What Does MBBS Abroad Entail?
In cases where students are unable to secure MBBS seats in Pakistan, many of them explore opportunities in other countries. Consequently, pursuing an MBBS degree in a foreign country presents a viable option for those aspiring to become doctors. However, students often contemplate the various career paths available after completing MBBS abroad. Thus, this article aims to discuss the diverse job prospects and the scope of MBBS for students who have pursued their medical education overseas.
Numerous Pakistani students still hold the belief that without pursuing a PG, MD, or MS, there are no career avenues following MBBS abroad. However, this is a misconception prevailing among medical students. Moreover, you may have come across the notion that “a career in medicine is exceptionally challenging.” Given the intensified competition, MBBS is no longer regarded as the ultimate qualification in the medical field. Consequently, medical students who have studied MBBS overseas should explore alternative career options that are equally rewarding.
“Wear the white coat with honor and dignity, as it signifies the privilege of serving the public as a physician.”
Completing your education at a renowned foreign medical university is a remarkable accomplishment for any medical student, after enduring five to six years of intense study and training away from home. When you initially embarked on your journey to study MBBS abroad, you carried your aspirations with you. Now, through your hard work, dedication, and perseverance, you have achieved this milestone, opening the door to a new chapter in your life. The sense of pride that comes with donning the white coat and the exhilaration of embarking on a journey to alleviate pain and suffering in people’s lives is indescribable for new doctors.
Now is the time to explore the vast opportunities awaiting you in the field of medicine, as you stand on the brink of realizing your dreams. Medical graduates are never short of career prospects, given the growing demand for physicians worldwide. While many foreign medical graduates choose to contribute to the healthcare sector in their home country, others seek to utilize their qualifications in unique ways.
Numerous career opportunities are available to Indian students who have completed MBBS abroad. These include:
- Medical Practice
The primary objective for international medical students is to practice medicine in their home country. Renowned medical universities in countries like Russia, Bangladesh, Armenia, and the Caribbean not only provide high-quality medical education to their international MBBS students but also prepare them for various medical licensure exams such as FMGE, USMLE, PLAB, and others. These exams enable students to obtain a medical license and pursue their medical practice in their home country. Joining the healthcare sector of their nation is a moment of pride as they can now fulfill their desire to serve their homeland, contribute to the well-being of their community, and make a positive impact.
- Hospital Administration
A specialization that has garnered significant interest among medical graduates in India and abroad is pursuing an MBA in Hospital Management or Healthcare Management. This two-year postgraduate program focuses on training students for administrative and managerial positions within healthcare organizations or hospitals.
The healthcare industry is experiencing a growing demand for skilled and qualified professionals in management roles. The expansion of the healthcare sector and the increasing number of hospitals have created opportunities for competent hospital managers. These professionals are responsible for overseeing and guiding various departments, including nursing, physicians, healthcare information, and medical records. Their duties encompass staying updated on relevant regulations, enhancing healthcare facilities, and presenting hospital resources to regulatory bodies.
- Medical-Legal Consultants
For new doctors who wish to broaden their professional horizons, take a temporary career break, or transition away from clinical medicine entirely, the field of medico-legal advisory work presents an appealing choice. With an increasing number of legal proceedings involving the healthcare system each year, the role of medical-legal advisors is gaining popularity.
Medico-legal advisors are tasked with various responsibilities, including preventing clinical negligence claims, conducting thorough fact-checking before submitting information to solicitors, facilitating alternative dispute resolution, preparing clinicians to provide testimony in court, offering emergency advice to doctors in challenging situations, and educating healthcare professionals on legal processes to enhance patient care.
- Medical Tourism
Medical tourism, also known as health tourism, involves individuals who act as intermediaries between patients and healthcare service providers to ensure a positive experience for the former throughout the entire process. These facilitators play crucial roles as organizers, educators, advocates, and more, ensuring the safe and seamless care of international patients. They handle various aspects of the patient’s trip, including travel arrangements, hotel bookings, transportation, selecting the most suitable destination, coordinating with doctors regarding medical records, and scheduling appointments.
Given that not all medical tourists are proficient in the language spoken in the country where they seek medical treatment, medical tourism facilitators ensure effective communication between the patient and the hospital staff.
- Public Healthcare
The Master of Public Health (MPH) program encompasses various aspects of public health services at both governmental and grassroots levels. This course encourages students to develop comprehensive skills in integrated interdisciplinary areas such as public health leadership and management, epidemiology and biostatistics, evidence-based policy and healthcare, health policy and systems, diversity and culture, health communication, public health biology, program management and planning, and systems thinking and environmental health sciences. For medical graduates, obtaining an MPH degree complements their skill set and provides them with a competitive advantage.
Physician-MPH combines two crucial elements: patient education and preventive care. This qualification equips individuals with the expertise to organize awareness and education programs for patients, thereby reducing the spread of chronic illnesses and contagious diseases.
