: a general surgeon will usually be defined as one that is dealing with surgery within the abdominal area.
- Obstetrics externship IMG: this field concentrates your studies into the area of childbirth and pregnancy.
- Gynecology IMG externships: if you are interested in continuing into a residency to study the reproductive system of women then this where you will start.
What Specialties Are IMG Friendly?
Finding a good externship for FMG students is hard work. Often it is best to know in just what areas you should be applying if you are to have a good chance of getting accepted onto a program. As 2017 data suggests the following specialties are the most likely to accept IMG applicants:
- Internal Medicine
- Family Medicine
- General surgery
What States Are Best to Apply to for Externships for FMG?
Just as with specific specialties there are also specific areas that you will have more luck of applying to as an IMG. The following are some of the most IMG friendly states in the US to which you should be applying:
- New York
- New Jersey
Is Doing an Externship for FMG Worth It?
While it is hard to find data as to how many residents that are accepted each year have completed an externship asking those that have attended if the experience was worthwhile is very positive. Of those polled in a survey reported by Forbes 100% said that they would recommend the programs to others.
Most said that doing the externship helped them to clarify their own personal career goals. Other reports clearly show that participants get to build their networks significantly and many are able to use their new connections to gain influential letters of recommendation.
What Documents Do You Need to Prepare for Application?
We know just what the different programs will be looking for and how to give you the best chance of gaining the results that you need. For your application you need to prepare the following:
- Your personal statement residency internal medicine IMG: no matter what specialism you want to apply to you need to remember that you have only one chance to get noticed! So make sure to check all the requirements to carefully match your experiences and skills to the expectations of the program.
- IMG resume or CV: you have to clearly show that you have the specific skills and experience that they are looking for. Just with a job you need to identify what they are and reflect them within your resume in a way that they will stand out.
- Letters of recommendation: discover all the advice and writing tips on how to make a letter that is a clear recommendation without going over the top. We share samples as well, so check it out and ensure that your letter avoids any issues that could cause second thoughts in the reader.
- Covering letter writing: a cover letter is an opportunity to highlight very specific points as to why they should be accepting you. Well written it will target the application precisely and help you get selected.