If you want to attend medical school, you might wonder if there’s a difference between medical schools in the United States vs. those in the Caribbean. Keep reading to discover the important ways in which they’re different and how they’re alike.
As an aspiring med student, you want to lay a firm foundation for your future residency and beyond. A Caribbean medical school can help you achieve your goals as competently as an American school.
Many people carry a bias against Caribbean medical schools because they view the United States of America as the gold standard for medical education.. They believe that the only reason a person would choose the Caribbean over the United States is because they weren’t good enough to get into a US school.
While hospitals and clinics don’t care what school you go to as long as it’s accredited, many patients only want care they perceive as the best. If you can move past your fears about what a patient might think, you can discover that attending school in the Caribbean comes with several advantages without risking your future.
What Are the Biggest Differences?
A Caribbean medical educational institution differs in a few primary ways from their American counterparts. However, the ways they differ are more positive than negative.
While getting a medical doctorate in the United States costs $250,000 on average, in the Caribbean, the average is around $120,000.
While you can see the obvious benefits of paying less in the short term, consider how it can help you get ahead of other future doctors after residency. Many new doctors must choose their post-residency careers based on the potential for loan forgiveness and often work undesirable jobs for a decade before finding the one they want.
If you have less debt from school, you can find a good placement, regardless of whether they offer loan forgiveness. This increases your experience and standing, no matter where you went to school, helping you achieve even better jobs or allowing you to open your practice sooner.
The downside of the bias in favor of American medical schools is the difficulty of getting into one. Depending on when results from the MCAT come in, some students wait between one to three years before acceptance. Because they’re perceived as being worse, Caribbean schools usually have openings.
Don’t put your life on hold. Consider applying for schools outside the United States.
A unique psychological phenomenon occurs in med students who receive their education in the Caribbean. Because they subconsciously believe they’re compensating for a perceived lack of quality in their education, they work harder.
Because your hard work is the most important factor in determining your future, Caribbean medical students often perform equally or better than their United States peers. They’re just as likely to own their practices, hold prestigious positions at medical schools, and rise to the top of their field.
How They’re Similar
Medical schools in the United States and the Caribbean are more alike than they are different.
A school’s match rate quantifies the percentage of students who receive offers for residency after completing their degree. The average match rate for a school in America is between 90 to 95%. In accredited Caribbean schools, the match rate is between 75-85%.
How important is that match rate differential? Many medical school teachers can tell who will find a match within the first year of medical school based on the student’s work ethic.
The difference in the match rate isn’t because the education is worse; it’s because Caribbean schools have more availability. While this doesn’t help the stigma against them, if you work hard, you won’t be in that bottom 15%.
No matter where you get your medical education, every graduate has to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination and board certification. Graduates of Caribbean medical schools perform just as well on these exams as their American-educated peers. While patients might not know about these tests, hospitals and residency programs care more about your test and licensing results than what accredited school you attended.
While their approach to practicing medicine can differ slightly, every accredited medical school, no matter the location, has the same curriculum. Anatomy, chemistry, and medical science are the same, guaranteeing the only real variable in your success is you.
St. James School of Medicine Provides a Quality Medical Education
If you haven’t considered attending medical school in the Caribbean, consider how it can set you up for success. Saint James School of Medicine offers two campuses in with an accredited, prestigious 10-semester program. We even offer a guarantee you’ll pass the first step of your USMLE.