Caribbean medical schools are well-known for allowing American students to pursue their studies in medicine abroad. After graduating from a Caribbean medical school, most students intend to finish their residency in the United States. It’s no secret that Caribbean medical schools are popular due to their lenient admissions standards. The “top” medical school in the Caribbean has an entering class with an average undergraduate GPA of around 3.3 or 3.4. Additionally, it is typical for Caribbean medical schools to accept candidates with GPAs around 3. The “lowest” U.S. medical school’s entering cohort has an average undergraduate GPA of about 3.5, in contrast.
Why Take into Account Caribbean Medical Schools?
Becoming a doctor is generally straightforward for aspiring medical students. You put a lot of effort into keeping your grade point average high, spend months studying for the MCAT, and apply to medical schools in the U.S.
Unfortunately, getting into a standard M.D. school is more complicated than ever! Every year, the requirements for admission become more stringent. There are few openings in medical colleges across the nation.
As a result, even talented students are being turned down. Only 41% of candidates for medical school enrolled in recent years.
Even “extremely safe” colleges often require a GPA of 3.5 or above, which puts the fight for medical school into perspective. Thankfully, there are some alternatives to conventional medical schools in the U.S.
For many years, U.S. students have been able to obtain a medical degree from Caribbean universities.
Find more on 2023 Best Medical Schools in the U.S.
There are specific potential cautions to be aware of when researching the top Caribbean medical schools. It’s challenging to finish your studies in these institutions and launch a prosperous career in the U.S., but it is feasible.
According to statistics, medical school graduates from the Caribbean face more significant barriers to entry into the U.S. healthcare system. There are several causes for this.
First, there is a lot of rivalry for residency programs in the U.S. Those positions are much more likely to go to American medical students than to graduates of Caribbean medical schools.
Passing the USMLE is the second major problem. To practice medicine in the U.S., you must give the USMLE. Unfortunately, many Caribbean medical schools are known for graduating students who ultimately perform poorly on the USMLE.
Many supporters and detractors of Caribbean medical schools disagree with this fact. Some claim that the curriculum does not meet the standards of US-based schools, which is why the USMLE pass rates could be better. Others argue that it’s just the case that matriculants lack the academic skills required to pass the USMLE.
Naturally, there is no assurance in either case. Many medical school graduates from the Caribbean have gone on to pass the USMLE. It all depends on how diligently you work and get ready.
Facing Financial issues ? Learn more about “Best Medical School Loans in the USA 2023”
Comparing American and Caribbean medical schools
Despite their significant contrasts, the United States and the Caribbean boast respectable institutions that will position you for success. Aside from the climate and plant diversity, there are a lot of positives and negatives to weigh when choosing a study location. We’ve put together a table in this part to show you how medical schools in the United States and the Caribbean vary.
These figures primarily compare the costs and admission rates of the best Caribbean medical schools to the averages of all U.S. medical schools. You may obtain more comprehensive statistics by making an account on the AAMC website.
How to Choose a Caribbean Medical School and What needs to Look?
When researching or ranking Caribbean medical schools, consider a few crucial variables. It’s essential to conduct your research before applying because Caribbean schools usually operate in different ways than American institutions. The critical criteria to consider when choosing a Caribbean medical school are listed below.
Choosing the right school for you should consider the reputation. When a medical school is overseas, getting accepted into a U.S. residency program may be more challenging. A school may gain a bad reputation by taking on underachievers who must prepare for medical school.
Accreditation should be your top priority when looking for medical schools in the Caribbean. You may find out if a school has complied with the requirements for offering a medical degree by looking at its accreditation. You might not be able to pursue graduate medical education in the United States and find it challenging to secure a residency if your school is not fully authorized.
No matter where you choose a medical school, the residency placement rate will be crucial, especially abroad. You want to ensure that once you graduate, it will be easy for you to match with a residency.
The fee of enrolling in a Caribbean medical school is another crucial aspect to consider. While some institutions may have lesser tuition, remember to budget for home flights, rent, food, and other things a medical student needs.
Check the percentage of your school’s students who passed each USMLE step because they are frequently lower when studying abroad.
