Career Pathways

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Indonesia[edit]

United States of America[edit]

UGM is listed on IMED FAIMER and that means a medical degree from UGM is recognized in the United States. However, to practice in the US, a medical degree is not sufficient; even a medical degree from an American university is not sufficient. All doctors need to first pass a series of exams called the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examinations). After that, they can be accepted into a residency program in the US and get a visa to live and work there. Specialization is mandatory in the USA and obtained after completing a residency program.

Here is the full career pathway for UGM students:

  1. Complete at least two or three years of medical school studies at UGM.
  2. USMLE Step 1:
    1. Prepare for the USMLE Step 1, an exam similar to our CBT exams but lasting the whole day. Studying for this exam takes approximately six months.
    2. Create an ECFMG account and register to write the USMLE Step 1. The test can be scheduled to be written at any Prometric testing center such as one in Jakarta or Surabaya.
    3. Two to four weeks after writing the USMLE Step 1 exam, you will receive the result in the mail in the form of a three digit number.
    4. Check the NRMP (National Residency Matching Program) data to see if your result is good enough to continue. If the result is bad, consider repeating the USMLE Step 1, although it is not absolutely necessary.
    5. The USMLE Step 1 is valid for seven years. That means you must complete medical school, write the remaining USMLE tests, and get into a residency program within seven years after writing the Step 1.
  3. USMLE Step 2:
    1. USMLE Step 2 consists of two exams, a CBT exam and an exam similar to our OSCE, called Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Clinical Skills (CS) respectively.
    2. The best time to write the USMLE Step 2 exams is immediately after koas.
    3. USMLE Step 2 CK can be done in a testing center in Indonesia similar to USMLE Step 1, but USMLE Step 2 CS requires travel to the US. Write the USMLE Step 2 CK first.
    4. Schedule the USMLE Step 2 CS and select a date at least three months later. This is to allow time to process your visa.
    5. (This step is not required for Singaporean passport holders) Contact the US embassy in Jakarta to schedule an appointment for an interview for a visa application. Take along the paperwork sent to you relating to the USMLE Step 2 CS.
    6. Book a flight to arrive in the US city where you have scheduled the USMLE Step 2 CS. Arrive at least three days in advance.
  4. Get the ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) certification. It is a requirement for USMLE Step 3.
  5. Residency matching:
    1. Once you receive the result for USMLE Step 2 CK and CS, register on the NRMP for the next match.
    2. Depending on your USMLE scores, you will be matched automatically with (hopefully) several residency programs in various places in the US.
    3. Many residency programs require in-person interviews so you may need to fly to the US again. Ideally, you should attend several interviews in the same trip. It is a good idea to take letters of recommendation (from as many professors and doctors as possible), information about extra-curricular activities, and a big smile and strong handshake. The interviews tend to be technical and often competitive; for example, one interview required participants to suture a lacerated orange.
  6. H1B or J1 Visa:
    1. Once you have been accepted into a residency program, you need a visa in order to freely live and work in the US.
    2. Schedule to write the USMLE Step 3. It is a requirement for the H1B visa. It is better to write the USMLE Step 3 during the residency matching stage.
    3. The J1 visa is sponsored by ECFMG while the H1B has to be sponsored by the residency program. That is why it is easier to obtain the J1 visa. However, the H1B visa, if you can convince the residency program manager to sponsor it, will allow for much easier transition to eventual American citizenship later on.

Why USA?[edit]

Unlike in Indonesia, residency programs in the United States actually pay salaries. Furthermore, physician salaries in the US are the highest in the world. Nonetheless, many people are deterred by the high price of the USMLE exams and the cost of traveling to the US.

See Also[edit]