Can a foreign medical graduate practice in the States in any way without doing residency?
March 7, 2009 8:51 PM   Subscribe

How can my wife, a Japanese doctor, practice in the US without re-doing her residency?

I am a US citizen. My wife is a doctor here in Japan, where we live with our kids. How can we go to the States for just 2-3 years without her having to do her residency over again?

I know that foreign medical graduates usually have to do a residency in the States to practice there. This would suck for us, and means that we would never move back, since we depend on her income (I work to, but only part-time) and because the residency application procedures are hell (often requiring you to live where you don't want to live).

So, is it possible for my wife, whose English is excellent, to somehow practice in the US for a couple years without going through all that? I don't even know if we would want to, but I would like to know if the option is there.
posted by zachawry to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Medical certification in the United States is typically a combination of federal and state-based licensing. It is important to look up the relevant provisions for your state (e.g., CA, NY, TX.)

It may be possible to undergo lesser certification and work as a paraprofessional (e.g., RN or PA.) It may also be possible to undergo minimal certification to work subordinate to a paraprofessional accompanied by a medical director, depending on your state's laws. It may also be possible to undergo alternate certification such as a Master's degree in epidemiology and work as a professional in a medically-orientated, non-practicing field, such as for a municipal health and human services department. Lastly, it may be possible to undergo no certification and work in a health-related, non-practicing, non-medical field, such as biology instruction in a secondary school. These options will be highly dependent on your state's legal frameworks for professional licensing.

It is not, however, realistic for an FMG to be able to just show up and start practicing.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:56 PM on March 7, 2009

sorry, it's been a few years since I looked into this but can't she sit the boards for the state you may live in?
posted by Wilder at 6:41 AM on March 8, 2009

sorry, didn't read the question properly. Check out the so called "hardship waiver". But I think something like a physicians assistant is the most likely.
posted by Wilder at 6:57 AM on March 8, 2009

Nurses and PA's are considered healthcare professionals, not paraprofessionals.
Sorry for the derail.
posted by brevator at 7:03 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

We have a few FMGs at my school who either a) taught or b) pursued research for the same reason.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:19 AM on March 8, 2009

Can she get a post-doc or research fellowship at a university somewhere?
posted by availablelight at 8:03 AM on March 8, 2009

You should ask higher ups in Japanese hospitals what will most advance her career in Japan, given you wish to return there. You might find a U.S. residency quite impresses them. Or maybe they'd be more impressed by doing university research, working for the CDC, etc. But you should ask Japanese doctors what international experience impresses them.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:24 AM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

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