Anyone who has ever tried to get somewhere in rush-hour traffic knows that there are benefits to alternate routes. They still get you where you want to go; but, while they may be indirect, these alternate pathways can get you where you want to go quicker, easier, and with less stress.
Alternative pathways exist for many international healthcare professionals.
These alternative pathways often provide a faster pathway to employment in healthcare, earning money, and securing a green card † — while still allowing you to pursue your long-term dreams.
Surgeons: Consider becoming a First Assistant or Surgical Tech.
Start earning money AND network with US surgeons while working on your USMLEs.
Physicians: Consider a Nursing or Medical Assisting track.
US Nurse Practitioners often have scopes of practice comparable to physicians.
Medical Assisting gets you caring for patients and networking with US physicians.
Some states are creating licensure fast-tracks for IMGs with US experience.
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This is a hard question to answer — because it depends upon individual circumstances and personal perspective.
Will it take more time?: Yes
If you consider the alternative pathway to be an additional step… Yes, you are adding to your overall timeline; BUT, you may be gaining benefits such as: faster return to clincal work, faster return to earning money for you and your family, quicker enhancement of immigration status †, and greater opportunity to network with US physicians.
Will you "lose" time?: Not if it is something you really want to do and work hard to achieve it
There is no such thing as "losing" if you are moving forward towards your aspirations.
Will it make it harder to match?: It depends
It is true that many medical residency programs prefer applicants who are less than 5 or 10 years since graduating from medical school. Taking time to pursue an alternative pathway MIGHT be a factor to consider. You should discuss this with a DRN Education advisor and factor this into your decision.
Some do. Some do not.
That is one of the things which you will need to consider when thinking about pursuing an alternative pathway.
For DRN Education programs: We can let you know whether a program is eligible for an I-20.
For partner programs: We can advise you on whether a program typically issues I-20's, but we can never guarantee issuance by another school or program.
† See Legal Notices for important information.