- Sports Medicine
The Doctor of Sports Medicine, also known as MD (Sports Medicine), is a three-year postgraduate program focused on physical fitness, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sports-related injuries. The National Medical Commission has provided guidelines for a Competency-Based Postgraduate Training Program for MD in Sports Medicine.
Sports medicine specialists have diverse roles and responsibilities. They provide medical consultations to diagnose and treat patients with injuries resulting from physical activities. They work with athletes, providing specialized care for muscle injuries and addressing any concerns. Some specialists focus on treating hamstring injuries in contact-based sports, while others, such as sports psychologists, support professional athletes in managing mental health issues. Additionally, orthopedic specialists play a crucial role in diagnosing, treating, and managing musculoskeletal problems related to sports.
- Medical Journalism & Medical Writing
Medical writing is regarded as a prestigious profession for those who have pursued MBBS abroad. It involves creating and producing written materials related to healthcare or medicine. As the field of healthcare and medicine continues to evolve and advance, effective communication of products, research findings, devices, and services becomes crucial. Professionals in medical journalism and medical writing can fulfill various roles, such as healthcare journalists, writers, supervisors, editors, media relations specialists, project managers, and educators.
Medical writers play a significant role in providing accurate information, documenting research, and sharing news to improve health outcomes and save lives. Their responsibilities continue to expand, encompassing tasks such as marketing advanced medical devices, reporting on clinical trials, educating healthcare professionals about new treatments, and preparing grant proposals to secure funding for innovative research.
- Health Informatics & Analytics
Health informatics and analytics have emerged as rapidly growing specializations for students who have completed MBBS abroad. This field focuses on developing advanced methods to effectively utilize information and knowledge for promoting health and enhancing healthcare. The course requires a strong foundation in computational, informational, organizational, and behavioral sciences, combined with an in-depth understanding of health processes and systems. Professionals in health informatics and analytics must possess the necessary skills to bridge the gap between information technology and healthcare domains.
Pursuing a Master of Health Informatics is an excellent choice for international medical graduates who aspire to assume leadership roles in consulting, health management, and the implementation of healthcare systems.
- Medical Educator/Professor
Becoming a medical professor or teacher is a highly desirable option for those who have completed MBBS abroad. It is a noble profession that involves sharing medical knowledge and skills with aspiring doctors, fostering their development.
Medical professors educate students at various educational institutions, such as universities, medical schools, community colleges, or teaching hospitals.
They are responsible for designing and developing medical curricula, teaching subjects such as anatomy, neurology, physiology, immunology, biochemistry, and pharmacology.
- Investment Banking
For medical graduates, investment banking offers an attractive career path within healthcare organizations and companies. By enrolling in financial modeling and equity research courses after completing MBBS, new opportunities can be unlocked. In the field of investment banking, professionals work closely with biotech firms and pharmaceutical companies, providing guidance on the latest trends in the healthcare industry. They also conduct industry research to identify new and innovative healthcare products and equipment.
Entrepreneurship has emerged as a promising career option for individuals who have completed MBBS, giving rise to the term ‘doctorpreneurship.’ The challenges faced by the overburdened public healthcare system and the recognition of entrepreneurship’s role in fostering a developed and self-sustaining nation have contributed to the growth of medical entrepreneurship.
To embark on this path, medical entrepreneurs must assess market requirements and conduct extensive market research to gain a comprehensive understanding of various healthcare specializations. This enables them to identify local demands for specific healthcare products and services and choose the appropriate field. A successful medical entrepreneur is able to discern market needs and effectively address gaps in healthcare services.
12. Forensic Psychiatry
According to Dr. William H. Reid, MD, MPH, an expert in forensic psychiatry, a forensic psychiatrist is a medical professional who possesses additional training and experience in the intersection of mental health and the legal system. They are physicians with specialized knowledge in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating mental illnesses. Their expertise extends to various aspects, including biological assessments and treatments, addressing family and social factors, and providing psychotherapy.
13. Clinical Forensic Medical Examiner
A clinical forensic medical examiner specializes in conducting post-mortem examinations to determine the cause and time of death with meticulous accuracy. This professional delves into the medical history of the deceased, thoroughly examines the crime scene, reviews witness statements, and seeks evidence on the body that could assist in identifying the culprit.
A comprehensive understanding of toxicology, DNA analysis, and ballistics is crucial for a forensic medical examiner. Their responsibilities include preparing reports, issuing death certificates, and assisting in legal proceedings by providing expert testimony in court.
14. Medical or Pharmaceutical Researcher
A medical or pharmaceutical researcher is an individual who conducts research and experiments to diagnose health conditions, diseases, and develop treatment methods to improve human lives. They can find employment opportunities in pharmaceutical companies or work as laboratory research assistants in organizations, laboratories, and private medical institutions. Their primary responsibility involves examining and analyzing health data and reports, handling hazardous chemicals and samples while adhering to safety protocols, and conducting extensive research on various human diseases through clinical trials and investigative techniques to draw concrete conclusions and findings.
