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Here's an idea for some of the younger folks out there that I once thought of pursuing at one point. There are a few countries where you can go to medical school abroad for much cheaper than in the USA that also teach in English. The Philippines is a great example of this. Their medical school model was based on the U.S. system, making it a four year post-bacc M.D. Tuition ranges from 100,000-200,000 PHP (2,300-4,600 USD) per year, which is a real bargain compared to the roughly 54,000 USD (2,352,510 PHP for anyone who is counting) that I pay in tuition alone every year. Their schools aren't very selective, as many Filipinos can make more as a nurse abroad than as a doctor at home and don't view the whole process worth the effort. To be admitted, you have to take the NMAT, which is kind of like the old SAT but way easier, and have a bachelor's degree in anything. No prerequisite coursework is generally required. Some schools have a definitive age cutoff, however, and will not admit anyone over the age of 35.
Practice options after graduation would be somewhat limited in the Philippines unless you married a local and obtained citizenship, however, as only citizens of the PI are eligible for a medical license. You could do some post-graduate paid training (essentially a residency) and use that to launch an international career, however. Philippines-trained physicians often work in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and on cruise ships. With U.S. citizenship (generally you are paid based on where your passport is from- a native of the PI might work for 30-40k a year, while a U.S. resident that trained in the exact same hospital might command a salary of 80-120k) and medical training, you can actually clear a decent salary approaching or even well into the six figures depending on specialty.
Coming back to the USA is a problem for any foreign grad, however, as for the time being there is a shortage of residency training positions. While this could change in the future, it is unlikely, as GME expansion is dependent upon Congress approving the funds through a Medicare budget increase. In the unlikely event this were to occur, you have to take the USMLE, pass, and get a ECFG certificate, then apply to residencies and pray you get one. Were you to obtain a residency, you would forever after be treated the same as any U.S. grad that attended your residency program, permitting you to command whatever salary and lifestyle your specialty allows.
Another great option is Poland, specifically Jagiellonian University's medical school, which is also taught in English. There is an option for high school graduates if you have not completed college, which is a 6 year MD program and runs 11,000 euro a year. The 4 year option requires a bachelor's degree and that you take the MCAT and have all of the regular medical prerequisites (biology, chemistry, organic chem, and physics), but is far less competitive and again less expensive (12,000 euros, roughly 16,200 USD) than American med schools. One huge advantage to JU is that it is one of the few international medical schools that is eligible for Stafford loans, giving you some options to fund your education if your credit score is lacking. And it's in Krakow, which, if you've never been, is an awesome city!
So far as practice options after graduation, your training would be recognized anywhere in the E.U. If you managed to marry a local and obtain Polish citizenship, this would essentially allow you to work anywhere in the continent, as well as places in the Middle East, in Singapore, and on cruise ships. European salaries may be much lower than their American equivalents, but the hours are much more tolerable- many physicians work 35-40 hours maximum per week to pull in around 80-100k euros a year. Locums flying to England can make a small fortune working weekend shifts on the side- as much as 5-10k per weekend, depending on hours and specialty. The situation for coming back to the U.S. is the same as a doctor trained anywhere else internationally, however, and would be an uphill battle. But why would you want to return, ever!
Medicine is a rewarding career, both spiritually and financially. If you're willing to put in the time to train and have a bit of savings and a bachelor's degree, you can get the hell out of this country right now and spend the next four years flirting with nurses in the Philippines while learning to make a difference and creating a future for yourself and your family. It's just an idea for those of you looking for a plan. If any of you need any info about potential schools and such, just let me know, I can shoot you the right links. I spent a couple years looking all of it up in college as a backup plan if I failed to get into a U.S. school, so I know the ropes really well.
I'm an x-ray tech with a bachelor of science degree. For a while, I was thinking of going to medical school in the Caribbean, but I decided that I didn't want the lifestyle of working long hours for the rest of my life. It would also mean that I wouldn't have a chance to travel the world, like I'm currently doing right now as an English teacher...
I traveled a bit before school, plus I'll get to do away rotations abroad and I can travel during my vacations every year until I finish residency. Yeah, I won't get to live abroad for an extended period in my youth, but once I finish residency, I can live my life as I see fit. I know a few docs that only work three to six months a year, and travel the rest or just bum around on a beach somewhere. Or you can work part time- i used to work with a lot of docs that only worked 8 12 hour shifts a month for half pay, or 10 shifts for 2/3 pay in the ER. Or you could just work your ass off for 5 years doing a lot of extra hours and retire early (working something like ED, where you are paid hourly, you can easily pull 600k plus a year- save 300 of that and live on the rest, five years later you'll have over 1.5 million in the bank-enough to live off of the capital gains till you die in SEA).
