Medical Residency programs in the USA| Requirements and Cost (2023)

Do you wish to practice Medicine in the USA, then you need to know the Medical Residency Programs available. This post contains the requirements and cost of the different Residency Programs available.

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Practicing medicine appeals to many international medical students. Hence, the need to know how to apply for residency medical programs in the USA is a necessity.

This is because the U.S. requires these physicians to undergo an extensive process including doing a residency there.

One way to avoid completing two residencies, which could take as long as 10 years, is to complete just one medical residency in the United States.

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However, this can be challenging due to a shortage of slots in medical residency programs in many states and roadblocks for international students qualifying for financial aid.

After ECFMG certification, physicians who wish to practice medicine in the United States must complete an accredited residency training program in the United States or Canada.

This process will take at least 3 years. The physician will have to complete a residency program regardless of the training they have received overseas.

(Video) How much does it cost to match into USA medical residency as an IMG?

Is Choosing a Residency Program in the US the Best?

There are 4 tracks within an internal medicine residency program: transitional, preliminary, categorical, and primary care.

It is best to choose the program that best suits one’s individual needs and goals.

  • Transitional programs rotate 1st-year residents through hospitals every 2–3 months. A transitional program counts as 1 year of training, but it may not provide enough credits to move to the 2nd year of training.
  • Preliminary programs are 1-year programs for those wishing to specialize and who need a year of internal medicine training.
  • Categorical programs are considered more traditional and hospital-based. These are 3-year programs that may allow residents to train up to board eligibility if performance is satisfactory.
  • Primary care programs provide increased emphasis on ambulatory care experience in the community and are becoming more prevalent. Those who are sure that they will be working as a generalist are advised to apply to a primary care program.

Who is Qualified for a residency program

International medical graduates who have received a visa are eligible to apply for a residency program in the United States. This post on how to get your USA visa will guide you on a smooth process. Also, if you have been denied Visa, these three reasons why your visa has been denied could help you know more to avoid that.

It is strongly encouraged that international medical graduates participate in an observership rotation in a clinical setting before applying to a residency program.

This allows international medical graduates to become familiar with clinical practice settings and meet physicians who can be used as references during the residency application process.

International medical graduates (IMGs) can qualify for U.S. medical residencies in some circumstances. An IMG is someone who attended a non-U.S. and non-Canadian medical school.

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Everyone who attended one of these schools is considered an IMG, including U.S. and Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

IMGs must apply and qualify for certification by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

Certification requires applicants to pass a series of examinations called the United States Medical Licensing Examinations.

It also requires them to have attended an educational institution approved by the ECFMG.

With respect to the latter requirement, applicants can consult the World Directory of Medical Schools to find out if their education meets the requirements of the ECFMG.

The examination requirement is split into three parts:

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE): Part 1

Part 1 is a seven-hour exam that tests the student’s ability to apply scientific concepts to the practice of medicine. It is taken over the course of eight hours.

(Video) The Real Cost of Medical Residencies in The U.S.

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE): Part 2 (Clinical Knowledge)

Part 2 (Clinical Knowledge) is an eight-hour exam administered over the course of 9 hours. It tests the student’s ability to apply medical knowledge and skills in a clinical environment.

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE): Part 2 (Clinical Skills)

Part 2 (Clinical Skills) requires students to assess standardized patients and gather information from them, perform physical exams, and communicate their findings to patients and colleagues.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, it’s important to take Part 2 (Clinical Skills) well before December 31 of the year you’re applying to Match.

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The AAFP suggests scheduling it no later than March of the year you intend to apply.

How much are resident doctors paid in the USA?

The average resident salary in 2017 was $57,200, compared with the average pay of $247,319 for licensed medical doctors, with a specialty in internal medicine.

Residents in hematology earn the highest pay at $69,000, followed by those in allergy, immunology, and nephrology, with an annual salary of $65,000.

Obtaining a medical residency

International medical graduates should submit applications to a minimum of 25 programs to have the best chance of being matched to a residency program.

Applicants must register with the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), which matches applicants and hospital residency programs according to individual preferences.

Certain residency programs require applicants to apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), administered by the ECFMG for IMGs.

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Preparing for Residency Program application

The process of finding residency programs has become increasingly more competitive, therefore international medical graduate applicants should pay more attention to the application itself to stand out. Interviews are granted solely on the basis of the application.

How to Apply for a Medical Residency Program in the USA

  • Present the application neatly and free of grammar and spelling errors. All applications should be original.
  • Highlight any unique qualifications, academic experiences, and volunteer work and test scores on the curriculum vitae.
  • Gain experience in a U.S. health care facility before applying to a residency to assist in getting a strong letter of recommendation. While letters of recommendation from overseas schools are important, they are not comparable to U.S. schools.
  • Ensure the application is filled out correctly, including your NRMP applicant number if you are registered for The Match.
  • Write a personal statement that addresses your unique abilities as an applicant, even if a personal statement is required for your application.
  • Be prepared to answer questions pertaining to your immigration status and visa status if you are a non-U.S. citizen.

