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ECFMG is a world leader in promoting quality health care—serving physicians, members of the medical education and regulatory communities, health care consumers, and those researching issues in medical education and health workforce planning.

International medical graduates (IMGs) comprise one-quarter of the U.S. physician workforce. Certification by ECFMG is the standard for evaluating the qualifications of these physicians before they enter U.S. graduate medical education (GME), where they provide supervised patient care. ECFMG Certification also is a requirement for IMGs to take Step 3 of the three-step United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and to obtain an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States.

ECFMG provides other programs for IMGs pursuing U.S. GME, including those that assist them with the process of applying for U.S. GME positions; and that sponsor foreign nationals for the J-1 visa for the purpose of participating in such programs. We offer a verification service that allows GME programs, state medical boards, hospitals, and credentialing agencies in the United States to obtain primary-source confirmation that their IMG applicants are certified by ECFMG. The ECFMG Certificate Holders Office (ECHO) provides support and service to ECFMG-certified physicians as they plan their medical careers.

ECFMG partners with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) in administering the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of USMLE, a requirement for IMGs and for graduates of U.S. and Canadian medical schools who wish to be licensed in the United States or Canada. Through this collaboration, ECFMG uses its experience in assessment to ensure that all physicians entering U.S. GME can demonstrate the fundamental clinical skills essential to providing safe and effective patient care under supervision.

Through more than five decades of certifying IMGs, ECFMG has developed unparalleled expertise on the world’s medical schools, the credentials they issue to their graduates, and the verification of those credentials. ECFMG has expanded this expertise to include credentials related to postgraduate training and registration/licensure through its primary-source credentials verification service for international medical regulatory authorities. And now, through the Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPICSM), we are bringing this expertise to individual physicians and the entities that license, train, educate, and employ them.

ECFMG’s commitment to promoting excellence in international medical education led to the establishment of its nonprofit foundation, the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). FAIMER has assumed responsibility for, and expanded upon, ECFMG’s programs for international medical educators and ECFMG’s research agenda. Through FAIMER, ECFMG offers training in leadership and health professions education; creates and maintains data resources on medical education worldwide; and conducts research on international medical education programs, physician migration, and U.S. physician workforce issues.

ECFMG is a private, nonprofit organization whose members are: American Board of Medical Specialties; American Medical Association; Association of American Medical Colleges; Association for Hospital Medical Education; Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, Inc.; and National Medical Association.

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ECFMG Fast Facts

  • Established in 1956
  • Private, nonprofit organization
  • Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Employs more than 800 people

ECFMG issued the first Standard ECFMG Certificates in 1958. Since then, it has certified more than 320,000 international medical graduates.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Evaluating the qualifications of international medical graduates
  • International medical schools
  • Physician credentials related to medical education, training, and licensure
  • Assessing clinical skills
FAIMER, a nonprofit foundation of ECFMG
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Last updated April 2, 2013.
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