15. Academic Medicine
Academic medicine presents a promising career path for international medical graduates, offering opportunities to engage in extensive clinical practice, and research, and contribute to medical education by teaching in medical colleges and mentoring research programs.
PG in Pakistan
For foreign medical graduates or students who have completed their MBBS outside of India, pursuing post-graduation in India is often their primary objective. Upon finishing MBBS from a foreign institution, students have the option to select from various postgraduate medical programs in order to specialize. This can be achieved by successfully clearing the NEET PG exam or the upcoming NEXT exam.
The NEXT exams are administered in two stages:
- NEXT 1: This exam is taken after completing the final year of MBBS, and the scores obtained are crucial.
- NEXT 2: This exam is taken during the internship period.
Successful performance in NEXT 1 and 2 opens up opportunities to secure postgraduate seats in India.
In Pakistan, medical colleges offer a total of 74 Postgraduate M.D/M.S. courses, each with a duration of 3 years. These courses lead to a Master’s in Medicine (M.D.) or Master of Surgery (M.S.) degree.
The NEET PG exam scores are utilized for admission into MD/MS and PG Diploma courses in Indian medical colleges. NEET PG serves as an eligibility and ranking examination for these programs, functioning as a single-window entrance exam. Pursuing post-graduation in Pakistan can be a favorable option for individuals seeking to further their studies after completing MBBS.
USMLE, a popular career option for foreign medical graduates, offers the opportunity to become a licensed medical practitioner in the United States. The USMLE consists of three steps: USMLE 1, USMLE 2 (CK and CS), and USMLE 3.
USMLE 1 is an online multiple-choice question (MCQ) examination that can be taken at the end of the second year of MBBS.
USMLE 2 has two components: USMLE 2 CK and USMLE 2 CS.
USMLE 2 CK is a computer-based test that can be taken during the fourth year of MBBS. It is conducted at various test centers worldwide.
USMLE 2 CS involves examining and diagnosing actors who portray patients. Step 2 CS requires students to travel to one of the five testing centers in the United States.
Upon successfully completing these exams, students become eligible for residency in the United States. They can then apply for the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certification.
USMLE 3 is an online examination that must be passed to become a licensed doctor in the United States.
This career option is highly sought after by MBBS graduates studying abroad. However, to be eligible for the USMLE, students must be enrolled in a recognized university that is WHO-approved. To verify this, they can consult the World Directory of Medical Schools.
For more details about the USMLE exam, please refer to this video: [Insert link to the USMLE exam details video]
Another favorable career option for foreign medical graduates is pursuing post-graduation in the United Kingdom.
PLAB, also known as the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board Exam, is a licensing examination for foreign medical graduates who have completed their MBBS outside of the UK. Successfully passing this exam enables candidates to pursue post-graduation in the UK and practice as medical practitioners. To obtain more information regarding fees and other details, please refer to this article on PLAB for MBBS graduates studying abroad.
The PLAB exam consists of two steps: PLAB Step 1 and PLAB Step 2.
Before applying for the PLAB exam, candidates must first pass the IELTS Test, followed by PLAB 1 and PLAB 2.
PLAB 1 is an online examination held in various countries around the world.
PLAB 2 is a clinical assessment exam conducted at test centers in Manchester, UK.
Upon successfully passing the PLAB exam, candidates become eligible to apply for a license registration in the UK.
To gain a better understanding of the PLAB exam details, including fees and other relevant information, please watch this video: [Insert link to the PLAB exam details video].
PG in Germany:
Germany is a popular destination for foreign medical graduates seeking to study and pursue medicine. Many students who have completed their MBBS abroad, including those from India, are interested in pursuing postgraduate studies in Germany due to the numerous benefits it offers. However, one potential drawback that many students encounter is the language requirement. The entire course is conducted in German, and students must pass a German language test. Below is the process for pursuing PG in Germany after completing MBBS abroad:
- The candidates must first learn the A1 and A2 levels of the German language.
- After completing the language requirements, the candidate receives a submission letter for TELC B2 and TELC C1 from a German language learning center.
- Alternatively, a government-approved test can also be accepted.
- Once this process is completed, the candidate obtains a confirmed observership for a duration of 1-6 months at a German hospital. This observership allows them to gain practical experience and pursue their medical PG studies in Germany.
- After successfully completing the observership, the candidates can proceed with the “Approbation System” and apply for license registration.
Please note that this information provides a general overview of the process. It is advisable to consult official sources and relevant institutions for detailed and up-to-date information on pursuing PG studies in Germany after MBBS abroad.
