How to Apply Residency Essay

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How to Apply for a Medical Residency by Ed Grabianowski
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How to Apply for a Medical Residency
You just spent four years as an undergrad, plus four years in medical school and possibly two years working on your master's degree in between. You've been awarded the degree of M.D. or D.O. Congratulations! Unfortunately for you, however, the worst is yet to come. Although you have your degree, you aren't allowed to practice medicine independently until you complete a residency at a teaching hospital. The process of getting "matched" with a hospital is incredibly stressful, and that's before you even get to the joys of an 80-plus hour work week, 24-hour shifts and all the glamour and glory that comes with being lowest on the totem pole when you arrive. On top of all that, the labyrinthine match process leaves you remarkably little say in the matter – a decision made by a computer could send you to a hospital all the way across the country -- and it
You're done w ith m edical school ... and now the real w ork begins. Comstock Images/Getty Images

might be the hospital you ranked last on your want list. From navigating the residency application process to all the excitement (and terror) of Match Day, we'll take you through the process of applying for a medical residency.

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Medical Residency Requirements
In order to receive a medical residency, you must have completed medical school. That is, you need an M.D. or D.O. degree, from an accredited medical school. You also need to have taken the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX); depending on the requirements of the individual schools you choose, you may have to take both. The application process usually encompasses the fourth year of medical school, with interviews taking place between October and February. While each hospital has its own requirements, they're relatively uniform between hospitals. Typically, applicants

are required to hold a degree from a U.S. or Canadian school accredited through the Liaison Committee on Graduate Medical Education (LCME) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Applicants who attended medical school outside the U.S. or Canada need a certificate from the Educational Council on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) [source: University of Wisconsin]. Graduates of medical schools outside the U.S. and Canada must be eligible to work in the U.S., either through citizenship, a visa or a resident alien permit. Hospitals outside the U.S. have their own criteria for applying for medical residency, which varies from country to country. Check with the individual hospital to determine if you're eligible. Of course, there's a lot more to applying for a residency than just your degree and your USMLE score. We'll explain the rest in the next section.

Medical Residency Applications
Applications for medical residency in the U.S. are all handled through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), a program run by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The AAMC is a non-profit organization that represents most of the medical schools and teaching hospitals in the U.S. Canada [source: AAMC]. The ERAS system makes things quite a bit easier for medical residency applicants. You only have to submit required documents and scores once (to ERAS), then ERAS sends the relevant info to the hospitals you apply to. All of this is handled through the MyERAS application page.