You can live a modest life abroad if you leave now, or you can set yourself and your family up to live like royalty if you put in the hard work now. It is a very personal decision, I actually struggled with it for a while, but ultimately decided my youth was worth sacrificing for prosperity. At Winston's age, I will have saved well over a million if things go as planned. And I'm having a good time anyway, with great friends, a good girlfriend, etc, so med school hasnt been that bad so far. I'm not saying there is a right or wrong to it, just that the younger guys here might want to consider seeing up their long term financial stability while they can.
Wow, timing is great. This is exactly the situation I am in now.
I finished my BS and spent some time traveling afterwards, but am ready to settle on a career now.
I have almost made up my mind to head abroad for a medical degree.
I could be doing my degree in the USA(98th percentile on my MCAT)...but I don't have a desire to spend 4 more years here with either no girlfriend or a whale with an attitude. I have doctor friends who are miserable with no girl and nothing but their career. Not me. Life comes first, career second.
I am prepping for the Phils at the moment and its looking promising.
I visited Krakow, but found it disappointing with a high degree of Westernization and too few traditional girls. Ukraine and Belarus were OK and I had some friends and a nice girl, but doctor earn shit there. Dentistry in the FSU is an option, but much less interesting to me as a career. Also, FSU girls are lot less quality these days except for central asia... though even dentists may have a hard time earning a good salary in Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan. I'm still considering it, but Phils seems the best balance between girls and career. Plus, the warm weather beats the winters of the central asian steppe.
Try some of the other Polish cities. Krakow is far more than Gdansk, Lodz, or Poznan, all of which are mid tier cities that have schools that offer Stafford loans and medical training in English. Since you already have your MCAT, you are fully qualified to apply. A couple bonuses of Polish medical training- you're eligible for licensure anywhere in the EU and also able to take the Polish licensing exam, as it is administered in English.
So far as the PI, Cebu Institute of Medicine is solid and produces excellent graduates. Far East University is cheap and more remote of you want more of a provincial feel. Finally, UERMMC is another solid school that isn't all that expensive in Quezon City. There are many other schools, but these were my top picks when I was looking. If you like things like air conditioning and a nice modern building you might want to consider CDU as an alternative if you can afford it. Their board scores aren't as high but their campus is top notch.
Finally, I would encourage you to consider medical school in the United States one last time. Youth is fleeting, for men age like wine. If you were to attend school in the United States, you could live frugally and retire well before 40 years of age, then teach medicine abroad to keep you busy if you so desire. If you don't believe the numbers could add up, PM me and I'll give you a rundown of the financials. With hard work and discipline, a doctor in the US can earn more in two years than a doctor in the Philippines would make in an entire lifetime at a government hospital.
It is not transferable to usa standards. As a doctor from the pi he would have to take all the usa tests and pass if he wanted to be a doctor here the same for a nurse. The training may help but if people cant pass the tests here they might end up driving a taxi. So beware of that if people are planning on studying in the pi. There is a 2 yr nurseing program at most colleges here that may be a better option.
I was not recommending training abroad then coming back to the USA. I was recommending training abroad and being a practicing physician abroad. And you can become licensed to practice medicine with a medical or nursing degree from the PI, so long as you pass the boards, and, in the case of being a doctor, obtain and complete a residency. Trouble is, by 2018 there will be as many residency positions as there are US grads, so unless there is a medicare GME funding expansion, foreign grads are SOL. If you go to school abroad, plan to stay abroad. If you can stick it out and want to make bank and retire early, go to school in the USA and work here for a few years.
targetguy, are you also in the medical field or have info?
Does anyone know if a PI degree would be transferable to central asia? Some day I may want to travel to the Stan countries. Also, would a PI degree holder be able to work in Vietnam or Cambodia?
It seems like doing the US MD may be worth it and leave right away to asia but wasting 4 more years of low quality girls in the US seems like a bad deal.
First, thank you for the insightful post on medical school options outside the US. It is greatly appreciated. I am a 38 year old Korean American interested in starting a new career, perhaps in medicine. I was premed in college, but then opted for a wall street career post BA. I have around 300K in liquid funds currently. Would this be enough to attend medical school and support a modest bachelor lifestyle in the Philipines? I am not looking to get rich as a doctor. I simple want a career that will occupy me for the rest of my life. I would have no desire to return to the US. Marrying a filipina and living in the Philipines is an option that is certainly on the table. In fact, I would rather live in my native Korea than return to the US.
Is there a school in the Phils that you would recommend for someone in my situation? Would my age be a problem in the admissions process? I have a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago and an MBA from UNLV. Would you recommend that I take additional science classes here in the US?
Thank you for your time.