The Cost of Applying for Medical Residency

Though the costs associated with applying for a residency position will be a minor portion of the total cost of your medical education, they can still add up. Because application fees are not always covered by student loans, it is important to develop a plan early on for how you will manage these expenses.

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Application Costs

The residency selection process includes application fees for two items: initially ERAS® and later, the NRMP. These application fees are separate from interview expenses which are more varied and driven by geography.

The total cost of the process will fall within a wide range, depending on key factors such as which specialty or specialties the applicant is interested in, how many applications are made and programs ranked, and how close the applicant is to these programs geographically.

The application fees are easier to project, but they will vary depending on the volume of applications and the number of specialties. Use the ERAS Residency Fee Calculator to help plan for your costs.

Number of Programs Per Specialty ERAS Fees

Up to 10 $99

11-20 $16 each

21-30 $20 each

31 or more $26 each

Additional costs associated with the application include the USMLE Transcript fee of $80 and the COMLEX-USA Transcript fee of $80. Both are assessed once per application season.

You can check out these scholarship opportunities for medical students.

Medical Residency Requirements: Visa Options

The first step in qualifying for a medical residency program in the United States, after completing the United States Medical Licensing Examination, is to obtain a visa.

A Temporary Employment H-1B visa and an Exchange Visitor (Physician Training) J-1 visa are the most common visas that qualify.

The H-1B is generally more desirable because it doesn’t have the two-year home residency requirement that a J-1 does, which requires you to return to your home country for at least two years before returning to practice in the U.S.

However, it is more difficult to obtain an H-1B visa as a foreign medical resident.

A J-1 visa also requires you to have qualifying J-1 medical insurance before entering the United States.

(Video) How Much Doctors Get Paid in Residency (Full Breakdown)

Tokyo Marine HCC MIS Group offers two international health insurance plans, Atlas Travel and Student Secure, that meet the requirements of the J-1 visa. Both of these plans also provide you with a visa letter which specifies that your coverage meets J-1 visa insurance requirements.

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Leading Residency Programs in the USA

For those completely unsure of which residency program to apply for, the AMA Residency and Fellowship Database (FREIDA) allows applicants to search through over 11,000 residency programs available in the United States.

Medical Residency programs in the USA| Requirements and Cost (1)

All are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. A candidate’s most desired residency programs will, of course, depend on the specific professional and personal goals of the applicant.

However, some programs are particularly renowned for providing stellar education and bestowing considerable prestige on the resident.

The Interview Process

The interview process is much like the one found in any other professional field. You’re advised to be professional, know your application and the program you’re applying for inside and out, dress formally and be respectful.

National Resident Matching Program

After you obtain a visa, you must register with the National Resident Matching Program, which matches residents with programs on Match Day and helps you track your ranking of programs following your interviews.

When you register with the NRMP, you will also want to select a specialty. According to JAMA, the specialty with the highest percentage of international medical graduates in 2014 was internal medicine (40 percent).

I do hope you have been equipped to a great extent on the Medical Residency Programs. All the best in your application. Do share this to other individuals who wish to apply.

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How much does it cost to apply for US medical residency? ›

Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS)

To apply for up to 10 medical residencies, ERAS costs $99. Additional applications are charged per application according to the following rates: 11 – 20: $12 each. 21 – 30: $16 each.

What are the requirements for medical residency in USA? ›

Residency Program Requirements
  • Medical school graduation year.
  • Type of visa.
  • Number of attempts on the USMLE.
  • Previous clinical experience in the United States.
  • Letters of recommendation from U.S.-based providers.

Is there any tuition fees for residency in USA? ›

As per the AAMC's FIRST (Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools) team analysis, the median cost of what an American Medical Graduate (AMG) has to bear for applying for US residency is $3900 with a range of $1000–$7000 [4] (Table 10.2). For IMGs definitely the price range and the median cost are more.

How hard is it to get medical residency in USA? ›

Getting into a residency program is a difficult process. It involves much more than studying for the USMLE® Steps 1-3 or COMLEX® Steps 1-3 or getting good grades in classes or rotations. You must be more than a good student; you must also have the ability to negotiate a system designed to select the very best.

How long is medical residency in USA? ›

Once medical school has been successfully completed the graduate school experience begins in the form of a residency, which focuses on a particular medical specialty. Residencies can last from three to seven years, with surgical residencies lasting a minimum of five years.

Do you get paid during residency? ›

But unlike medical school, newbie doctors will get paid while studying during their residency. These newbie doctors know very little about being a resident. The knowledge they have about it might even be myths.

How much do you pay for residency? ›

Resident Salary Trends
YearAverage First Year Residency Salary
6 more rows

How much does the match cost residency? ›

$99 per Individual Specialty list. $399 for all 18 specialty lists.

Is match a resident free? ›

Each year at Match A Resident, we spend hundreds of hours on the phone and via email providing personalized, in-depth, and comprehensive counseling and coaching – FOR FREE. You don't even have to be an active member. We believe in helping applicants through every step of the journey – no matter what.

How many IMG get residency in USA? ›

One in four U.S. physicians is an international medical graduate (IMG), and every year around 12,000 IMGs apply for U.S. residency positions.


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