USMLE forum
Step 1
Step 2 CK
Step 2 CS
Matching & Residency
Step 3
 SOAP Begins in: 
  <<   < *  Matching & Residency   *  >   >>  

* what to do with MD degree without residency?
  muktip06 - 11/09/20 15:35
  Hey guys. I wanted to see if anyone can give me advice on what I can do for the future. I have applied for residency but have not been lucky so far, so I want to continue on with my life. I was thinking of what I can do, some options are: start Masters (MHA or MPH ... not sure which is best for me yet) or get a job. A little bit about myself: US IMG from the Caribbean, done with Step 1, 2CK, 2CS, have my ECFMG certificate.
I wanted to see if anyone can give me advice on what I can do regarding masters or getting a job. If a job, then what kind of work can I get with my MD degree and ECFMG certificate.

Thanks in advance!!
Report Abuse


* Re:what to do with MD degree without residency?
  sgoal - 11/09/20 21:41
  You can apply for job to be a research coordinator in University Hospitals. Actually, I'm doing a MPH program in Community Health.  
Report Abuse

* Re:what to do with MD degree without residency?
  dariasmo - 11/10/20 09:48
  Unfortunately, I believe things are more complicated today days. I came to realize that the ECFMG certification does not have a real weight (if none at all) when applying to job where international physician knowledge can be handy.

In contrast, the having passed the step 3 is a different story. This may give you a push certainly with the very scarce "house physician" (, that sometimes hospitals in the states of FL and NY may open, as well "Assistant/Associate Physician" ( positions. Still, those positions are so difficult to find (usually they are only posted in the career website of each hospital instead of indeed for example) and so connections-dependent that it should may you think better.

However, coming back to the first point, the ECFMG certification may only "label" your medical training and knowledge as "verified" at the academic level...but in practical term, employers do not care about labels, they only care about relevant experience.

If you pursue clinical research, they will be looking at certifications or courses you accomplished in reliable American institutions AND a minimum of experience.

If you pursue faculty positions, you also would need to demonstrate a minimum of experience.

If you pursue biomedical research, well, are you PhD at least? Have you known lab/bench work? Nobody with with this job market would be willing to train you just because you are an international physician, there are so many Ph American Graduates out there that why to bother?

It is better that you think to afford American certification in any field, at least to be attractive for the American job market.

Or have a nice connection, a friend, that give you the chance of an entrance...

Report Abuse

* Re:what to do with MD degree without residency?
  domchristopher - 11/22/20 23:29
  I would look into doing a direct entry MSN program - you probably have all the prerequisites, and could become a nurse practitioner in 2-3 years. With an MD education, and the prescribing authority of a nurse practitioner, you could make a good salary and have plenty of options.  
Report Abuse

* Re:what to do with MD degree without residency?
  99faith - 11/23/20 17:37
  1). To become a Nurse Practitioner, you need to be done with BSN nursing, that's what I was told and am currently enrolled for the Program.
Nurse Practitioner do make a very good salary ranging from 120-150k annually. However, it's long way to go. Same true for Physician Assistant. But, PA admission is highly competitive and you apply broadly and randomly all over the US similar to Residency application after clearing a GRE. The GRE scores are taken in to consideration.
2). NYITCOM is an Osteopathic Medical (4 yrs). Again, their admission is also highly competitive. They have 35 seat for Foreign Medical Graduates.
3). MPH is a 1-2-3 yrs program depends how fast you want to do it. The salary is not too good may be 30-40k annually, could be little bit higher. I quit it 2 yrs ago after I was accepted into it and before my classes started. The best decision of my life. After I saw those text books, I figured , I am not made for MPH. It's all epidemiology, health statistics etc.
4). Ph-D admission is competitive too in Neuroscience, biochemical science, Admission into a Ph-D program also require a GRE. Actually, GRE is not hard for studious people who have passed usmle.
Ph-D is a five yr Program. The same amount of time to become a BSN Nurse and NP. With Ph-D your chances of matching could increase, however, residency cannot be guaranteed.
It took me some time to decide what I actually wanted to do in life.
You decide what you want to do. Being a Dr. you would certainly like interacting with patients, then go for PA/NP. If it's destined for you to get a residency, you will. Your luck cannot be stolen.
If you like to go into research, then go for GRE for Ph-D program. They love foreign med grads in their program being done with usmle. When I applied, they loved my application and interviewed me. However, I wanted to become NP.
Report Abuse

* Re:what to do with MD degree without residency?
  99faith - 11/23/20 17:45  
Report Abuse

* Re:what to do with MD degree without residency?
  99faith - 11/23/20 18:03

The above link requires a licensee's no? How can one have US Medical License no unless one's done with US residency.
Report Abuse

* Re:what to do with MD degree without residency?
  dariasmo - 11/23/20 19:26

There are some states with MD licenses that are considered partial (who always overseen/supervised by total licensed MDs) and address MDs who are not board certified (no clinical residency), but who have passed the step 3.

