ECFMG’s 2022 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and Application Materials Now Available

ECFMG’s 2022 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and the 2022 exam application materials for international medical students/graduates (IMGs) are now available on the ECFMG website. The ECFMG Information Booklet is the definitive source of information on ECFMG Certification and is required reading for applicants.

To be eligible for ECFMG Certification, IMGs must satisfy a number of requirements, including the medical science examination requirement, the clinical skills requirement, and the communication skills requirement.

  • To meet the medical science examination requirement for ECFMG Certification, applicants must pass Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®).
  • To meet the clinical skills requirement and communication skills requirement for ECFMG Certification, applicants must:
    • Complete an ECFMG Pathway, which includes attaining a satisfactory score on the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine, OR
    • Have earned a passing performance on the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of USMLE that satisfies ECFMG requirements for ECFMG Certification.

Application Materials and USMLE Step 1/Step 2 CK Eligibility Periods

For USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK, applicants can use the 2022 materials to apply for all available eligibility periods ending in 2021 and all eligibility periods ending in 2022, beginning with the November 2021-January 2022 eligibility period.

Please monitor the ECFMG website, and follow ECFMG on Facebook and Twitter for updates and important information.

(published July 28; updated August 11)

OET@Home Available in August on Limited Basis

OET@Home, a version of the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine that can be taken at home through remote proctoring, is available to certain Pathways applicants for test dates in August. OET@Home is available only to applicants who do not have a physical test venue (for paper-based or computer-based testing) in their country. Applicants with a test venue in their country should plan to take OET on paper or OET on computer at a physical test center to ensure that they test in time to meet Pathways requirements for participation in the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) 2022 Main Residency Match® (The Match®). Please  visit Test Dates and Locations on the OET website to determine whether there is a test venue in your country.

Eligible applicants can book OET@Home now on the OET website. If you have questions regarding OET@Home, please contact OET.

About the Pathways

The 2022 Pathways allow qualified international medical graduates (IMGs) who have not passed the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) to meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification and for participation in the 2022 Match. A satisfactory score on OET Medicine is required for IMGs applying to a 2022 Pathway. To meet ECFMG’s requirements, applicants must attain a minimum score of 350 (Grade B) on each of the four measured sub-tests of OET Medicine (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking) in one test administration. Applicants must take OET Medicine on or before the last scheduled test date in December 2021. See the ECFMG website for more information.

Update: MyECFMG Mobile App

ECFMG®|FAIMER® is no longer updating the MyECFMG mobile app, and it is no longer available for download in the App Store and for many individuals in Google Play. If you already have the MyECFMG mobile app, it may not function as intended with your mobile device or platform. If it is functioning for you, you may continue to use it. If you have used the MyECFMG mobile app recently to submit documentation to ECFMG, you do not need to resubmit that documentation.

To access certain account information and perform certain functions that may no longer be supported by the MyECFMG mobile app, please use the ECFMG website and ECFMG’s on-line services such as the On-line Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS) and Interactive Web Applications (IWA).

Applicants for ECFMG Certification who do not have the MyECFMG mobile app and who need to submit their Final Medical Diploma and related documents to ECFMG to meet the medical education credentials requirements for ECFMG Certification can use the free ECFMG Credentials Upload Tool or submit them by mail using information provided in the applicable edition of the ECFMG Information Booklet.

 

 

All IMGs Pursuing ECFMG Certification Must Meet Current Requirements

Effective April 15, 2021, all international medical graduates (IMGs) who were not certified by ECFMG as of that date must meet the current requirements for ECFMG Certification, regardless of what the requirements were at the time they initially applied to ECFMG. This means that ECFMG no longer accepts former examinations for the purpose of ECFMG Certification and individuals are no longer exempted from the current requirements for Certification. The following former exams are no longer accepted:

  • ECFMG Examination;
  • Federation Licensing Examination (FLEX);
  • Visa Qualifying Examination (VQE);
  • Foreign Medical Graduate Examination in the Medical Sciences (FMGEMS);
  • NBME Part I and Part II; and
  • ECFMG Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA).

This change does not impact IMGs who already have been certified by ECFMG based on former exams. The Standard ECFMG Certificates of such individuals remain valid.

 Current Examination Requirements

  • To meet the medical science examination requirement for ECFMG Certification, applicants must pass Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®).
  • To meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification, applicants must:
    • Complete an ECFMG|FAIMER Pathway, OR
    • Have a passing performance on the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of USMLE that is valid for ECFMG Certification.

