Top IMG-Friendly Specialties for 2022 Match - IMGPrep

Top IMG-Friendly Specialties for 2022 Match

September 13, 2022


It’s common knowledge that some residency specialties are more IMG-friendly than others. Therefore, when applying for residency, International Medical Graduates (IMGs) have to account not just for their credentials but also for the competitiveness of their specialty.

For that, it’s imperative to study past trends and get an insight into the specialties that are more IMG friendly

Generally, the most IMG-friendly specialties are Pathology, Internal Medicine-Categorical, General Surgery Pre-Liminary, 

Here’s an overview of the most IMG-friendly specialties in the 2022 match. It will give you an idea of what to expect for 2023.

Top IMG Specialities for US and Non-US IMGs in 2022

As mentioned above, internal and family medicine are IMG-friendly. The same was reflected in the NRMP data for the 2022 match

Internal Medicine (Categorical) (1,162)Internal Medicine (Categorical) (2,545)
Family Medicine (777)Family Medicine (457)
Pediatrics (Categorical) (231)Pediatrics (Categorical) (375)
Psychiatry (188)Pathology (212)
Emergency Medicine (176)Neurology (200)

The results are similar to the 2021 match. It indicates that past trends can help IMGs determine which specialties are more suitable. 


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Top 10 IMG-Friendly Specialities by Ratio 2022

In 2021, pathology, general surgery, and internal medicine topped the charts for the most IMG-friendly specialties. Interestingly, the same trends were observed in 2022, except that internal medicine and general surgery swapped places, with internal medicine taking a higher ranking than general surgery. 

The table shows the top 10 IMG-friendly specialties as per the 2022 match. 

SpecialtyUS IMGNon-US IMGTotal Positions Filled IMG Percentage 
Pathology 6221261944.3% 
Internal Medicine (Categorical) 11332435891540% 
General Surgery (Preliminary) 6816763237.2% 
OB/GYN (Preliminary) 12933.3% 
Neurology 6416376129.8% 
Family Medicine 777457445127.7% 
Pediatrics 224350286120.1% 
Child Neurology 82215020% 

Top IMG-Friendly Positions for PGY-2 Positions 2022

PGY refers to postgraduate years. 2 is the years after medical school graduation. Thus, PGY-2 means the second year after medical school.

Here are the most IMG-friendly positions for PGY-2 positions in 2022. 

SpecialtyUS IMGNon-US IMG 
Radiation Oncology 913
Neurology 934
Anesthesiology 23
Physical Medicine & Rehab 87
Dermatology 56

Which Other Factors Affect IMG-Friendliness

When selecting medical specialties, you should not only consider past trends. Some other factors also increase or decrease the chances of matching into a particular specialty.

When Choosing which programs to apply to, applicants should consider their SUVY Scores, US Clinical Experience, Visa, and Year of Graduation.

USMLE Scores

Step 1 and step 2 CK scores are essential factors in the match process. While a high score does not guarantee a residency spot, a low score may make it difficult to match into your desired specialty.

Some programs are more forgiving of lower scores than others. For example, less competitive programs may likely overlook a low score if the rest of your application is strong.

On the other hand, more competitive programs may use your score as a way to weed out applicants. Therefore, it is vital to research the average Step 1 and Step 2 CK scores for the programs you are interested in.

Previous Work Experience to include Research

US Clinical experience is a minimum requirement for the majority of residency programs requesting a minimum of three letters of recommendation per application. IMGs who have previously worked in the United States may have an advantage over other applicants because they have had the opportunity to gain clinical experience and relationships with physicians in the United States. As research is one-third of the ERAS experience section, research experience is a manner in which to strengthen your application.

Final Words

When deciding on a specialty, it is essential to consider all factors affecting your chances of matching. These include, but are not limited to, the number of residency programs, 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. 

How to select the correct Residency Program with your unique SUVY?

IMGPrep Customized Residency Program filter by SUVY. IMGPrep’s lists treat each applicant as a unique individual and tailor results in a way that is truly unprecedented. No other program offers anything close to this degree of detail and analysis! 

Enter your SUVY, and let’s start identifying the most competitive U.S. Residency Programs for you!

To get started? Click here to see programs that match your SUVY!

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