South Korea, the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the world, 4th largest economy in Asia, and 10th in the world, has made a name for its high standard of living, high internet speeds, and railway system. It’s a brilliant opportunity to become a doctor in South Korea and enjoy life there now that the country needs doctors more than before. This article will bring you whatever you need about moving to South Korea as a doctor.
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Immigrate to South Korea as a Doctor
Step 1. Preparatory education
Completing high school or an equivalent education is the first necessary step. Strongly emphasize science subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics to achieve high grades in these areas if you wish to become a doctor in South Korea.
Step 2. Undergraduate education (Bachelor’s Degree)
Medical careers in South Korea typically begin with undergraduate studies. Those who want to enter the medical field typically earn a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a pre-med program. This preparatory education ensures exposure to fundamental science courses that form the basis of medical knowledge and provide a solid academic background.
Step 3. Language proficiency
If you want to become a doctor in South Korea, it is essential to be fluent in Korean. TOPIK is the language proficiency test, which stands for Test of Proficiency in Korean. You need a certificate with a score of 5 or higher to be eligible for the tests. Without such a score, you may not get the license.
Step 4. Pass the medical college admission test
The K-MET, or Korean Medical Education Eligibility Test, is South Korea’s version of the MCAT. This test aims to objectively evaluate a candidate’s level of preparation for medical school by testing their grasp of fundamental concepts in areas such as biology, chemistry, physics, and others. While the specific format and content of the exam may change from year to year, it will typically consist of multiple-choice questions and a written essay or interview section.
Step 5. Study at a Korean university
To become a doctor in South Korea, attend a Korean university. Both international and domestic students must follow the same application process. SAT or TOEFL language proficiency exams are required for admission to 36 medical colleges in South Korea. Visit their websites for information on specific admission requirements. Each university sets its own score standards for these exams.
You’ll spend six years training in a medical school after being admitted. During the first two years, students study subjects such as anatomy and physiology in the classroom. As you progress through the four years of medical school, you will have the opportunity to rotate through different specialties through clinical rotations. Follow your university’s admission guidelines carefully as you begin your academic journey.
There are language and academic requirements for international students. Select a medical school whose interests align with yours, complete the application process, submit proof of financial stability, and apply for a student visa. Strong language proficiency is essential for CSAT testing, which is administered in Korean.
Step 6. Have a doctor’s license and graduation certificate
Let’s continue answering “How to become a doctor in Korea?” A foreigner must first have a license from their home country.
To practice medicine in South Korea after medical school, pass the Korean Medical Licensing Exam (KMLE). The next step is to apply to the Korean Medical Association or the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s medical licensing board. Keep updated on any changes to the certification process and maintain your medical license by attending an accredited university.
The following documents are usually required to get a doctor’s license and graduation certificate in South Korea:
- KMLE Examination Results
- Identification Documents (e.g., passport or national ID)
- Graduation Certificate
- Academic Transcripts
- Application Forms
- Letters of Recommendation (if required)
- Proof of Language Proficiency
- Financial Documents (e.g., bank statements)
- Criminal Background Check (if required)
- Passport Photos
Step 8. Internship and Residency
A one-year internship awaits you after you pass the Korean Medical Licensing Exam (KMLE). You can apply your knowledge in a clinical setting through this hands-on experience.
The next step after your internship is to enter your chosen medical specialty’s residency program, which typically lasts 3-4 years. By completing rotations and patient care, you’ll gain specialized knowledge, develop clinical skills, and work closely with mentors.
Step 9. Board Certification
When you’ve finished your residency and met all the requirements, you can apply for board certification in your field of medicine. This credential attests to your mastery of a specialized field of medicine. Passing additional exams that test your expertise in your field is usually required to earn board certification. Earning board certification is an outstanding feat that demonstrates to patients and peers that you are at the pinnacle of your profession.
Step 10. Continuing Education and Renewal
You must actively participate in continuing medical education to maintain your medical license and stay current. This requires regular attendance at specialty-related seminars, workshops, and training programs. Doctors in South Korea must renew their licenses periodically. CME helps you stay competent and meet license renewal requirements.
Step 11. Practice or Employment
After medical school, internship, residency, and board certification, you’re ready to practice medicine in South Korea. You can work in hospitals, clinics, research, or education. Many South Korean doctors practice clinically. Others choose research to advance medicine or education to train future doctors. Choice of practice or employment depends on interests and career goals. You must apply for a work visa to work in South Korea. The work visa is called an E2 visa.
The Components of the KMLE Exam in South Korea
The question is, “What is the medical License exam in South Korea?” The KMLE exam in Korea (Korean Medical Licensing Examination) tests the abilities of those studying to become medical doctors. The clinical skills test is from September to November, and the written test is in January. Two components make up the KMLE:
- The theoretical knowledge in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, and clinical medicine is tested in the written part.
- The written exam will consist of multiple-choice questions based on medical case studies, images for diagnosis, and hypothetical clinical scenarios.
- Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) are used to evaluate students’ clinical knowledge and proficiency during the practical part of the program.
- Candidates in the OSCEs move around to different stations, each simulating a different clinical situation. Their diagnostic and therapeutic skills, as well as their ability to communicate with standardized patients, are assessed.
How to immigrate to South Korea as a doctor?
To immigrate to South Korea as a doctor, you must go through a multi-step process. The following process is for foreign doctors who have already gotten a license in their country and want to move to South Korea and continue their careers there:
- Eligibility Assessment. Verify that you are in good standing with the South Korean medical board. This typically involves meeting language requirements (fluency in Korean) and holding a valid medical degree.
