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UK GCSE (soon sixth form) student wanting to study medicine in US College/Uni

Hi, I'm currently studying for my GCSE's (which are pretty close now - scary), and by the end of the year I will have started Sixth Form in the UK as well.

I want to know how plausible, expensive, easy/hard, and basically everything else I'd need to know, if I want to study medicine abroad in the US, instead of here in a Uni in the UK.

I've always wanted to move to and live in the US, rather than staying here in England, cause quite frankly its terrible here, and I don't want to end up working for the NHS, which constantly has strikes and everyone complains about. Also, doctors earn a lot more over there than they do here.

I was wondering if anyone has done this sort of thing before, of studying in the UK up to Sixth Form and then going to an American University (specifically to study medicine would be especially helpful), to know what their experience doing this was like, and if they had any important knowledge/advice I'd need to know.

I'm happy to chat about this if anyone has anything I might need to know about my query, and I'm eagerly anticipating responses. I just wanna escape the UK lol
Frankly if you don't like the UK you won't like the US. They have their own set of huge problems, like you'd have to sell your kidney before you afford treatment at a hospital
Reply 2
I understand, but I'd rather be in the US than the UK y'know. I'm open to some other European countries as well, America has just been the one I've wanted to go to since I was a kid. I do get it has problems though. Like, when I have kids, I wouldn't exactly want to put them through the American Education system lol
(edited 1 month ago)
The other thing to consider is that, as I understand it, Medicine is usually taught as a postgraduate course in the US, as in, you'd have to do a bachelors degree then go to medical school after that. Also, the fees are significantly higher without financial aid, which you may not qualify for as easily. University admissions are also very different in the US than in the UK, with extracurriculars being significantly more relevant.
Original post by aluckal-j
Hi, I'm currently studying for my GCSE's (which are pretty close now - scary), and by the end of the year I will have started Sixth Form in the UK as well.

I want to know how plausible, expensive, easy/hard, and basically everything else I'd need to know, if I want to study medicine abroad in the US, instead of here in a Uni in the UK.

I've always wanted to move to and live in the US, rather than staying here in England, cause quite frankly its terrible here, and I don't want to end up working for the NHS, which constantly has strikes and everyone complains about. Also, doctors earn a lot more over there than they do here.

I was wondering if anyone has done this sort of thing before, of studying in the UK up to Sixth Form and then going to an American University (specifically to study medicine would be especially helpful), to know what their experience doing this was like, and if they had any important knowledge/advice I'd need to know.

I'm happy to chat about this if anyone has anything I might need to know about my query, and I'm eagerly anticipating responses. I just wanna escape the UK lol

I would point out that medicine in the US is a postgraduate only degree and you need an undergraduate degree first. Also medical school typically costs about $50,000 per year in tuition, you won't be eligible for any in-state tuition fees as a non-US student, and there is very limited funding for those degrees in the first place much less for international students. So unless you have $200k plus living expenses for four years for the medical degree itself (not even considering the steps needed before that) it's probably a non-starter anyway.

As an American living in the UK I can assure you that the US is far, far worse in many, many ways. Chances are you aren't going to end up living in a cosmopolitan city like NYC, LA, Chicago or similar, but you're going to be living in a middle of nowhere town in Iowa or something. Most of America can be categorised as "middle of nowhere town in Iowa" and I assure you, it's far less glamorous than life in the UK. There's no infrastructure development (think dirt roads or poorly maintained tarmac which is mostly pothole in a lot of locations), rampant monopolies of utilities which mean you have no choice but to accept the only service which is absolutely terrible and expensive, cost of living is often quite high once you account for the fact you need a car and may well be commuting more than an hour a day by car to work, not to mention health insurance is going to eat a very large chunk of your paycheque every month (it will cost more than your NI contributions in the UK), and you will receive worse healthcare in the end anyway.

Also in terms of working as a doctor in the US, from what I've been told it's not quite as great as certain people in the UK make out. I've been told point blank by a doctor working in the US that they are envious how in the UK doctors get to practice actual evidence based medicine - as in the US they are limited by what the patient's insurance will cover and at the end of the day their care plan often gets decided by an unqualified insurance agent on the end of a phone to their patient. Also there is a lot of less evidence based medicine based on prescribing whichever drug has been pushed by drug reps recently (who spend a lot of money "wooing" doctors).