 Time limits and other rules apply to the examination requirements for ECFMG Certification. Please refer to the ECFMG Information Booklet for more information.

Match Day Adds 7,500+ International Medical Graduates to U.S. GME Programs

International Medical Graduate (IMG) Performance in the 2020 Main Residency Match
(Click to enlarge)

More than 7,500 international medical graduates (IMGs) obtained first-year residency positions in U.S. programs of graduate medical education (GME), an increase of 132 from last year, according to results of the 2021 Main Residency Match® announced Friday by the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®). The number of first-year residency positions offered in the 2021 Match increased by 928 (2.7%) to 35,194 over 2020.

The 7,508 IMGs who matched represent an overall IMG match rate of 57% in this highly competitive process. Of the IMGs who matched, 3,152 are U.S. citizens, a decrease of two, compared to last year. The number of positions obtained by foreign national IMGs is 4,356, an increase of 134 compared to last year. The match rates for U.S.-citizen and foreign national IMGs are 59.5% and 54.8%, respectively. An infographic on IMG performance in the 2021 Match can be found here.

The journey to the 2021 Match for IMGs was fraught with changes and challenges spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, including worldwide disruptions to medical education and changes to the certification process for IMGs. Despite the challenges, William W. Pinsky, MD, President and CEO of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates | Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (ECFMG®|FAIMER®), said that he was pleased with the outcome of the Match for IMGs.

“ECFMG|FAIMER succeeded in ensuring an applicant pool of international medical graduates for the Match that was ample, diverse, and highly qualified, which is vital for the U.S. health care system,” Dr. Pinsky said. “IMGs play an important role in providing supervised patient care, contribute much needed diversity to our nation’s health care system, and help to address the nation’s growing physician shortage that is being exacerbated by the pandemic.”

ECFMG|FAIMER assesses the readiness of IMGs before they enter U.S. GME. The program for certifying IMGs is a rigorous process that includes passing components of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®), the same examinations required of U.S. medical school students and graduates, and demonstration of clinical and communication skills. As part of the certification process, ECFMG|FAIMER also verifies the authenticity of IMGs’ medical education credentials, including their medical diplomas, directly with the issuing medical schools. Only IMGs who are certified by ECFMG can enter accredited U.S. GME programs.

Beginning in March 2020, the pandemic forced the suspension and eventual permanent discontinuation of the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of USMLE, which had been used by IMGs to demonstrate the clinical and communication skills required for ECFMG Certification. ECFMG|FAIMER moved quickly to develop five pathways to allow qualified IMGs who had not passed Step 2 CS to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification and participation in the 2021 Match. The pathways were critical to producing a robust IMG applicant pool for this Match. Approximately 6,000 IMGs who registered for the 2021 Match completed a pathway; this represents one-third of the total number of IMGs in the Match.

“Appropriate clinical and communication skills are essential for physicians who participate in U.S. graduate medical education,” Dr. Pinsky said. “The pathways ensure that the U.S. public and the U.S. GME community can continue to rely on ECFMG Certification as an indicator that IMGs are ready to enter U.S. GME and to provide supervised patient care.”

For the 2022 Match, ECFMG|FAIMER is expanding the pathways for IMGs to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification. With the addition of a sixth pathway and changes to certain eligibility requirements, ECFMG|FAIMER expects that more IMGs will be eligible to pursue a pathway for the Match.

“The expansion of the pathways currently underway for the 2022 Match will ensure the continuity and integrity of ECFMG Certification and the vital service it provides to the U.S. public, the U.S. GME community, and to qualified IMGs who pursue training in our nation’s teaching hospitals,” Dr. Pinsky said.

Update on Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match

As announced on January 26, 2021, ECFMG®|FAIMER® will offer expanded pathways for international medical graduates (IMGs) to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification and to participate in the 2022 National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) Main Residency Match® (The Match®). On February 16, 2021, ECFMG|FAIMER published additional information on the 2022 pathways, including:

  • information on who should use the pathways;
  • general eligibility requirements for all pathways;
  • information on the individual pathways, including the new sixth pathway;
  • expected availability of the on-line application; and
  • important information for 2021 pathway applicants.

To access the updated information, visit Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match.

Additional information, including detailed eligibility requirements and application instructions, will be published as it becomes available. Please monitor the ECFMG website for updates.

