Nursing Program For Foreign Medical Graduates Online

Last Updated on January 9, 2023

Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) are looking at several options to complete their nursing education in the United States. With so many universities and colleges offering similar courses, finding the right program for you can be confusing. This article will discuss Nursing Program For Foreign Medical Graduates Online, international medical graduate assistance program, FIU foreign physician to nursing program, certificate program for foreign medical graduates the differences between foreign nursing programs, focusing on some of the top choices available.

Some FMGs may want to consider a foreign-based nursing program if they wish to work abroad for a long period of time or if they want to become an international nurse. However, if you are planning on working in the United States as a nurse and wish to become licensed in the United States, you need to have completed your training and certification in the country where you plan on working.

If you have already completed your medical training in another country and have passed all necessary exams, then you are one step closer to becoming an American nurse. You will still need to complete your clinical experience as well as pass all tests at an accredited nursing school before you can apply for your licensure exam, but with so many options available it is possible that you could find a suitable option that fits all of your needs

Are you a foreign medical graduate looking for a place to study nursing? Are you having difficulties finding the best place for international medical graduates to study nursing? You don’t have to worry anymore because Collegelearners offers it and more. We also offer other programs such as how to become RN for international medical graduates, physician assistant programs for foreign medical graduates, foreign physician alternative certification program, jobs for foreign medical graduates without USMLE in USA, accelerated combined BSNMSN program for foreign educated physicians FEP and so on. Just visit our site at [Collegelearners] and get access to all you need to know about Nursing Program For Foreign Medical Graduates Online right there in your comfort zone.

nursing programs for foreign medical doctors

When many doctors move to the U.S. from foreign countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean and elsewhere, they are forbidden from practicing medicine.  

In order to become certified as a doctor in the U.S., these foreign-born physicians must complete a residency and pass the medicine licensure examination.  Based on their own family obligations, many are forced to take less qualified jobs as nurse’s assistants or phlebotomists, drawing blood, which are below their academic credentials.  

Florida International University, a research university based in Miami, Florida, created a program, Foreign Educated Physicians to Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing (BSN/MSN), that trains doctors to become nurse practitioners or registered nurses, drawing on their medical background and bilingual skills.  The program enables them to stay in the medical field, earn a strong salary and assist patients.

Dr. Divina Grossman, a former dean at Florida International University (FIU), observed that the skills that many doctors had obtained in other countries were being wasted and lost.  The program launched in 2001 and offered bachelor’s degrees for registered nurses but was expanded in 2010-11 to specialize in master’s degrees for nurse practitioners.  

The master’s program lasts eight semesters or three years, and the undergraduate program lasts five semesters or a year and a half.
The program attracts students with “an amazing background, including a significant knowledge base of medicine, patients and health care,” explained Maria Olenick, the chair of undergraduate nursing at FIU and its former director for three years. “Many of our students are looking for a second career option in healthcare,” she noted.

Since all students have already trained as physicians, they are older, with an average age of 40 years old.  Moreover, it attracts more men into nursing; in fact, 50 percent of the students are men.  

The program is full-time, though some students continue to work in part time jobs and earn money to meet family obligations.  Many need to save enough money, work part-time or take out loans to afford the $41,000 a year tuition for state residents and $90,800 for non-residents.

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Nursing Program For Foreign Medical Graduates Online

Foreign medical graduates to physician assistant programs

Gaining acceptance into the program is extremely competitive.  Olenick said about 400 students applied for the 50 openings in 2015-16, so 80 percent are rejected. Though Cuba and Haiti are the countries that produce the most students in the program, students hail from China, Czechoslovakia and more than 30 countries.  Latinos comprise about 40 percent of all students.

To be accepted, students must present their translated transcripts from medical college, equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree, and pass an English language exam or two English classes in the U.S.  Their grades and academic performance are evaluated, and they are interviewed.  “We’re looking for professionals who have a capacity to communicate in English, who have interest and motivation, and are ready to take the plunge into a full-time curriculum,” Olenick noted.

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All 50 students are aiming for a master’s degree in nursing.  The ones who stop at the bachelor’s degree level aren’t successful in the program or didn’t pass their registered nursing exam.

But don’t many students who are trained as physicians feel that becoming a nurse practitioner is below their status?  Olenick acknowledged that some students can be disappointed and even angry at the outset.  

