Caribbean Medical School 2019 Rankings
While there are no official rankings of Caribbean medical schools and no authoritative “top ten” lists, there are definitely ways to tier medical schools in the Caribbean according to their levels of accreditation, approval, and recognition in the United States. Here, I have put together my own tiering system to categorize and rank schools. These are the criteria in which I am using to tier schools:
1. Is the school accredited?
To be accredited means that a recognized, external accrediting agency has visited and evaluated the medical school and found that the quality of the education, administration, and facility meet the standards of accreditation. Please note that having a government charter and being listed in a medical school directory (i.e. FAIMER IMED, WHO Avicenna, WDOMS) is not the same as being accredited. WHO, FAIMER, NRMP, ECFMG, NBME are not accrediting agencies. Some schools are fully accredited, while there are other schools that are “provisionally accredited.” These schools are temporarily given accreditation pending certain requirements they need to satisfy before the next site visit, after which they may or may not be given full accreditation. Please monitor for updates on their accreditation status in the future, as it is possible for schools to lose accreditation.
2. Is the school accredited by a WFME-recognized accrediting agency?
Not all accrediting agencies accredit medical schools the same way – some have higher standards than others. Because of this, ECFMG requires that starting in 2023, in order for you to take the USMLE step exams and apply for ECFMG certificate to practice medicine in the United States, you must come from a school accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) Recognition Programme. Students from schools who do not meet this requirement by 2023 will not be able to sit for the USMLE exams, get ECFMG certified, and thus will not be able to practice medicine in the United States. Of the accrediting agencies that accredit Caribbean medical schools, only the ACCM, CAAM-HP, and NVAO meet this requirement.
3. Is the school accredited by a NCFMEA-approved accrediting agency?
To be NCFMEA-approved means that the accrediting body that accredited the medical school has been deemed by the US Department of Education’s National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation to have accreditation standards on par with LCME, which accredits US and Canadian medical schools. Being accredited by a NCFMEA-approved accrediting agency is one of the requirements for a school to be eligible to offer US federal student loans.
4. Is the school New York approved?
To be New York approved means that the medical school has been visited and reviewed by the New York State Education Department and has met the state’s standards needed to allow students of the school to complete more than 12 weeks of clinical rotations and graduates to enter residency in New York State.
5. Is the school California approved?
To be California approved means that the medical school has been visited and reviewed by the Medical Board of California and has met the state’s standards needed to allow students of the school to complete clinical rotations and graduates to enter residency and obtain medical licenses in California, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, and other states that may follow California’s standards. Schools can also be disapproved by California, further limiting their graduates from practicing in a few other states like North Dakota and Vermont. At the time of this writing, graduates from schools not approved by California must practice 10 years outside of California before they can become eligible to practice in California. However, this is expected to change in 2020.
6. Can the school’s graduates be licensed in all 50 States?
Graduates are allowed to obtain license to practice medicine in all 50 states if their school is approved by California (and therefore also Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont) as well as Kansas (school needs to be over 15 years old). Otherwise, graduates can practice in the 30+ states that do not require the medical school to have state approval. At the time of this writing, graduates from schools not approved by California must practice 10 years outside of California before they can become eligible to practice in California.
7. Is the school eligible to offer Title IV federal student loans?
To be eligible means that the medical school satisfies the many stringent criteria set forth by the US Department of Education to be eligible to offer their US students US federal financial aid.
8. Is the school non-distance learning?
Medical students who go to schools where a large portion of the Basic Science and/or Clinical Science curriculum is given via the internet, or distance-learning, are limited from getting licensed and practicing medicine in a large number of states.
In my opinion, cost, size, and location should not be factored into rankings because these factors do not affect the opportunities that graduates eventually have. Also of note, these rankings are only based on the amount of accreditation, recognition, and approvals that a school has and the number of states that their graduates can practice in. They are in no way meant to judge a school’s students. A student’s success is ultimately up to their own individual performance, regardless of the school. A student from a lower tier school who works hard, scores well on the USMLE exams, and receives outstanding preceptor evaluations can have a better chance at matching into a residency and becoming a successful physician than a student from a top Caribbean medical school who does poorly in school, fails or scores low on the USMLE exams, and receives poor preceptor evaluations.
