Board exams must be passed in order to become a licensed physician. There are three sets of board exams that can potentially be taken. Below, you will find an overview that gives an idea of when each exam is taken in the course of your career. Following the "Overview", there are red buttons for you to click and learning more about the USMLE, COMLEX, or MCC exams and when they are taken.
Board exams are required to become a licensed physician. The American
Osteopathic Association has its own set of board exams - the COMLEX exams.
There are 3 COMLEX exams, parts 1, 2, and 3. Taking the COMLEX series allow
you to apply for AOA (American Osteopathic Association) residency spots.
COMLEX exams are required by osteopathic medical schools for graduation.
To be eligible for MD, or ACGME, residencies, you may be required to take
USMLE Steps 1, 2, and 3. Some ACGME residencies will accept COMLEX scores
in-lieu of USMLE. You must research each program you are interested for their
specific requirements. COMSA highly recommends that Canadian DO students take
USMLE Step I and II to be as competitive as possible. If you plan to return to
Canada to practice medicine, you MUST COMPLETE AN ACGME RESIDENCY (the
only exception is Alberta).
Provincial policies, as well as the steps being taken by the COA and COMSA to
advocate for change, can be found in the Legislation & Advocacy page. These
requirements are constantly in lux, particularly in light of the recently-passed motion
to move toward a single, unified accreditation system between the AOA and ACGME;
but at the present time, in light of current provincial policy, any US DO wishing to practice in
Canada (with the exception of Alberta) must complete an ACGME residency.
The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) has its own exams, which must be successfully passed in order to enroll in a Canadian residency program through the Canadian Residency Matching System (CaRMS). If you plan to apply for a Canadian residency via CaRMS, you must take the MCCEE examination (multiple choice knowledge-based test) and pass the NAC-OSCE (clinical examination). There are 5 provinces that recognize US DO graduates for the purpose of CaRMS. However, matching in Canada outside of Family Practice is still extremely competitive due to the small number of positions. For this reason, it is recommended to complete a US ACGME residency in the event you fail to match into a Canadian residency.
Preparing for and taking the board exams is a very expensive and time-consuming process. Continue on to learn about the USMLE, COMLEX, and MCC examinations. Below is a summary of the timeline for taking your licensing examinations. For details regarding a specific exam, please click the following: