In 2024, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) will its accreditation process for the world’s medical schools.
Although the ECFMG does not accredit schools directly, the agency will begin relying on the World Federation for Medical Education (WMFE) to determine schools that meet ECFMG certification. The ECFMG will only be certifying students who attended a WMFE-accredited medical school. This change was announced in 2010 and is expected to go into effect in 2024.
What does the ECFMG certification change mean for students?
The logic behind this change can be confusing or even worrisome for medical students. Especially if you are a medical student at the threshold of seeking ECFMG certification or recently began medical school.
First, take a deep breath. You might not be affected by the change at all. You can check if your medical school is WMFE accredited by clicking here. Countries highlighted on that map in dark blue already have medical school accrediting agencies recognized by the WMFE. If you attend school in any of these countries, you’re in the clear.
Countries in light blue have hope. These countries have accrediting agencies that have already applied for WMFE recognition. If you attend medical school in a country shaded in light blue, your school may be close to WMFE recognition. Learn more about the application process here.
But what if you don’t attend a medical school in either of these categories? Or, what happens if your country’s accrediting agency’s application is rejected?
There’s good news and bad news (and some hope.)
The Good News
If you have applied for ECFMG certification (or will apply before 2024), then you will be able to continue through the certification process under pre-2024 rules. This means you can become ECFMG certified under the current rules even if you are not fully certified by 2024.
For those who already have ECFMG certification, or receive it before 2024, there will also be no change to your status in 2024.
The Bad News
If you do attend medical school in a country without a WMFE-recognized accrediting agency in 2024, and you have not yet applied for ECFMG certification, you will be unable to apply for ECFMG certification in 2024 and beyond. This could have consequences for applying for the NRMP Residency Match or attending a residency program in the United States.
There is hope in that your medical school can qualify for WMFE recognition. The application process for recognition is relatively long (8-12) months. With 16 months left until the new process goes into effect, there is feasibly enough time to petition your medical school or accrediting agency to seek WMFE recognition and have it approved before you apply.
It certainly won’t be easy, but it is an important factor that still offers a pathway to ECFMG certification for students at schools not currently recognized by the WFME.
Read more from the ECFMG on this change here.