In the rankings below, schools are listed alphabetically within each numerical tier. If you are a prospective student looking into applying to Caribbean medical schools, I recommend considering the schools in the top tiers first, then go down the groups from there. Please check for updates on schools that are “provisionally accredited” or “accreditation on probation” as their accreditation status may change in the near future. Not all schools may be listed. For more information on accreditation, please read The Accreditation Process of Caribbean Medical Schools. For profiles of the schools listed below, please refer to Guide to Caribbean Medical Schools.
Disclaimer: This ranking is based on my own personal research, and is meant to be informational. The credential status of each school may change. These rankings are only based on the status of schools at the time of this writing. There is no authoritative or official ranking of off-shore Caribbean medical schools. This list does not include US domestic schools in Puerto Rico, regional medical schools for Caribbean nationals, nor schools in South or Central America. Not all schools may be included. Like everything else you read on the internet, please verify what you read with your own research, and think critically.
THE 2019 RANKINGS
Tier 1: Accredited, WFME, NCFMEA, NY, CA, Title IV, 5o States
- American University of Antigua (AUA) – accredited by CAAM-HP
- American University of the Caribbean (AUC) – accredited by ACCM
- Medical University of the Americas (MUA) – accredited by ACCM
- Ross University – accredited by CAAM-HP
- Saba University – accredited by NVAO
- St. George’s University (SGU) – accredited by CAAM-HP
Tier 2: Accredited, WFME, NCFMEA, NY
- St. Matthews University (SMU) – accredited by ACCM, CA disapproved
Tier 3: Accredited, WFME, NCFMEA
- Trinity School of Medicine (TSOM) – accredited by CAAM-HP
- University of Medicine and Health Sciences (UMHS) – accredited by ACCM
- Xavier University – accredited by both CAAM-HP and ACCM
Tier 4: Conditionally Accredited, WFME
- Avalon University – Conditional accreditation by ACCM to May 31, 2022.
- All Saints University – Conditional accreditation by ACCM to May 31, 2022.
- St. James School of Medicine (SJSM) – initial provisional accreditation on probation extended for 1 year by CAAM-HP in 2018. Conditional accreditation by ACCM to May 31, 2022.
Tier 5: Provisionally Accredited, WFME
- International American University (IAU) – provisionally accredited by CAAM-HP (2018-2020)
- Spartan Health Sciences University – provisional accreditation extended by CAAM-HP in 2018
- American University of Barbados (AUB) – provisionally accredited by CAAM-HP (2018-2020)
Tier 6: Accredited, non-WFME
- Windsor University – accredited by the Accreditation Board of St. Kitts and Nevis, which is non-WFME and non-NCFMEA. Not accredited by CAAM-HP in 2018.
Tier 7: Accreditation Pending, Accreditation Withdrawn, Accreditation Denied, or Not Accredited
- All American Institute of Medical Sciences (AAIMS) – provisional accreditation withdrawn by CAAM-HP in 2016
- American International Medical University (AIMU) – accreditation denied by CAAM-HP in 2018
- American University of Integrative Sciences (AUIS) – applied for accreditation by CAAM-HP
- American University of St. Vincent (AUS)
- Aureus University – applied for accreditation by ACCM
- Caribbean Medical University (CMU) – accreditation denied by CAAM-HP in 2018
- John F. Kennedy University School of Medicine
- St. Martinus University
- University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA) – applied for accreditation by CAAM-HP
- Washington University of Barbados
Tier 8: Distance Learning
- International University of Health Sciences (IUHS) – accredited by St. Kitts and Nevis Accreditation Board, which is non-WFME and non-NCFMEA.
- University of Science, Arts, and Technology (USAT) – accredited by Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges, and Universities (ASIC), which is non-WFME and non-NCFMEA; not accredited by CAAM-HP in 2012