Caribbean medical schools have long been the butt of jokes but their graduates are the ones having the last laugh. There are thousands of licensed physicians from Caribbean schools practicing all across the country. Over 25% of all doctors in the US are from international schools. Do you know where your primary care physician went to medical school? This is the field where Caribbean graduates are expected to dominate with a large percentage of graduates training in Internal and Family Medicine. They are expected to fill a nationwide shortage that is currently occupied by Physicians Assistants and Nurse Practitioners.
Picture this. A 17 year old high school graduate enrolls in a pre-medical program at a Caribbean university. Schools will automatically accept students to their medical programs as long as they maintain a certain GPA in the pre-program. This means there is no need to take the MCAT so you can save yourself the headaches from preparing for that. The program is completed in 2 years and the student enrolls in the first year of the medical degree program at 19 years old.
Numerous Caribbean schools offer an accelerated curriculum that divide the year into trimesters. Students attend school year round and are able to complete their M.D. in less than 36 months. Not to mention you only spend 18 months studying on the island. The clinical years are spent training alongside American medical student at hospitals in the US. St. George’s medical school has hospital affiliations that match any US school. Our fictional student graduates with his Doctorate in Medicine at the ripe age of 22 (going on 23).
Our new graduate is eligible to practice in any state in the country as long as he attended one of the “Big 4” Caribbean medical schools (St. George’s University, Saba University, Ross University and American University of the Caribbean). Internal Medicine residencies last 3 years so we have a residency trained physician ready for board exams, licenses and employment at a mere 25 years old. Not quite Doogie Howser but it’s impressive to say the least.
This accelerated path also benefits those seeking a new career or chasing their dream of being a doctor. Time is of the essence and wasting summers off in the traditional semester system is not time well spent. Caribbean medical schools are littered with nurses, pharmacists, dentists, chiropractors and many other health care practitioners. Many schools offer several different entrance times during the year giving flexibility for students who want to begin their medical education immediately.
There is risk involved in attending a medical school overseas but there have been thousands who have blazed the trail before you and set the precedent. Caribbean medical schools produce capable physicians and fill an integral need in the health care system of the US.