ECFMG|FAIMER Will Offer Expanded Pathways for 2022 Match

ECFMG®|FAIMER® will expand its pathways for international medical graduates (IMGs) to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification and to participate in the 2022 National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) Main Residency Match® (The Match®). The pathways evaluate IMGs’ clinical and communication skills—skills that are critically important to participate in U.S. graduate medical education (GME) and to provide supervised patient care.

Until mid-March 2020, IMGs were required to pass Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) to satisfy the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification. The USMLE program suspended Step 2 CS in March of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently indicated that it would take 12-18 months to bring back a modified Step 2 CS exam. In June 2020, ECFMG|FAIMER established five pathways to allow IMGs who had not passed Step 2 CS to meet ECFMG’s clinical and communication requirements and to participate in the 2021 Match (in March 2021). On January 26, 2021, the USMLE program announced that it had decided to discontinue the Step 2 CS exam.

In establishing the pathways, ECFMG|FAIMER has ensured that ECFMG Certification continues to perform the critical role for which the program was established more than 60 years ago—assessing the readiness of IMGs to enter U.S. GME. Clinical and communication skills are essential components of this readiness, and an evaluation of these skills always has been required for ECFMG Certification due to the variety in medical education systems at more than 3,000 medical schools around the world. The pathways ensure that the U.S. public and the U.S. GME community can continue to rely on ECFMG Certification as an indicator that IMGs are ready to enter U.S. GME and to provide supervised patient care.

The ECFMG|FAIMER pathways for the 2021 Match succeeded in producing an IMG applicant pool that is ample, diverse, and highly qualified. ECFMG expects to certify approximately 5,000 IMGs based on one of these pathways leading up to the July 1, 2021 start date for U.S. GME programs. Overall, more than 19,000 IMGs have applied to residency positions beginning in 2021 through the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®).

The expansion of the pathways currently underway for the 2022 Match ensures the continuity and integrity of ECFMG Certification and the vital service it provides to the U.S. public, the U.S. GME community, and to qualified IMGs who pursue training in our nation’s teaching hospitals.

The pathways for IMGs planning to participate in the 2022 Match (in March 2022) will expand on the pathways that were established for the 2021 Match. The existing five pathways will continue to be offered with some modifications. ECFMG|FAIMER has identified an additional pathway for evaluation of clinical skills. As a result of the addition of this sixth pathway and changes to certain eligibility requirements, we expect more IMGs to be eligible to pursue a pathway for the 2022 Match. Detailed information on eligibility is not yet available; please monitor the ECFMG website since we expect to publish guidelines very soon.

Consistent with the requirements for the existing pathways, IMGs who pursue one of the six pathways for the 2022 Match will be required to pass the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine to satisfy pathway requirements. OET Medicine is designed specifically for physicians, in consultation with physicians. The test assesses the health care-specific English language competency of physicians. It emphasizes the type of language physicians will need to communicate effectively in a clinical setting with peers and patients, including the ability to show empathy and to break down complex medical terminology and procedures into simpler language.

Who Should Use the Pathways?

The six pathways for the 2022 Match are intended for IMGs who need to meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification and who plan to participate in the 2022 Match (in March 2022).

IMGs who applied to a pathway for the 2021 Match and whose 2021 application was rejected can reapply to a pathway for the 2022 Match. Please see “Important Information for 2021 Pathways Applicants,” below.

The following individuals already have satisfied the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification and therefore do not need to pursue a pathway to meet these requirements or to participate in the 2022 Match:

  • IMGs who have a passing performance on Step 2 CS that is valid for ECFMG Certification,
  • IMGs who are certified by ECFMG, and
  • IMGs with an approved pathways 2021 application.

 Application to the pathways for the 2022 Match is not yet available. Please monitor the ECFMG website for information on the availability of the on-line application for the expanded pathways.

Important Information for 2021 Pathways Applicants

If your pathway application for the 2021 Match is approved and you do not enter U.S. GME in 2021, you will not be required to apply for a pathway for the 2022 Match. Your previously accepted pathway application will remain valid for the 2022 Match.

If you applied to a pathway for the 2021 Match and your application is rejected, you can pursue a pathway for the 2022 Match, provided you meet all eligibility requirements, but you will be required to reapply. Please monitor the ECFMG website for information on the timeline to reapply.