“But most after a semester and a half turn around and say, ‘I didn’t want to do it, but now I love it,’’’ she said. Most are grateful at gaining a second chance at helping others in the healthcare field and expanding their knowledge into a new field.

Olenick said the first two years concentrate on undergraduate nursing and preparing students to pass the state board exam to become a registered nurse.  The final year is the master’s portion where students prepare to become nurse practitioners and enhance their knowledge of advanced nursing and improve their prescriptive and diagnostic skills.

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Nursing programs for foreign medical graduates

The program offers four specialties as nurse practitioners in: family, adult, pediatrics (18 years and younger) and psychiatric.  
Many graduates of the program work in hospitals, clinics, school systems, wound care centers and medical specialties.  Olenick said that the starting salary for nurse practitioners is $90,000, and obtaining a six-figure salary is not uncommon.  

These FIU graduates are coveted by hospitals and other employers for several reasons.  “These graduates are really doctors and nurses rolled into one.  It’s like obtaining two specialties for the price of one,” explained Olenick, a native of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 
Moreover, many graduates are bilingual, speaking Spanish and English, and some speak three to five languages.  Speaking Spanish in Florida is clearly an advantage that helps graduates provide better patient care.

Erich Companioni, a Miami, Florida, resident and 44-year-old Cuban native who moved to the U.S. at age 13, gained his medical degree in the Dominican Republic.  After passing the first of three medical boards, he got married and started to raise a family.  He couldn’t afford to take time off for a residency program and instead opened a home health nursing company.

When he learned of the FIU program to train foreign-trained physicians, he saw it as a “great opportunity to become a nurse practitioner.  It was closest to my dream,” he said.   Once you immigrate to the U.S., he said, “You need to work to support a family.”
Learning to become a nurse practitioner is different from training to become a physician.  Nurse practitioners “see patients in a holistic way.  We take care of every single process and social issues.  Physicians are more targeted in how they help people,” he said.
When he graduated in 2015 as a family nurse practitioner, he accepted a job in a radiation/oncology practice in Miami.  His patients have cancer or terminal illnesses. “I’m helping patients not only from a medical point of view but giving them the support and guidance from day one of evaluation until they finish radiation,” he asserted.

Nurse practitioners who were trained as physicians are very marketable, Companioni explained.   “The combination gives you more extensive knowledge than a regular nurse practitioner,” he observed.

Companioni is gratified being patient-centered and employing his medical skills.  Some foreign-trained physicians could have a problem dealing with the “ego” issues of not being a doctor since in foreign countries, they’re viewed as gods.  He said being a nurse practitioner is a “way of fulfilling his dream of helping people doing exactly what you’re training to do as a doctor with some limitations.”

Olenick sees the program as a win/win for graduates, the college and the healthcare system.  It enhances diversity at FIU in several ways, “bringing different cultures and ethnic groups and bringing more men into nursing.  It brings people with a background in medicine into nursing, and what can be better than that?” •

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) are two ways in which recent immigrants who were doctors or nurses in their home country can transition into the American medical industry quickly using skills they have already acquired from their foreign education. This is an RN nursing program for foreign-educated doctors who want to take full advantage of their skillset and medical knowledge. Florida Vocational Institute offers an Associate of Science in Nursing degree to international doctors that complete our fast track medical program.

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The benefits of an ASN nursing program for foreign medical graduates or foreign-trained doctors include:

  • Foreign doctors can continue in their field of medicine without having to reinvest countless years in medical training
  • Some previous education credits may transfer
  • Enter the U.S. medical field with background knowledge and confidence
  • The ASN is much more affordable than enrolling in medical school
  • These programs are less intense, especially for bilingual medical professionals

The benefits of immigrant doctors working as a nurse in the U.S. include:

  • Increased opportunity to find work in the U.S. than abroad
  • A career in nursing is less competitive and less stressful
  • High compensation and excellent working conditions in U.S. hospitals
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nursing programs for foreign medical doctors

Though most consider a nursing program for foreign-educated doctors to be a blessing, some doctors may consider it a “step down” or a “loss of prestige.” In an article by The Atlantic, for the majority of these foreign doctors-turned-nurses, those negative feelings don’t last.

