Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match
To be certified by ECFMG, international medical graduates (IMGs) have been required to pass Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®). In response to the suspension of Step 2 CS by the USMLE program, we have identified pathways that will allow qualified IMGs who have not passed Step 2 CS to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification. These pathways allow ECFMG Certification to continue to perform its critical function of providing assurance to the public and U.S. graduate medical education (GME) programs that IMGs are ready to enter supervised training.
These pathways are directed toward IMGs who intend to enter the 2021 Match. Pathway applicants must meet all other requirements for ECFMG Certification. Eligible IMGs can apply using the Application for Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match.
Please note: The deadline for submission of a pathways application was December 31, 2020. Please be advised that due to the time required to process applications, if your application is submitted after December 31, 2020, ECFMG may be unable to determine the outcome of your pathways application in time for you to participate in the 2021 Match.
Please note: Applicants who have a passing performance on USMLE Step 2 CS that is valid for ECFMG Certification and/or are certified by ECFMG are ineligible for the pathways. These individuals do not need to pursue the pathways to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification or to participate in the 2021 Match, and they do not need to read the following information.
English Language Proficiency Assessment
Applicants who pursue one of the following pathways will be required to attain a satisfactory score on an English language proficiency assessment. All applicants, regardless of citizenship, will be required to satisfy this requirement. ECFMG will accept the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine to satisfy the English language proficiency requirement.
See the English Language Proficiency Assessment page for more information.
Obtaining Permanent ECFMG Certification
ECFMG Certificates based on one of the pathways listed below will expire if the applicant does not enter a U.S. GME program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for the 2021-2022 academic year. Once the applicant successfully completes the first year of ACGME-accredited training, the certificate is no longer subject to expiration.
Eligibility for All Pathways
Applicants who are eligible to pursue ECFMG Certification based on one of the pathways include those who:
- Do not have a passing performance on Step 2 CS that is valid for ECFMG Certification.
- Are not barred by ECFMG from pursuing certification.
- Are not barred by USMLE from taking a Step or Step Component from August 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021.
- Have not failed a USMLE Step or Step Component (Step 1, Step 2 CK, or Step 2 CS) two or more times.
- Have taken or been registered for any USMLE Step or Step Component since January 1, 2018.
In addition to meeting the requirements in Eligibility for All Pathways above, pathway applicants also must meet all requirements for the pathway to which they apply. Please refer to the detailed eligibility requirements for each pathway at the links below.
- Pathway 1: Already Licensed to Practice Medicine in Another Country
Pathway 1 is intended for applicants who currently hold or have recently held a license/registration to practice medicine and/or participate in postgraduate medical education. Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements for Pathway 1 must apply to Pathway 1.
See the Pathway 1 page for more information.
- Pathway 2: Already Passed a Standardized Clinical Skills Exam for Medical Licensure
This pathway is intended for applicants who are not eligible for Pathway 1, but who successfully completed a secure, standardized clinical skills exam as a requirement for medical licensure or registration in a country other than the United States.
See the Pathway 2 page for more information.
- Pathway 3: Medical School Accredited by Agency Recognized by World Federation for Medical Education (WFME)
- Pathway 4: Medical School Participates in U.S. Federal Student Loan Program or Is Accredited by an Agency that Has Received a Determination of Comparability by the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA)
- Pathway 5: Medical School Issues Degree Jointly with a U.S. Medical School Accredited by Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
Pathways 3, 4, and 5 are intended for applicants who have not yet obtained a license/registration to practice medicine without supervision (Pathway 1) and who have not already passed an acceptable standardized clinical skills exam for medical licensure (Pathway 2). An applicant to Pathway 3, 4, or 5 must be a student or a recent graduate of a medical school that meets eligibility requirements established by ECFMG.
See the page for Pathways 3, 4, and 5 for more information.
ECFMG will consider exceptions to certain pathway eligibility requirements for limited and specific reasons.
See the Exceptions page for more information.
The preceding information is current as of January 14, 2021 and is subject to change. Please visit the ECFMG website frequently for updates regarding these requirements.