Every year, tens of thousands of aspiring medical students across Canada select Caribbean and other overseas medical schools to pursue medical degrees. Since Canadian medical schools receive lots of applications than they can possibly admit, they are forced to establish stringent admission requirements. This leaves aspiring candidates with the option to look elsewhere in order to fulfill their dreams of becoming medical practitioners.
What Does Accreditation Mean?
Many medical schools in the Caribbean often juggle the terms ‘approved’, ‘recognized, and ‘accredited’ when presenting their qualifications—and often utilize the terms broadly. However, it is important to note that these terms don’t have the same meaning. A medical school can be qualified on multiple levels but this does not mean that they are accredited. A medical school can also be ‘recognized’ by various educational bodies (even by the Ministry of Education), can be listed in a wide range of authoritative medical schools directories, and ‘approved’ by the government to confer degrees but still lacks ‘accreditation’ from recognized independent accreditation bodies or agencies such as ACCCM, NVAO, or CAAN-HP.
When scouting for the Caribbean medical university, therefore, it pays to be critical about a school that is ‘accredited’, ‘recognized’, or ‘approved’. To gain approval from the Canadian Department of Education, a medical school in the Caribbean must meet certain criteria, including:
- Officially recognized by the FAIMER-IMED and the World Health Organization
- Accredited by recognized and authorized accreditation organization such as the Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM), the CAAM-HP, or the Canadian Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
After gaining the accreditation, the NCFMEA of the Canadian Department of Education re-evaluates the authority’s accreditation standards and establishes whether they match Canadian standards. Generally, NCFMEA review is completely voluntary, and many schools don’t bother to undergo the process. However, students enrolled in medical schools that are recognized by the NCFMEA are eligible to apply government loans. Nonetheless, NCFMEA review has a little impact on the province that a medical graduate can practice in.
Overall, before enrolling in any Caribbean medical university, it is pertinent to carry a thorough background research so that you can attend an accredited medical school. You should always be in a position to pin-point the organizations that have accredited your medical school of choice and whether or not the school is recognized and approved by the specific state or province that you plan to practice in.