More Information on Pathways for 2022 Match

ECFMG|FAIMER is developing detailed information on eligibility and application procedures, including documentation requirements. ECFMG also is preparing the on-line pathways application to accept applications from IMGs who plan to participate in the 2022 Match. Please monitor the ECFMG website, since updates will be posted as they become available.

Please contact the USMLE Program with any questions on its decision to discontinue Step 2 CS and any other USMLE-related inquiries.

USMLE Program Discontinues Step 2 CS

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program announced today that it has discontinued work to relaunch a modified Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination. In the spring of 2020, the USMLE program suspended Step 2 CS due to the COVID-19 pandemic and announced that it would take 12-18 months to bring back a modified Step 2 CS exam. In today’s announcement, the USMLE program indicated that it has no plans to bring back Step 2 CS and that it would use this change in direction to take additional time to partner with the medical education and medical board community to better develop innovative ways to assess the breadth of clinical skills in medicine. Please contact the USMLE Program with any questions on this decision and with any other USMLE-related inquiries.

Prior to the suspension of Step 2 CS, IMGs were required to pass this exam to meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification and to pursue U.S. graduate medical education (GME). Today, ECFMG®|FAIMER® announced that it is expanding its pathways that allow qualified IMGs to meet these requirements for ECFMG Certification and to continue to pursue U.S. GME. Detailed information is under development and will be posted on ECFMG’s website very soon. Please monitor the 2022 pathways web page on the ECFMG website for the latest information.

Fee Increases for 2021

Effective January 1, 2021, fees for the following ECFMG applications/service requests will increase:

  • The fee for Application for ECFMG Certification will be $150.
  • The examination fees for United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) will be $975 for each exam registration.
  • The fee for a Certification Verification Service (CVS) request will be $60.
  • The fee for an application for J-1 visa sponsorship will be $360.
  • The fee to establish an Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPICSM) account and confirm identity will be $130.
  • The fee to verify a credential through EPIC will be $100.
  • The fee to request an EPIC Report will be $50.
    • For credentials submitted to EPIC on or after January 10, 2018, the first report requested for each credential will remain free.
    • For credentials submitted to EPIC prior to January 10, 2018, the first report requested for each credential will remain $15.
    • For a previously verified credential, reports will be $50.

The new fees will be assessed for all applications/requests submitted to ECFMG on or after January 1, 2021 (Eastern Time in the United States). All fees are listed in U.S. dollars.

For more information on the fees associated with applying for ECFMG Certification and for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK, refer to the ECFMG 2021 Information Booklet and the Fees page of the ECFMG website.

For more information on the fees associated with EPIC, refer to the Fees page on the EPIC website.

ECFMG|FAIMER Is Planning Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match

In a podcast released today, the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program provided updates on the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) exam, which has been suspended since March 2020. The podcast does not provide, at this time, a specific time for launch of the modified exam.

ECFMG|FAIMER is partnering with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB)—co-sponsors of USMLE—on this critical project and monitoring developments carefully. We continue to advocate for the interests and needs of international medical students and graduates (IMGs). Prior to the suspension, IMGs relied on Step 2 CS to meet the clinical skills requirement for ECFMG Certification, in order to participate in the National Resident Matching Program (“the Match”) to enter U.S. programs of graduate medical education (GME).

ECFMG|FAIMER is committed to the continued smooth operation of its certification program and the ability of qualified IMGs to pursue and participate in U.S. GME without interruption. We are planning actively for the requirements for ECFMG Certification for the 2022 Match (March 2022) and will publish detailed information as soon as it is available.

For the 2021 Match (March 2021), thousands of IMGs are in the process of completing the  requirements for ECFMG Certification, including approximately 5,500 IMGs pursuing requirements for one of five pathways that ECFMG|FAIMER developed to allow IMGs who have not passed Step 2 CS to meet the clinical skills requirement for ECFMG Certification. More than 1,100 ECFMG Certificates have been issued to IMGs who have satisfied the clinical skills requirement for ECFMG Certification based on a pathway. These successful pathway applicants are in addition to the IMGs we continue to certify on an ongoing basis.

We recognize that many IMGs continue to have questions and concerns, and we are mindful of the need to provide you with additional information on the requirements for ECFMG Certification for the 2022 Match as soon as possible so that you can plan and prepare.

In the interim, ECFMG|FAIMER encourages IMGs to continue to pursue the other continuing requirements for ECFMG Certification, such as passing Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and to monitor the ECFMG website for updates.