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Opportunities are better than ever for international medical graduates looking to enter a U.S. residency training program.

That’s the exciting news from the 2018 Match Day. Falling this year on Friday, March 16, Match Day is the appointed time when medical school graduates, hearts pounding, finally learn which residency programs they’ve been ‘matched’ to.

This year, IMG matches were the highest since 1993 – with the success rate for obtaining first-year residency positions reaching 56.5%. That’s up from 53.3% in 2017, according to the National Resident Matching Program. The NRMP Match determines where medical school graduates will enter U.S. residency training.

For IMGs who are U.S. citizens, the rate was even higher, with 2,900 graduates (57.1%) matched to first-year residency positions.

These numbers are the latest in a long-term trend, with the success rate for U.S. citizens climbing in 13 of the last 15 years. For non-U.S. citizens, it’s gone up for each of the last seven years.

“The success of IMGs in this year’s Match demonstrates the importance of this talented and qualified pool of applicants for U.S. training programs,” said William Pinsky, MD, president and CEO of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

The ECFMG certifies whether IMGs are qualified to enter U.S. graduate medical education programs.

Doctors who received their education from medical schools outside the U.S. and Canada are a vital part of the American healthcare system, comprising 25% of all physicians in training and practice, as well as 30% of primary care doctors.

These numbers are likely to increase. “The growth in available residency positions – particularly in primary-care specialties like Internal Medicine – represents continued opportunities for IMGs interested in training in the United States,” Dr. Pinsky said.

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