More practically I understand that realistically to earn the most amount of money in the US you need to open your own private practice which requires a lot of entrepreneurial skills and involves a lot more than just practicing clinical medicine. Being based in a major hospital often pays comparatively a fair bit less. Also owning the business creates a lot more medico-legal risk for the doctor I understand (which is generally higher there as USAmericans are pretty litigious people). Which circles back to the comments made to me from the US doctor noted above about not being able to practice "real" medicine due to so much defensive medicine being practiced (which also exists here but there are liability limits within the NHS I gather).

I'd note also that on the topic of medico-legal risk, US doctors pay a lot for indemnity fees which comes out of their own pocket. This is also of course a lot higher for those running their own private practice. So while the salary on paper might be higher, once you start taking out that and other costs, it's not as high as you may think.

Finally I'd point out that even if you graduate from a US medical school, if you don't have a green card or US citizenship you may well find your job search very limited even not being an IMG because of how US working visa sponsorship rules work - you can't be sponsored for a working visa if there is a suitable qualified American applicant willing to take the job. Since in most competitive specialties (which also tend to be the highest paying ones) there will always be such a candidate, this will typically limit you to less competitive and/or desirable specialties, as well as in less preferred areas (the aforementioned random town in Iowa example).
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 5
Original post by artful_lounger
I would point out that medicine in the US is a postgraduate only degree and you need an undergraduate degree first. Also medical school typically costs about $50,000 per year in tuition, you won't be eligible for any in-state tuition fees as a non-US student, and there is very limited funding for those degrees in the first place much less for international students. So unless you have $200k plus living expenses for four years for the medical degree itself (not even considering the steps needed before that) it's probably a non-starter anyway.
As an American living in the UK I can assure you that the US is far, far worse in many, many ways. Chances are you aren't going to end up living in a cosmopolitan city like NYC, LA, Chicago or similar, but you're going to be living in a middle of nowhere town in Iowa or something. Most of America can be categorised as "middle of nowhere town in Iowa" and I assure you, it's far less glamorous than life in the UK. There's no infrastructure development (think dirt roads or poorly maintained tarmac which is mostly pothole in a lot of locations), rampant monopolies of utilities which mean you have no choice but to accept the only service which is absolutely terrible and expensive, cost of living is often quite high once you account for the fact you need a car and may well be commuting more than an hour a day by car to work, not to mention health insurance is going to eat a very large chunk of your paycheque every month (it will cost more than your NI contributions in the UK), and you will receive worse healthcare in the end anyway.
Also in terms of working as a doctor in the US, from what I've been told it's not quite as great as certain people in the UK make out. I've been told point blank by a doctor working in the US that they are envious how in the UK doctors get to practice actual evidence based medicine - as in the US they are limited by what the patient's insurance will cover and at the end of the day their care plan often gets decided by an unqualified insurance agent on the end of a phone to their patient. Also there is a lot of less evidence based medicine based on prescribing whichever drug has been pushed by drug reps recently (who spend a lot of money "wooing" doctors).
More practically I understand that realistically to earn the most amount of money in the US you need to open your own private practice which requires a lot of entrepreneurial skills and involves a lot more than just practicing clinical medicine. Being based in a major hospital often pays comparatively a fair bit less. Also owning the business creates a lot more medico-legal risk for the doctor I understand (which is generally higher there as USAmericans are pretty litigious people). Which circles back to the comments made to me from the US doctor noted above about not being able to practice "real" medicine due to so much defensive medicine being practiced (which also exists here but there are liability limits within the NHS I gather).
I'd note also that on the topic of medico-legal risk, US doctors pay a lot for indemnity fees which comes out of their own pocket. This is also of course a lot higher for those running their own private practice. So while the salary on paper might be higher, once you start taking out that and other costs, it's not as high as you may think.
Finally I'd point out that even if you graduate from a US medical school, if you don't have a green card or US citizenship you may well find your job search very limited even not being an IMG because of how US working visa sponsorship rules work - you can't be sponsored for a working visa if there is a suitable qualified American applicant willing to take the job. Since in most competitive specialties (which also tend to be the highest paying ones) there will always be such a candidate, this will typically limit you to less competitive and/or desirable specialties, as well as in less preferred areas (the aforementioned random town in Iowa example).

Damn, I see. America doesn't seem to be as great as it's glorified to be. Thank you for your response, the information you've shared has really opened my eyes to reality, and not my childhood dreams. Guess I'll stay in the UK then lol

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