About ECFMG Certification | IMGs in the United States | Definition of an IMG | How the Certification Process Works | Requirements for Certification | Reference Guide for Medical Education Credentials | Eligibility for Examination | Verification of Credentials | Certification Verification
International medical graduates (IMGs) play a significant role in the U.S. health care system. In 2009, according to the American Medical Association, IMGs accounted for 25.9% of the total U.S. physician population, 29.2% of the physicians in graduate medical education (GME), and 29.3% of all full-time, hospital-based physicians.1 The process by which these internationally educated physicians obtain a license to practice medicine in the United States has a number of steps and involves multiple parties that educate, assess, and evaluate them along the way. Certification by ECFMG, which ACGME requires for IMGs who wish to enter ACGME-accredited U.S. GME programs, is only one step in the process. Although an IMG’s pathway to licensure differs slightly from that of a graduate of a U.S./Canadian medical school, there are many common points, including the licensing examinations they take and the process by which they obtain GME positions.
In order to obtain a license to practice medicine in the United States, an IMG typically must:
At various points along this pathway to licensure, and for various reasons, significant numbers of IMGs will not meet one or more of these requirements. For example, graduating from medical school does not guarantee that an IMG will pass all the examinations required to be certified by ECFMG. Being certified by ECFMG does not guarantee that an IMG will be offered a position in a U.S. GME program. And beginning a GME program does not guarantee that an IMG will continue to progress through the program. Of all the IMGs who start the pathway, only those who are able to complete every requirement will ultimately succeed in obtaining an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States.
1 American Medical Association. Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the US, 2011 Edition, p. 4.
When you apply for Step 1 or Step 2 CK, you must select one of the testing regions from the list below where you will take the exam. Test centers offering Step 1/Step 2 CK were located in the countries listed below for each testing region. However, the availability of test centers is subject to change without notice. Before selecting your testing region, visit the Prometric website or contact Prometric for current information on the availability and location of test centers for Step 1 and Step 2 CK.
If you select a testing region other than the United States and Canada, you must pay the appropriate international test delivery surcharge for each exam for which you apply. This surcharge is in addition to the examination fee.
(effective January 14, 2016)