Medical professionals have a desire to help others, and that is not something that disappears overnight. In fact, a move to a new country may even increase that desire. A return to what you know, love, and understand is often the best cure for any culture shock and continuing with your life’s purpose is the best way to satisfy that desire.

Indeed the U.S. medical system already depends heavily on foreign-born healthcare professionals. If you are a foreign-educated physician and recent immigrant deciding to pursue a nursing career in the U.S., rest assured you won’t be alone. This is especially true in South Florida, where many healthcare professionals and nurses originally came from other places around the world including Asia and South America, which is a plus for both medical institutions and patients.

masters programs for foreign medical graduates


International students whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELST (International English Language Testing System) Examination.  A minimum score of 550 (or 75 Internet Based Testing) must be achieved for TOEFL, a minimum score of 6.5 is required for IELST.

Exceptions include:

  • U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.
  • Students with master’s degrees from U.S. college/universities.
  • Students with at least 4 full-time undergraduate semesters at a U.S. school.


  • International transcripts (exception: English-speaking Canadian) are not accepted by CASPA.  CASPA requires a translated version of any foreign transcript. 
  • FMG’s and graduates from foreign institutions must use the WES evaluation service.  Please visit WES for further assistance.

It goes without saying that becoming a doctor in the United States requires an incredible amount of hard work, talent, training and perseverance. For foreign medical graduates, the pathway to becoming a practicing physician in America is even more challenging — even for those who are already certified to practice medicine in their home country.

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That’s because to practice in the U.S., foreign medical graduates (also called FMGs) must pass a grueling and costly series of licensure and residency requirements. The regimen is intended to ensure that foreign-trained physicians are qualified to provide safe and effective patient care, but critics contend that it ends up creating overwhelming barriers for capable doctors, at a time when the U.S. is suffering from a shortage of practicing physicians.

The entire multi-year process can be so intense and time-consuming (up to eight years) — as well as extremely expensive — that many FMGs decide to seek other professional opportunities in the medical world.

Why Health Care Informatics is a Good Career Choice for FMGs

The good news is that there is a world of opportunity for foreign medical graduates to work in the United States. One career path that may hold the most promise of all for FMGs and others who want to make a difference in the medical field — health care informatics.

The federally mandated transition to the use of electronic health records (EHRs) has made health informatics one of the nation’s fastest-growing job sectors. The rapid pace of change has also created a very real “skills gap” — as the growing number of good-paying health informatics jobs far outpaces the supply of qualified workers.

A recent Rendia article cites the need for those with a passion for health care and data science. “There are an ever-growing number of career opportunities for those who enjoy working with data, information, and knowledge to improve the health of individuals and the population in the field of biomedical and health informatics,” wrote William Hersh, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology at Oregon Health & Science University. “This field develops solutions to improve the health of individuals, the delivery of health care, and advancing of research in health-related areas.” 

Employers in the health care field are seeking professionals who possess a highly sought-after combination of health care and information technology (IT) skills. This means the prognosis is bright for FMGs, whose medical training and clinical experience gives them an edge in competing for jobs in health care informatics.

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And unlike some ancillary health care jobs that are available to non-credentialed medical professionals, health informatics jobs are well paid.

According to a survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), professionals working in health informatics reported salaries ranging from $61,000 to $115,000. Higher-level positions, of course, have even greater earning potential. For example:

  • Director of Clinical Informatics – $128,075
  • Director of HIM – $90,763
  • Clinical Informatics Coordinator – $84,058

Compensation in the health informatics field is high because the demand is soaring and the talent supply is short. Opportunities span the full spectrum of the health care experience — from public health, veterinary and dental care to nursing, biotech, telemedicine and the insurance industry.

To take advantage of these opportunities, foreign medical graduates will need to build upon their existing health care knowledge and experience by developing expertise in the design and management of databases, project management, leadership of health systems in the U.S., systems analysis and design, and more. The best way to develop and demonstrate competency in these areas is by completing a health informatics master’s degree program.

Health Informatics Field Poised for ‘Huge Growth’

Dr. Jonathan Mack, academic program coordinator for the health informatics master’s degree program at University of San Diego, said this is an exciting time for the field of health informatics.

