When deciding your specialties for the 2023 match, it’s essential to know which specialties have been IMG-friendly in the past. IMG-friendly means that a specialty has historically been quite receptive to training applicants who are international medical graduates.
A US IMG is a US citizen/Green Card holder who completed medical school outside the United States. Meanwhile, a Non-US IMG is a foreign national who has attended medical school outside the united states
According to the NRMP (National Residency Matching Program), these were the top five IMG friendly specialties for both IMG types.
|Top 5 US IMG-Friendly Specialities||Top 5 Non-US IMG-Friendly Specialities|
|Internal Medicine (categorical) (1,204)Family Medicine (781)Pediatrics (categorical) (223)Psychiatry (176)Emergency Medicine (143)||Internal Medicine (categorical) (2,212)Family Medicine (443)Pediatrics (categorical) (329)Pathology (231)Neurology (179)|
The numbers in brackets show the number of matches in every specialty. As evident, internal medicine and family medicine top the list in both cases.
Meanwhile, pediatrics takes third place. While US IMGs are more likely to get into psychiatry and emergency medicine, non-US IMGs had better outcomes from pathology and neurology.
Besides the number of IMGs selected in each specialty, it’s also important to consider the ratio. NRMP data shows that IMGs were selected mainly in pathology, general surgery, internal medicine (categorical), neurology, family medicine, pediatrics, and child neurology.
Here are the top 10 IMG-friendly specialties by ratio.
|Specialty||US IMG||Non-US IMG||Total Filled Positions||IMG Percentage|
|General Surgery (Preliminary)||78||191||612||44%|
|Internal Medicine (Categorical)||1204||2212||8632||39.6%|
|General Surgery (Categorical)||83||73||1564||10%|
PGY-2 positions refer to second-year positions in a medical residency program. In order to be eligible for a PGY-2 position, candidates must have completed a minimum of one year in a PGY-1 program.
NRMP data indicates that PGY-2 positions are not very friendly for IMG applicants. Here are a few specialties with relatively higher IMG acceptance rates.
|Specialty||US IMG||Non-US IMG|
|Physical Medicine and Rehab||15||13|
In total, 92 US and 193 Non-US IMGs were selected for PGY-2 positions.
Statistics are the primary criteria to judge the friendliness of a specialty for an IMG. However, there are some other factors IMGs must consider to determine how likely they are to be eligible for a particular specialty.
IUSCE US Clinical experience with letters of recommendation showing acclimation to the US clinical environment and commitment to specialty
For instance, if you’re applying for family medicine or neurology, it would help you to have prior clinical experience in FM with a letter of recommendation from a Family Medicine Physician.
The United States Medical Licensing Examination, or USMLE, is a three-step exam all medical students and graduates must take before practicing medicine in the United States.
The first two steps of the USMLE assess your knowledge of the basic sciences and clinical sciences, respectively. The third step is a clinical skills examination.
Some specialties require higher USMLE scores than others. To see sample populations of score averages per specialty the NRMP publishes their annual charting outcomes broken down by type of applicant. USMLE scores may be one of the first things residency programs look at.
Letters of recommendation from physicians you have worked with in the past can also play a role in your residency application. Letters of recommendation are weighted in two rounds of selection; Personal Characteristics and Other Knowledge of Applicants Considered in Deciding Whom to Interview and Personal Characteristics and Other Knowledge of Applicants Considered in Deciding Whom to Rank
For example, if you’re applying for a residency in Neurology it would be important to have a letter of recommendation from a neurologist you have worked with. The letter would provide insight into your clinical skills and abilities and illustrate commitment to specialty, which goes beyond your USMLE scores.
It’s important when choosing programs to apply to look closely at the current residents.
If a specific program has a history of not matching any IMGs, then it is likely that the programs will do the same this year.
When deciding on a specialty, it is essential to consider all factors affecting your chances of matching. These include, but are not limited to,USMLE scores, number of publications, and previous work experience all of which factor into your unique SUVY Scores US Clinical Experience Visa and Year of Graduation.
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IMGPrep is a leading educational consulting firm dedicated to assisting IMGs in reaching their goals, dreams, and potential. Check out our other Articles and learn more about IMGPrep services at: www.IMGPrep.com.
IMGprep is not associated with the NRMP® or the MATCH® ECFMG®