Becoming a doctor is a noble profession and one that requires intelligence, compassion, and dedication. There’s no denying that the acceptance rate to medical school is highly competitive, as is the expensive cost of tuition. As students face a multitude of stressors to pursue their dreams, an increasing number are discovering Caribbean medical schools as a preferable option for working toward their medical degrees.

If you think that Caribbean medical schools are not on par with U.S. medical schools, then read on to learn the facts, as we diffuse the stigma and debunk the myths surrounding medical schools in this region.

Myth: Caribbean medical schools aren’t accredited

Truth: Before we begin debunking this first myth, it’s important to note there are multiple accrediting bodies that operate at different levels, and which oversee schools in different geographic locations and different types of academic programs.

For Caribbean medical schools, the Accreditation Commission of Colleges of Medicine (ACCM) and the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP) are the most respected accrediting agencies in the region. And, they are the only agencies recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). Xavier University School of Medicine in Aruba received accreditation from the ACCM in 2015, and it is the only medical school on the island with this particular accreditation. Choosing a Caribbean medical school with one of these accreditations ensures you would receive a quality education and that your degree will be valuable and recognized for years to come.

Myth: The medical programs at Caribbean medical schools do not compare to U.S. medical schools.

Truth: It comes as no surprise that this would be one of the most common myths regarding Caribbean medical schools. But the truth is that Caribbean medical schools with accredited programs follow the same curriculum, use the same training materials, and teach to the same standards as U.S.-based medical schools. So, why is there a misconception? It’s true there are some Caribbean medical schools with low pass rates and subpar programs; however, the same can be said for some U.S. programs. Overall, institutions such as Xavier University School of Medicine in Aruba—that invest in their students, staff, and facilities—are valued as they offer programs that align with those of some U.S. medical schools. Did you know that distinguished faculty from the U.S. teach our integrated curriculum? And, our curriculum is modeled on that of the U.S.-based system, with all labs and classrooms having state-of-the-art equipment. Human cadavers are used for anatomical dissections, and our students receive clinical experience from their first day at the local hospital in Aruba.

Myth: Caribbean medical schools accept students with subpar grades and scores.

Truth: There is some truth to the belief that Caribbean medical schools may accept students with lower GPAs and MCAT scores than those who apply at U.S. medical schools. This doesn’t mean, however, that they are less competitive or will simply accept anyone who wants to apply. The difference is that Caribbean medical schools, like Xavier University School of Medicine in Aruba, take a holistic approach—in addition to academics—when considering an applicant for admission. For example, Xavier University School of Medicine in Aruba has five technical standards that applicants must meet for admission, which include observation, communication, motor, intellectual and behavioral, and social attributes.

Myth: You must graduate from a U.S. medical school to practice medicine in the U.S.

Truth: To set the record straight with this myth, one must understand that practicing medicine in the U.S. requires being licensed by the state medical board in the particular state you’d like to practice medicine in. And if you wish to practice in different states, you must hold multiple licenses—one for each state. For this reason, students who study medicine outside of the U.S. can practice in the U.S.—providing they complete their clinical rotations and, ultimately, their residencies. Did you know that the American Immigration Council reveals that nearly 25 percent of all doctors practicing in the U.S obtained a degree from an international medical school?

Why now is the time to become a doctor

The medical industry is forecasted to see a significant shortage of physicians over the next decade. According to a recent study commissioned by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States will see a shortage of between 40,800 and 104,900 doctors by 2030. Population growth and an increasing number of aging Americans are the key factors that drive this demand.

We hope our blog helped to debunk any misinformation you may have had about Caribbean medical schools. If you have a passion for becoming a doctor, then now is a great time to begin the process. Xavier University School of Medicine in Aruba offers the programs and curriculum to set you a path to becoming a doctor. Apply today.