- Licensing Requirements. To practice medicine in South Korea, you must pass the Korean Medical Licensing Exam (KMLE). The exams and prerequisites you need to take to enter a particular field of medicine will depend on your background and specialization.
- Residency or Fellowship. Applying for a residency or fellowship in South Korea is an option you should consider if you are a medical graduate from outside the country. You can get extra training and learn about the local healthcare system through these programs.
- Work Visa. Get a work permit to work as a doctor in South Korea. You may need a different visa depending on the nature of your work.
- Find a Job. Find employment at a healthcare facility, such as a medical center or clinic. In most cases, this will necessitate in-person meetings and the presentation of supporting paperwork.
- Registration with the Health Authority. Join the Korean Medical Association or the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare to have your credentials officially recognized.
- Medical Practice. You may begin seeing patients once you have completed the necessary steps to establish your medical practice in South Korea.
- Residency or Citizenship. If you’re looking for long-term security, you may want to become a permanent resident or citizen of South Korea.
- Ongoing Education and Licensing. Keep up with the latest CME standards and renew your license as required.
South Korea medical license verification
Contact the Korean Medical Association or visit their website to use their online verification system to confirm a doctor’s credentials in South Korea. The Ministry of Health and Welfare in South Korea can be contacted, as can the hospital or clinic where the doctor or nurse works. If verification is necessary, you may want to use a professional service.
Salary of foreign doctors in South Korea
A doctor in South Korea typically earns an approximate salary of 8,970,000 KRW. There is a range of salaries between 3,350,000 KRW and 15,400,000 KRW.
How long is medical residency in South Korea?
The duration of medical residency in South Korea for international students can vary depending on the chosen medical specialty. There are generally 3 to 4 years of medical residency in South Korea.
How Many Years to Become a Doctor in South Korea?
It is rigorous and time-consuming to become a doctor in South Korea. Timeline, roughly speaking:
- 3 years of high school
- 4 years of Bachelor’s Degree
- 6 years of medical school
- 1 year of internship
- The typical residency lasts between 3 and 7 years, though this varies widely by specialty.
- Preparation time for the Korean Medical Licensing Exam (KMLE) is a significant factor in determining the time needed to become licensed or certified.
- Specialization is elective, and if you go that route, you should plan on spending three to five more years in school.
Best Medical schools in South Korea
- Yonsei University College of Medicine
- University of Ulsan
- Korea University
- Catholic University of Korea
- Sungkwan university
- Seol National Univesity
- Inje University
- Pusan National university
- Kyungpook national university
- Hanyang University College of Medicine
What are the benefits of immigration to South Korea as a doctor?
Foreign doctors in South Korea might find the benefits of immigration to South Korea as a doctor fascinating. Insurance in South Korea costs 4% of your salary, making healthcare affordable. Clinic access is simple and cheap. Pre-pandemic public health was good, and the government managed well due to trust. Low crime creates safety. Though there’s some initial distance, making friends in smaller cities is easy because the people are friendly. Korea offers convenient services, efficient delivery, and advanced technology for a high quality of life. Air quality is good, and math and language education is widespread.
How to become a doctor in South Korea from India?
Indian international students must speak Korean well to become doctors in South Korea. After completing your prerequisites in India:
- Pursue a medical degree.
- Before applying to South Korean medical schools that accept international students, take the K-MET and Korean language tests.
- If you get a student visa, study medicine for six years and do an internship for a year.
South Korea requires passing the Korean Medical Licensing Exam to practice medicine. Select a medical subspecialty. This rigorous process requires time, effort, and strict adherence to educational institution and regulatory body deadlines.
Qualified medical schools accepted in South Korea
The below list of Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare-approved medical schools. If you have a degree from one of this list, you may move to become a doctor in South Korea:
If you have a medical degree from the above list of countries, you can work in South Korea as a doctor.
Let’s sum up…
You can become a doctor in South Korea if you are qualified. This article explains who is eligible to move to South Korea as a doctor and how to do it. You got familiar with the list of approved medical schools in South Korea, and the application process was explained in detail.
If you have questions, write them down in the comment section. Visit the South Korea work visa article from the right sidebar to learn how to get your visa.
Can a foreigner work as a doctor in South Korea?
Specific licensing and language proficiency requirements exist for foreign doctors working in South Korea.
Which doctors are in demand in South Korea?
In South Korea, doctors are in high demand in various specialties, especially internal medicine and surgery.
Can a doctor settle in South Korea?
A licensing process and specific visa requirements must be met before doctors can settle in South Korea.
Which doctor is most needed in Korea?
South Korea has a high demand for general practitioners and specialists, especially in underserved areas.
Is there a shortage of doctors in Korea?
South Korea, especially its rural areas, has a doctor shortage.
Is it easy to become a doctor in South Korea?
Obtaining a medical degree in South Korea is difficult because of rigorous training requirements and a competitive admissions process.
Is a Korean medical degree valid in the USA?
Obtaining a Korean medical degree in the United States is possible, but it is usually subject to additional certifications and exams.
Is being a doctor in Korea good?
There are many career opportunities for doctors in Korea, making it a rewarding profession.
What do you need to work as a doctor in South Korea?
The requirements for becoming a doctor in South Korea include completing medical education, passing licensing exams, and obtaining a visa.
Can a foreigner be a surgeon in Korea?
Licensed foreign surgeons can work in Korea if they meet language proficiency and licensing requirements.
Which doctor is highly paid in South Korea?
The highest-paid doctors in South Korea tend to be surgeons and specialists in fields such as neurosurgery, plastic surgery, and orthopedic surgery.