Every year, thousands of students dream of getting into medical school to pursue the sought-after career of a doctor. Most aspiring medical students aim to study at a medical school in the U.S. or Canada, but many applicants are turned away due to the low acceptance rate. Therefore, Caribbean medical schools have become a popular option to pursue a Doctor of Medicine (MD program. There are more than 50 medical schools in the Caribbean region, all of which vary in quality. That’s why, while weighing your options, you must select the best Caribbean medical school to earn a medical degree and return to the U.S. for your residency.
If you are considering choosing a Caribbean medical school for your medical education, it can be a research-intensive and complicated process. It is important to be aware that not all medical schools offer the same quality of education, therefore, researching your chosen Caribbean medical school is fundamental for your future career. Attending the right medical school can be an exciting and challenging time as you will be on the pathway of shaping your career within the healthcare industry as a doctor.
So, what are some of the key factors that can help you select the best Caribbean medical school?
Accreditation and licensing
Prospective medical students considering studying medicine in the Caribbean must consider the medical school’s accreditation, especially for students wanting to practice medicine in the U.S. You should only consider Caribbean medical schools that have accreditation recognized by World Federation for Medical Education (WFME).
The top medical schools in the Caribbean hold accreditation from the Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM). The National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) has approved and determined the accreditation standards used by ACCM to accredit medical programs at Caribbean medical schools comparable to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), which is also the accrediting body for the medical programs in the U.S.
United States Federal Loan Program
While weighing up your options to choose the best Caribbean medical school, you must look for the United States Federal Loan Program. This is important because to get approval for U.S. Federal loans, the United States Department of Education assesses and approves the quality of medical education. The criteria used by the Department of Education includes the following:
- USMLE pass rate: Leading Caribbean medical schools have around a 97% first-time USMLE Step 1 exam pass rate, demonstrating a strong performance as a result of a good standard of education.
- Quality of clinical rotation: Clinical rotations are integral to the MD program. After completing their basic science course at Caribbean medical school, students progress to clinical rotations where they receive hands-on clinical training. Many top medical institutions have an extensive relationship with teaching hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, which is often an opportunity to sharpen clinical knowledge by working under experienced professionals in a clinical setting.
- Accreditation recognized by NCFMEA: A Caribbean medical school that uses accreditation standards determined by the NCFMEA to reflect a quality education.
The attrition rate is calculated by how many students drop out of the medical program. The lower the attrition rate of medical schools means that fewer students leave the school without a degree. This, in most cases, is the result of the quality education and excellent opportunities offered to them during their studies.
Matching into a residency program is one of the biggest challenges that medical students need to overcome, and it will also dictate the type of medical specialty they will pursue further.
The road to becoming a doctor is long, arduous, and expensive. Therefore, the medical school you choose should be tailored to your career goals through research and planning. However, considering the following factors we have discussed can help you choose the best Caribbean medical school.