PG in Australia:
After completing MBBS abroad, students may consider pursuing postgraduate studies in Australia. In Australia, medicine is offered as either a postgraduate or undergraduate course. The postgraduate program is called the Doctor of Medicine, while the undergraduate program is known as the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.
If a student wishes to practice medicine in Australia without obtaining an MBBS degree in the country, they will need to take the Australian Medical Council (AMC) Exam. This exam is designed to assess the candidate’s medical knowledge and competency.
The AMC Exam consists of two parts:
- AMC Part 1: This is a multiple-choice question-based exam that tests the candidate’s medical knowledge across various specialties.
- AMC Part 2: Once the candidate successfully clears Part 1, they become eligible to take Part 2, which is a clinical test.
To participate in the AMC Exam, candidates must demonstrate proficiency in the English language. This can be achieved by obtaining an A or B grade on the Occupational English Test (OET) or scoring 7 or higher on all sections of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Upon passing both parts of the AMC Exam, candidates can apply for the AMC Certificate. This certificate enables them to apply for internships in Australia.
Candidates are required to complete a one-year internship in Australia to obtain general registration as a medical practitioner.
Please note that it is important to refer to official sources and consult with relevant authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding pursuing postgraduate studies in Australia after completing MBBS abroad.
PG in New Zealand:
In order to pursue a medical postgraduate (PG) program in New Zealand, students are required to take the NZREX exam (New Zealand Registration Exam).
To be eligible to apply for the NZREX, students must meet certain English language requirements. They can demonstrate English proficiency through one of the following options:
- IELTS: Minimum scores of 7.5 in speaking and listening, and minimum scores of 7 in writing and reading. The IELTS test results should be dated within the past 2 years.
- OET: Minimum grade of ‘A’ or ‘B’ in each of the four components (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) in a single OET result. The OET test results should also be dated within the past 2 years.
In addition to the English language requirements, candidates for the NZREX Clinical exam must have passed one of the following prerequisite examinations within the last 5 years:
- United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Steps 1 and 2 (Clinical Knowledge)
- PLAB Part 1
- Australian Medical Council MCQ
- Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE Part I)
The NZREX Clinical exam is currently conducted in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) format, consisting of 16 stations.
Please note that it is essential to refer to official sources and consult with the appropriate authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding pursuing a medical PG program in New Zealand and the requirements for the NZREX exam.
To obtain an MD degree in South Korea with a foreign MBBS degree, individuals can take the Korean Medical Licensing Exam (KMLE) to become licensed doctors. However, foreign medical school graduates must first pass a qualifying exam before they are eligible to sit for the KMLE. It is important to verify if your MBBS university or college is approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare of South Korea.
There are two tests that need to be taken: the Preliminary Examination and the Korean Medical Licensing Examination (KMLE). The preliminary examination is a prerequisite for taking the KMLE and consists of a written test and a clinical skills test. This examination is conducted annually in July and August. Additionally, applicants must provide a TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) certificate with a level 5 or higher.
Once the preliminary examination is cleared, the candidate can proceed to take the KMLE in the Korean language. The clinical skills test is administered between September and November, while the written test takes place in January.
It is important to note that for the most accurate and up-to-date information on pursuing an MD degree in South Korea, including the specific requirements and procedures for the KMLE, it is recommended to consult official sources and the relevant authorities.
What Path Will You Take?
It is evident that students who have completed their MBBS abroad have a plethora of career opportunities to explore. The options are numerous, but the pivotal question is: what ignites your passion? Which area of specialization captivates your interest? The choices you make now will shape your future professional journey. Opting for a specialization, diploma, or post-graduation in a field that fails to resonate with your passion may not lead to long-term career fulfillment. We understand that making this decision is challenging, but with thorough research, introspection, and guidance, you can arrive at the best possible choice.
Choosing the Ideal Foreign Country for MBBS Abroad Study
The initial and crucial phase in embarking on an MBBS degree abroad is the careful selection of the most suitable foreign country for your program.
Step 1: Financial Considerations
The cost of MBBS programs varies across different countries, much like the currencies they use. Indian students may be familiar with the typical range of MBBS fees in other countries. There are affordable MBBS programs available in countries such as Ukraine, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, China, Kazakhstan, and several others.
Step 2: Assessment
Before making a decision to study MBBS abroad, it is important to evaluate factors such as the country’s safety, potential conflicts, and other relevant aspects. Opting for a country with a higher level of safety is advisable when pursuing your MBBS degree.
Step 3: Climate
Considering the weather is another significant factor to take into account before enrolling in an MBBS program outside of India, as some countries have colder climates compared to India. It is important to choose a foreign country where you can adapt comfortably, even in below-freezing temperatures.
In conclusion, pursuing an MBBS degree abroad can offer numerous professional opportunities upon completion. Medical students are encouraged to choose a career in medicine based on their personal interests and passion.