ECFMG Certification --

Mindy Hung


July 11, 2001

In This Article


Graduates of foreign medical schools commit to a multistep process costing upwards of $2500 US when they decide to pursue a residence program or fellowship in the United States.

Aside from investigating schools and narrowing down specialties, candidates must obtain certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the body that determines whether prospective students are equipped to enter American programs.

ECFMG assesses a candidate's eligibility through a battery of tests and credentials checks, including the following:

  • copies of medical school diploma

  • United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE) Step 1 AND Step 2

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • ECFMG Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA)

Collecting these documents to seek approval from the ECFMG is also often a prerequisite to obtaining a license to practice medicine in the United States.

While the requirements might sound daunting, planning well before the final year of medical school provides the candidate with the best chance of getting into the right program at the right time. Studying for exams and gathering the needed applications and certifications will make the process move more smoothly. Moreover, factoring in the price of test preparation books, CD-ROMs, photocopying and postage, and the time and expense involved in travel to test centers will help ensure a smoother, less stressful passage.