“The federal government is predicting huge growth in this area over the next decade,” he said. “In fact, the major issue that the industry is now facing is the lack of individuals with training and experience to fill the many open positions.”

University of San Diego’s innovative master’s degree in health informatics includes comprehensive training in the industry-specific IT skills that foreign medical graduates (and others who already possess experience in health care) will need to position themselves for success. For example:

  • Design and management of databases
  • Application of information systems to solve clinical problems
  • Integration of human/technology systems
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of electronic health record systems

Students are also exposed to leadership and administrative issues specific to the U.S. health care environment, including strategic planning and management of health systems, financial management, and health system care delivery and outcomes.

USD’s Master of Science in Health Care Informatics is offered both online and on campus. The flexibility of the online format means students can earn their master’s degree on their own schedule in just 24 months. International students can even enroll and participate in the program from their home country.

international medical graduate assistance program

The Minnesota Department of Health is supporting the integration of international medical graduates (IMG) through the implementation of the International Medical Graduate Assistance Program. The Minnesota Legislature established this program, in 2015 Minnesota Session Laws, Chapter 71, Article 8, Section 17, to address barriers to practice and facilitate pathways to assist immigrant international medical graduates (IIMG) to integrate into the Minnesota health care delivery system, with the goal of increasing access to primary care in rural and underserved areas of the state.

The Minnesota Department of Health is required to:

  • Develop and maintain a voluntary roster of IIMGs interested in entering the Minnesota Health workforce.
  • Develop clinical readiness assessment of eligible IIMGs to serve in a residency program.
  • Award grants to nonprofit organizations to provide career guidance and support services to IIMGs seeking to enter the Minnesota health workforce
  • Award grants to support clinical preparation for Minnesota IIMGs needing additional clinical preparation or experience to qualify for residency.
  • Award grants to support primary care residency positions designated for Minnesota IIMGs who are willing to serve in rural or underserves areas of the state.
  • Collaborate with graduate clinical medical training programs to address barriers faced by IIMGs in securing residency positions in Minnesota
  • Explore and facilitate more streamlined pathways for IIMG to serve in non-physician professions in the Minnesota Workforce.
  • Study in consultation with the Board of Medical Practice and other stakeholders, changes necessary in health professional licensure and regulation to ensure full utilization of IIMG in the Minnesota health care delivery system

certificate program for foreign medical graduates

Through its certification program, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) evaluates the readiness of international medical graduates to enter residency or fellowship programs in the United States that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Establish an Observership for International Medical Graduates

An Observership Program is designed to familiarize International Medical Graduates (IMG) to American medicine practice as they experience a hospital-based residency program. Find information about how to establish an observership program for IMGs.

Residency Program Requirements for International Medical Graduates

After ECFMG certification, physicians who wish to practice medicine in the United States must complete an accredited residency training program in the United States or Canada. This process will take at least 3 years. The physician will have to complete a residency program regardless of the training he or she has received overseas.

Immigration Information for International Medical Graduates

IMGs who seek entry into U.S. programs of Graduate Medical Education must obtain a visa that permits clinical training to provide medical services.

Licensure requirements for International Medical Graduates

Every medical graduate must apply for a license in the state(s) in which they intend to practice. Generally, you have to complete 1–3 years of residency or years of practice outside of the United States or Canada before applying for a license. 

State Licensure Board Requirements for International Medical Graduates

State licensure requirements vary by state. IMGs should consult each state’s requirements before beginning the licensure process.

accelerated combined bSNMSN program for foreign educated physicians FEP

The goal of the program is in line with the mission of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS) at Florida International University (FIU): “…[to] prepare diverse health care professionals as providers and leaders in the delivery of high quality, accessible, culturally competent care within a highly technological and global environment…”

Program Description

The Foreign Educated Physician to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (FEP-BSN) Program is an innovative, specialized, first-in-the-nation nursing program where foreign-educated physicians (FEPs) residing in the United States (US) who are either unemployed or underemployed attend an accelerated baccalaureate curriculum that awards them the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Students can then become employed as registered nurses (RNs).

In the five-semester upper-division 125-credit curriculum, students are awarded credits for general education and science pre-requisite courses completed in medical school and matriculate for 63 credits of nursing courses. To allow FEPs to attend nursing school and still maintain their current means of livelihood, classes are held during weekday evenings and clinicals are held on weekends.