Another crucial issue to consider is your ability to obtain loans and finance. Make sure your preferred school has access to federal loans (if needed). Researching the money that most institutions have set aside for overseas students is also essential.
Keep these things in mind when looking into Caribbean medical schools and prerequisites. A school with incredibly lax admissions requirements might not effectively prepare you for the demanding field of medicine, particularly if you intend to practice in the United States. Consider your preferences and what each school offers when choosing which schools to apply to.
How does attending a medical school in the Caribbean affect your ability to practice medicine in the United States?
Which Caribbean medical schools are certified in all 50 states might be one of your first inquiries if practicing in the U.S. is your ultimate objective.
The response is 0.
Medical institutions run by foreign governments are currently prohibited from applying for American accreditor status. Which Caribbean medical schools allow graduates to practice in all 50 states, then, is the more pertinent query.
Which Caribbean medical schools are the best?
The four schools below, collectively known as “The Big 4,” are generally regarded as the best even though no official Caribbean medical school rankings exist. This is because they have relatively high USMLE pass rates and match rates, allow students to take advantage of federal loans, and allow graduates to apply for licensure in all 50 states.
We have listed details of the Big 4 Caribbean medical schools below.
Medicine at St. George’s University
To acquire accreditation from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, which is required to apply for U.S. residencies, IMGs must complete a medical program recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) starting in 2024. St. George’s University voluntarily left one of its two accrediting organizations, CAAM-HP, in 2021, leaving the Grenada Medical and Dental Council (GMDC) as its lone accreditation.
Maarten’s American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
An international university that runs in St. Maarten and offers a U.S. medical curriculum is called the American University of the Caribbean (AUC). Small class sizes and a committed faculty are intended to foster a close-knit community of international students.
The National Accreditation Commission for Colleges of Medicine has granted AUC accreditation (ACCM). The NCFMEA validates the ACCM. Students at AUC may also be eligible for American financial aid due to NCFMEA approval.
Students at AUC are eligible to take the U. S. Medical License Examinations because it is a Caribbean medical school with U.S. accreditation (USMLE). The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates should first get their registration (ECFMG). As of 2020, they even boast a 93.2% first-time pass percentage for the USMLE.
A bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any discipline is required for admission to AUC. The prerequisites are as follows:
- Biology: 1 year (8 credit hours)
- One year for general chemistry (8 credit hours)
- One year for organic chemistry (8 credit hours)
- General Physics: 4 credits throughout one semester.
Visit the Official Website of American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
University of Saba School of Medicine
The Saba University School of Medicine was founded in 1992, making it a relatively new institution. It is situated on the Dutch municipality of Saba, an island.
Despite its brief history, Saba University School of Medicine is well-known in the industry. The school has received formal approval from the New York State Education Department and recognition from the California Medical Board in the United States. Additionally, the Florida Commission for Independent Education has granted it a license.
The institution provides an M.D. program. The program’s first five semesters are devoted to teaching foundational concepts and basic sciences. Students conduct clinical rotations and studies during the last five semesters.
The Saba University School of Medicine’s acceptance of federal student aid programs from the U.S. is a significant benefit. Attending becomes substantially more affordable as a result.
Visit the Official Website of University of Saba School of Medicine
Barbados’ Ross University School of Medicine
Last but not least, Barbados’ Two Mile Hill is home to the prestigious Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), a global medical institution. A cutting-edge medical and anatomical imaging facility and a simulation center are located on their site.
The Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions has granted RUSM accreditation. The NCFMEA has authorized the CAAM-HP. They can use the U.S. Federal Direct Student Loan Program thanks to this organization’s certification.
With a 90.0% USMLE success rate, RUSM is on par with pass rates in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, they currently have a student network of over 15,000 graduates working in all 50 U.S. states and boast a first-time residence match rate of 92%.
Unlike other Caribbean universities, RUSM qualifies for U.S. Title IV funding and has given nearly $50 million in grants and scholarships in 2020. RUSM also provides free school visits, which include flights and a two-night hotel stay, to give newly admitted students a solid picture of the campus life at their institution.
Visit the Official Website of Barbados’ Ross University School of Medicine