Every Caribbean medical school will claim “accreditation.” But in order to complete clinical rotations, obtain residencies, and practice medicine in the United States, foreign medical students must come from a university that has been properly approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation can take place on several different levels, and of the 60 Caribbean medical schools in operation, only five currently produce graduates who can return to the United States to continue their medical careers. These include:

To gain approval from the U.S. Department of Education, a Caribbean medical school must first be:

1) officially recognized by the World Health Organization and the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research – International Medical Education Directory (FAIMER-IMED)

2) accredited by an authorized accrediting organization such as the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP) or the Accreditation Comission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM). The equivalent accrediting body in the U.S. is the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

After obtaining accreditation, the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) of the U.S. Department of Education evaluates the local organization’s accreditation standards and determines whether or not they are comparable to that of the LCME in the United States. A review by the NCFMEA is completely voluntary, so many schools do not undergo this process. Students attending a school recognized by the NCFMEA are eligible to apply for U.S. federal loans, however, the NCFMEA review does not determine which states a graduate can practice in.

Individual states including California, Florida, New York, and New Jersey have individual review processes to approve students for clinical rotations, residencies, and licensure in each respective state. Many states who do not have their own review process follow California’s decision on the matter.

All in all, before enrolling in any particular Caribbean school, do your research to make sure you attend an accredited medical school. You should know exactly which organizations have accredited the school, and whether or not the school has been approved by specific states that you might want to practice in down the line.

Learn more about accredited Caribbean medical schools.

More about Caribbean medical schools

Consider residency placement after Caribbean medical school

Hear from a former Caribbean medical school instructor

Get more information from websites of medical schools in the Caribbean

Things to consider when choosing a medical school in the Caribbean

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