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How can I go to the USA after MBBS in India?

In the USA, pursuing a medical career can be challenging but great. Many Indian doctors aspire to study for an MD in the USA after completing their MBBS in India. Some doctors who couldn’t secure a PG seat through NEET PG or AIPGMEE in India consider this option. Currently, there are many Indian doctors in the USA, and they have various paths to reach their goals.

If you are an Indian medical graduate, whether you studied in India or another country (Foreign Medical Graduate or FMG), and wish to settle in the USA, the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is the essential step for you. It is the only way to become certified and start your medical practice in the USA.

Ways to Pursue PG in USA after MBBS in India 

In the USA, the healthcare professional or physician system is closely regulated by the USMLE, which follows a systematic approach. For Indian students seeking to pursue postgraduate medicine in the USA after completing their MBBS, they are required to showcase their skills at each level again, including at the bachelor’s level, by taking the USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2 CK exams. While this exam is highly competitive, it is generally considered easier than the Indian NEET PG.

The USMLE exams are conducted online and can be taken from India. However, the course contents differ significantly from the 19 subjects taught during MBBS studies in India. This means that Indian medical graduates must prepare and adapt to the specific topics covered in the USMLE to succeed in the exams and pursue their medical careers in the USA.

Option 1: MD in USA after MBBS in India 

After completing MBBS, an Indian student cannot directly practice medicine in the USA because the basic level of study required to practice there is postgraduate medicine. The USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) has specific medical courses that need to be completed in the USA to qualify for Residency (a board-certified postgraduate program while working in a hospital under a work permit).

To be eligible for Residency, Indian doctors must clear the USMLE exams with high marks (230+). During this period, students can take the USMLE Step 2 CK exam in India to qualify for Residency in the USA. Once they receive confirmation of their Residency, they can apply for a work visa in the USA.

Preparation for the USMLE Step 1 can begin as early as the 2nd year of MBBS in India, and Indian doctors are eligible to appear for the USMLE Step 1 after completing their 2nd year of MBBS.

Option 2: MD in USA after MBBS in India 

Seeking to go to the USA only based on a clerkship has its drawbacks. While on this clerkship, doctors take the USMLE Step 2 CK and become eligible for residency through a work permit. However, the limited time during the clerkship may restrict their preparation for the USMLE Step 2 CS, which must be taken in the USA. If they fail to secure a residency during this period after passing the exam, they would need to return and try again.

A more stable approach for many doctors is to pursue a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in the USA. This option allows them to use the 5-year student visa generally issued by the US consulate for Indian students pursuing Master’s programs. During the MPH course, they have a relaxing period to prepare for their clinical exams. Ultimately, they end up with two degrees – one clinical after completing their residency and one non-clinical, like an MPH or a Diploma in Public Health.

There are several advantages to pursuing MPH programs in the USA for medical post-graduation. It provides an opportunity to build a network with fellow doctors and gain their confidence during the two years of study. Also, one can take a break for a semester after the first year of MPH to complete the mandatory clerkship for residency. If there are challenges in obtaining a residency for a clinical PG program, the public health management degree can help cover living expenses.

Overall, the MPH route offers a more secure and experienced path to achieving medical post-graduation in the USA, while also providing valuable networking and career opportunities.

Option 3: MD in USA after MBBS in India 

For some Indian doctors seeking to complete their Medical PG in the USA, pursuing a non-clinical program like MPH is not their preferred option. They may lack confidence in their USMLE exam performance after a short 4-month coaching at Caribbean Islands and prefer to focus solely on their clinical experience. Moreover, they may already be working in hospitals and wish to continue building their clinical skills without getting diverted to an MPH program.

For these doctors, there is a third option available. They can opt for a 2-year USMLE-preferred Green book clinical rotation (not an observer-ship) at an ACGME-approved hospital. This option includes USMLE-1 coaching and exam, followed by two years of intensive clinical rotation, all at a cost similar to the second option.

However, it’s essential to note that this option comes with a time constraint. Since their visa would expire after completion of the rotation, they would need to secure a residency position during this period. Despite the potential challenges, this option allows them to focus on their clinical experience and invest their time and resources solely in their pursuit of Medical PG in the USA.

About USMLE-1 Exam

The initial step towards pursuing Medical PG in the USA is the USMLE Step 1. This exam consists of multiple-choice questions with various answers, sometimes even requiring candidates to select all the correct options. It is a highly competitive test that assesses the foundation of your medical knowledge and your ability to think analytically and diagnostically.

For Indian doctors aiming to crack this exam successfully, a strong grasp of basic concepts and the capacity to apply knowledge logically are crucial. Since candidates are only allowed one attempt at this exam, they put in their best efforts and extensively prepare by taking numerous mock tests. The USMLE Step 1 is considered one of the most important exams in their academic journey towards a career in medicine in the USA, and its difficulty level demands thorough preparation and dedication.

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