There are a few schools whose admission policies do not explicitly state an age limit. You will have far more money than you need, as most medical schools have tuition of 50-80k PHP per semester, which is a maximum of less than 4k USD per year. The only exception off the top of my head is Fatima, they're the most expensive school for foreigners in the PI at 3,500/semester and a 6,000 foreigner fee.. So on to the schools:
While both have no listed requirements for prerequisite coursework, those schools that do have such requirements generally want two chemistry courses, one physics course, three biology courses, 2-3 math courses, and 3-4 courses in the social sciences. Having preparation that most closely matches these requirements will optimize your chances of success, both in applying and in medical school. I would get in touch with the Dean of each school and explain your situation, ask them if you stand a reasonable chance of acceptance, and if you will require any additional coursework for your application to be considered. You might want to insist that you are training in the Philippines to come back to America, as they might not look kindly on your plan to snag a pinay lol. If they do offer you a chance of acceptance, you will have to take the NMAT, a very basic test which you can Google up some info on. Fatima is the easiest to get into. They say they require a B.S., but talk to them and I bet they'll make an exception.
I know you must be very busy with your medical studies, so I greatly appreciate your input in this matter. I only brought up the "marriage" issue because I thought it might improve my chances of acceptance. Perhaps the admissions committee would look favorably upon an individual who would want to remain in the Philippines and be a contributing member of their society, rather than someone interested in using the education elsewhere? I did note that Fatima had connections with hospitals in other countries, including the US. I suppose this might help with entering a residency program upon graduation, in the event that I was unable to obtain Filipino citizenship and therefore unable to do a residency in the Phillippines. I think this would justify the extra cost, a cost I am willing to pay if the program will admit me.
I will proceed to write the admissions department at Fatima and explain to them my situation. I just hope my age will not be a factor...
If you already had a pinay lined up, it would be a totally legit reason. It's just that medical school admissions committees tend to be very traditional and might think it a bit pretentious that you presume you can just waltz into their country and take one of their women so easily. Wanting to live in the Philippines certainly would not hurt, but would likely result in a lot more questions. Perhaps an advisable strategy would be to try both strategies with two schools other than Fatima, then use whatever strategy seemed to work best in your Fatima application. I used a similar strategy when applying to med schools- I used different personal statements and letters of recommendation at different safety schools until I found the combo that got me the most bites, and used that to apply to my top choices.
Oh, as another FYI, admissions season usually ends December to February, depending on the schools, and NMAT results take a bit to process, so you're probably looking at next year for your application. This gives you ample time to sort out what the schools want, to save more money, and to bolster your biology and chemistry knowledge. If they dont require you to take any further courses before applying, I recommend you check out Open Courseware to get your scientific knowledge up to date (plus to get your brain used to absorbing college level material again). They have free recorded lectures from ivy league schools in every subject. Chem, Bio, physics, ochem, genetics, and biochemistry would be worth learning prior to enrollment. They will greatly enhance your chances of medical school success even if not required.
Good luck, and don't worry about bothering me. I don't go to most lectures, so I spend most of my time reading and need to take a good ten minutes or so per hour to just screw around on the Internet or whatever so I don't get tunnel vision and lose my focus.
What about job prospects in the Philippines?
Would a guy with a US medical degree working in the Philippines make significantly more than a guy who did his degree in the Philippines?
Is there a point to getting a US degree when the goal is to live elsewhere? I have heard that its best to get a degree in the country you want to end up working in.
Not sure where you're getting your info from, but ER docs definitely don't make 600k per year.
You won't see that kind of money unless you are extremely specialized or are in a field like dermatology (extremely competitive) or plastic surgery (which will take a sh*t load of time in school).
Yes, I'm also in the medical field.
Also, as a doc, you can easily get sued and lose everything. I've seen it happen before. In today's medical field, it's CYA (cover your a**) first, patient second. Also, you deal with an insane amount of entitlement from patients and Obamacare just made things a million times worse.
Being a doc isn't what it used to be, I'm afraid. It's still one of the more lucrative professions of course, but I don't know if I would go into it if I had to redo my life choices.
You can make 600k a year, you just need to be willing to work in the middle of nowhere and put in a lot of overtime. Look up rural EM locum tenens positions. Consider that a regular position is 36 hours a week and pays 240k a year, or 125 an hour in a city ED. You can pull $225 an hour in some rural positions (nearly double regular pay) and you are free to work as many hours as you want. And you can be sued for everything, but -not- in a state with decent tort law, such as Texas. Call up a locums agency and tell them you're a board certified EM doc and want to work as many hours as possible and don't give a damn where you have to go. It'll blow your mind how much money there is to be made.
You can also independently contract with some hospitals for locum work- generally The rate agencies contract is double what you are being paid, so if you're willing to do your own licensing and other paperwork, you can pull $350 an hour or more. Plus you can open your own side businesses, such as opening an urgent care center or medical weight loss center, to pull in a solid secondary income stream. Staff them with midlevels and make bank as the medical director, ta da.
I worked with some very brilliant young physicians before I got into school. The wealthy ones shared a lot of good info with me. One guy was making 800k a year from a posh cash only medical weight loss center, while another ran three urgent care clinics that were staffed with two midlevels each, netting him 100-200k per center after expenses. And this was just their side income.
Work hard, and there is plenty of money to be made. Just expect long hours and be willing to work in places where you're the only guy willing to work there and you can bleed them dry.