The ECFMG certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is the standard for evaluating the qualifications of international medical graduates (IMGs) entering the United States. IMGs are individuals who received their basic medical degree at a medical school located outside the United States and Canada. To be eligible for ECFMG certification, an IMG must meet certain requirements, including passing Steps 1 and 2 of clinical knowledge (CK) of the USMLE. Pathways are offered on a seasonal application cycle, and IMGs should carefully consider the timing of their applications.
The ECFMG has established time limits and other rules for completing the exam requirements for the ECFMG certification. In addition, IMGs must have received credits for at least four credit years from a medical school listed in the World Directory with an ECFMG grade stating that they meet the ECFMG eligibility requirements. The ECFMG verifies each IMG medical school diploma with the appropriate officials of the medical school that issued the diploma and requests that the medical school provide the final medical school transcript. All international medical graduates, refugees, and immigrants who wish to enter a residency accredited by the Accreditation Council for Postgraduate Medical Education (ACGME) must be certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). Each state medical board, which has the authority to establish its own rules and regulations and grant licenses to practice medicine in a given jurisdiction, also requires passing examinations that demonstrate fitness to obtain a license.
Research conducted by Gohara et al.32 and Gullo et al.33 has shown that performance in compulsory medical school courses is a better predictor of success in medical licensing exams than pre-admission models that use the medical school admission exam (MCAT).The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) provides a reference on the path to obtaining a medical license in the United States. Schools that meet all the requirements will be listed in the World Directory with a note from the ECFMG stating that the school meets the eligibility requirements for its students and graduates to apply for the ECFMG to obtain the ECFMG certification and exam. The American Medical Association's International Medical Graduates Section is also available to learn more about issues affecting IMG doctors and participate in political decision-making. The 2024 American Medical Association Medical Student Promotion Conference (MAC) will be held March 7-8, 2024.