To my understanding, Medical Officers (MDs working for the military and prisons), and "house physicians" in FL, are clinical positions , that issue those partial licenses.

Sometimes I have heard mentioned a "pathway" when those available positions are posted online for Medical Officers or in USAjobs, I do not remember the exact name of that pathway, however it is clear that is an alternative source of candidates besides the board certified MDs.

A way I found out was regarding special 1-year internships in Puerto Rico, if you have the step 3 passed as IMg, you are eligible to apply for those interships, and if accepted and you finish such position, you will qualify for that special license, which in turn makes you eligible to apply for Medical Officer positions.

But the application process there is not easy at all, in addition that you need to speak fluently Spanish, you have to compete with Puerto rican med schoolers for those scarce interniship positions.
Report Abuse

* Re:what to do with MD degree without residency?
  99faith - 11/23/20 20:09
  Yes, I have heard of that pathway.

I know an elderly MD graduated in era of 1970s became MD after working under the supervision of a few MDs. They talked to the State Medical Board about his experiences, competency level etc. was licensed, later got into fellowship and became a cardiologist.

Residency in Puerto Rico ain't easy to get into. Fluency in Spanish is mandatory.
Report Abuse

* Re:what to do with MD degree without residency?
  ryemd - 01/12/21 16:15
  Hi muktip06,

Unmatched IMG here. I kind of let go of the idea of matching after 5 years joining the match. 2004yog. Passed all steps with no failures but not competitive scores. Practiced as a general physician in home country. Came here in the US in 2012 and have joined the match for 5years but unsuccessful.

My first job here was in Home Health. More of QA in the physician's office. Then somebody told me to get a medical assistant license so I can work as a medical assistant. Go to: - This gets you some credential to show for as a medical assistant, then you can start applying as an MA.

Then while I had that, and still in home health. I set my sights in clinical research. I applied to several CLINICAL RESEARCH COORDINATOR positions through indeed. I get interviews but they all look for experience, until somebody just called me and gave a chance. I had been working as a CRC ever since in a private clinic. It will be a mix of use of clinical acumen, at least skills drawing blood, learning and training new medical equipment. Recruiting and establishing rapport with patients. Clinical decisions based on your principal investigator or protocols. A lot of other stuff to learn. Never-ending since a clinical trial always ends and a new one comes in on top of 4-6 current studies you are facilitating. Pay is okay. You can get a CRC certificate through


Once you get certified, doors will open for you being more hireable. So you just need to get your foot in the door of research. Find people. Volunteer some hours there to understand and get first hand experience, and hopefully they can hire you when a spot opens. Or use that volunteer experience in your resume. Whether you are a new CRC or an experienced CRC, you start a job learning the protocols of a lot of studies. Your clinical acumen will be used with documentations and establishing rapport and teaching and managing patients according to the protocol. The job is good but always project-based.

After CRC- you can jump to become a CRA CLINICAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE which is on the regulatory side of research. Pays definitely well, but travel required, and not really seeing patients. Other side that I have not totally understood is jumping to the PHARMACOVIGILANCE side of research. A lot of IMG's work in that field.

As for me, while being a CRC. I wanted a more stable and dynamic field with a lot of options. I went to nursing school.

CNA is required in my state to become a nurse. earning potential $13-18/hr 8 weeks to get my certificate. You will be humbled here so take heed and there is no such thing as pride when you are starting out again. About $1200 matriculation in a private institution. I should have done it in a community college.

Applied to an accelerated BSN program. I did not get accepted. They did not give me an explanation. And I did not ask as well. I felt my ego was hurt so I felt the need to start regain my self-esteem and start all over again. They are more expensive anyway. I enrolled in a Community College. Took an Entrance test. Had to review college Algebra for that. I took Physiology, Anatomy and Microbiology again with the lab. The didactics you can do online classes but the lab you can come in and they have night schedules. Had to take English 101, and Speech Communications 101. I still have to study hard because I don't want to get mediocre grades. I think I can just pass without studying. But getting A's are a different thing. Then another entrance exam to get into nursing school, HESI, which is some math and english. Took me 2 years to do all this because I am working as a CRC at the same time. I have to talk to my boss who was supportive of me and had given me some flexibility for work. Then Associate's Degree in Nursing...not easy...I really worked hard especially to get into the thinking of a nurse and fight my instincts as a physician, because it will get your answers wrong on the tests and stuff. I finished after 2 years. I am now reviewing for NCLEX. After these, doors will open.