70% to 80% Hispanics comprise the program’s student body at any given semester with the majority from Cuba and Latin America.

By the time that the students in Cohort IV graduated in April 2007, the program had already served 253 FEPs; 206 (81%) of whom were Hispanics.

Of the total 253 students, 215 (85%) successfully graduated from the program. 42 more FEPs were anticipated to graduate in August 2010, and 73 more FEPs were anticipated to graduate with their BSN degrees in April 2011 and August 2011.

international medical graduate program

By law, all international medical school graduates who seek to be licensed in California as a physician assistant must:

(1) successfully complete a Board approved physician assistant training program; and
(2) pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). (Reference: Business and Professions Code, Section 3519).

For your convenience, attached is a list of approved training programs. This list contains the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all Board approved physician assistant training programs. It is our understanding that some of these programs may allow portions of their curriculum to be challenged by applicants with medical education and experience gained in other countries.

Only graduates of approved physician assistant programs are allowed to sit for the PANCE. For further information regarding the PANCE, please contact the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants at (678) 417-8100 or

International medical graduates may wish to consider employment in some other health care provider category that does not require licensure, such as a medical assistant, while pursuing physician assistant licensure. Information concerning requirements to work as a medical assistant may be obtained by contacting the Medical Board of California at (916) 263-2344.

You may also wish to consider contacting the Welcome Back Program. This program works with international medical graduates to facilitate their re-entry into the health care delivery system, in some capacity. Welcome Back works with program participants to assess their education, skills, and to identify alternative health professions that they may be suited for. You may contact the Welcome Back Program at: (415) 561-1833 in San Francisco, website: Or (619) 409-6417 in San Diego/Imperial, website:

how to study nursing abroad

Nurses and healthcare professionals are always in high demand, all over the world. A degree in nursing will give the skills you need to look after the needs of patients, both physical and psychological. It is a key role that is an essential part of every country’s health service.

Many countries have a shortage of nurses, so your skills will be in high demand. Choosing to study nursing abroad means gaining access to world-class programs and giving yourself the best chance to reach your potential.

Nursing program structure

The structure, content and length of a nursing program will depend on the university and country you are studying in. It’s possible to become a registered nurse in two years in certain countries, and in others you’ll need to study for at least three years to qualify.

Many programs include hospital placements, where you’ll be able to work in a range of areas like surgery, accident and emergency, medicine and critical care.

You can spend up to 50% of your time in placement, and the rest of your learning will be made up of lectures, practical classes and independent study.

You’ll be assessed through written and practical exams, coursework and your performance while on placement.

If you are studying at bachelor’s level, you’ll learn the theory behind nursing, clinical skills and develop your understanding through teaching and hospital placements. Common modules and areas of study include:

  • Foundations of nursing
  • Person-centered nursing
  • Communication skills
  • Therapeutic approach and practice
  • Global health issues
  • Introduction to professional practice
  • Research methods
  • Healthcare sciences
  • Medicine management
  • Medicine management
  • Practical nursing skills

Types of nursing degrees

There are several different specializations of nursing you can choose from that focus your studies in a certain area, and will shape your future career:

  • Adult nursing
  • Child nursing
  • Mental health nursing
  • Learning disability nursing
  • Midwifery

Think about what area of nursing you want to go into when choosing which program you’d like to study.

  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Nurse Practitioner

Why study nursing abroad

Choosing to study nursing abroad means you can access some of the best programs from around the world and great career opportunities after graduation.

If you dream of working as a nurse in a certain country, studying and earning your degree there will make it much easier. Most nursing programs will be accredited in that country, and allow you to work there once you have the relevant work permit.

Studying abroad has many other benefits that make it a worthwhile experience. You’ll get to learn all about another culture, improve your language skills, make new friends from all over the world and get a fantastic education.

Best countries to study nursing

If you want to attend one of the top nursing schools, then you could look to study in the US, or the UK. Not only do they have some of the best programs, but both these countries are in need of more nurses, so you’ll have strong career prospects if you choose to stay and work.

Other countries that offer well respected nursing programs include Canada and Australia. These countries offer degrees that are recognized all over the world, but you may need to do some additional courses and exams if you want to work in another country after graduation.


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