Financially I applied FAFSA to have student loans...It is a necessary evil... You have to spend more to earn more...That also eases you up psychologically where to get money for school. Do not be afraid on is not as expensive in community colleges. About 22K for the cost of the program for 2yrs of nursing school. You start paying 6 months after you graduate on the plan you make with them. It's like paying for a 22K for 10yrs. That's not bad... also...Apply for scholarships. I thought I wasn't qualified, but I got some. I think I have received about 5k of scholarships in total. Also, I just learned, but may go a different way, some of my classmates, did not disclose they have a foreign degree. But, they started all pre-requisites from scratch...but that made them eligible for Pell grants, and not required to pay as much for tuition. For me I have to pay 100%+interest.Look into that...

It is a long ride for me. But I'm getting there soon. Don't fret. Stay hopeful. Also I found someone thru linkedin. He is a foreign MD. Worked as a CRC. He has moved up, and then jumped on the data side of research and is now a Data Analyst. Interesting Path to take. Take comfort with the knowledge and skill you have with learning. It is one of our most important skillset, having the determination, patience and the study habits to finish the rigors of medical school. We just have to translate those to gain new skills in another field since we did not have much luck with becoming a physician here.

Being a nurse, gives me a pathway to become a clinician again and go as far as an NP. Becoming a nurse and its pathways, will not limit you to the specialties you can't get into because of your USMLE scores. You can get your foot where you want to really go into. It will be a matter of where your experience as a nurse will take you. There are NP's who can go to ER, peds, mental health, dermatology, cardiology, etc... CRNA - is a different thing, but you perform as an anesthesiologist... There are also RNFA - Registered Nurse First Assistant - who performs as a first surgical assistant.. You can work as an RN while completing studies to get you BSN and then MSN-NP degrees, and still earning enough to provide for your families.

Also, when you are already working as a nurse. Try to work in a place where there is Residency Training where they can get to know you. One of my friends, whose premed was nursing and worked here in the US as a nurse did that and was able to match two years ago in California. And his yog was 2001. So.there is still hope when you are in the right place at the right time...

Also, if some of you are surgeons back home, and had some lateral trainings here or are able to get surgical exposures here as observers, another path is to be a FIRST SURGICAL ASSISTANT. Look into this website:

I have a classmate who was an ENT back home. Worked as a medical assistant for a surgeon here in the US. She got the surgical assistant certification, also had some robotic surgery training and now she does first surgical assisting, gives her own schedules, and bills for her hours. REALLY GOOD PAY ---Do your research. Some institutions pay by the hour, some are based on the case. She says, the first surgical assistants she work with in the different hospitals are mostly foreign medical graduates who were surgeons/OB in their countries. And they often are the same people she encounters in the other hospitals she works at. This is not just luck but placing yourselves in a position to get the connection and network, and finding people to trust you. The surgeon really helped her get her foot in the door of the hospitals after getting her certifications and let her assist in his surgeries--after she got her license that is. Not a lot of first surgical assistants I believe.

If you have amazing grades and have time and money. Go into PA school, and be a PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT. There are no shortcuts. You'd have to do whatever is required. Grades will get you to become eligible. Then there is PANCE if I said it right, a form of MCAT. Scores matter to get in to PA schools. It is a graduate school so it is expensive. You also need to be a full time student. I don't know anybody who did this though. But I guess, if you have right cards, then this is a shorter route compared to what I am doing right now.

This is already long. I hope this helps somebody else. Good luck to you all. Good luck to all who are applying for the match. I may try again to apply when I have more stuff to offer in my credentials for the program to recognize my potential. Otherwise, I'll still be in the frontlines. Stay safe everyone!

Report Abuse

* Re:what to do with MD degree without residency?
  maanas - 01/18/21 01:35
  Hi @ryemd,
thanks for your knowledge and your amazing post.
I appreciate it and wish you Good luck.
Report Abuse

          Page 1 of 2     [Next >]     [Last >>]

[<<First]   [<Prev]  ... Message ...  [Next >]   [Last >>]

Logon to post a new Message/Reply




Step 1 Step 2 CK Step 2 CS Matching & Residency Step 3 Classifieds
LoginUSMLE LinksHome