Doctors and nurses applying for positions in the United States can now validate their English language proficiency with OET, the world’s only international English language test specifically for healthcare professionals. The test has been formally recognised by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates|Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (ECFMG®|FAIMER®), the Florida Board of Nursing and the Oregon State Board of Nursing.
ECFMG Certification evaluates whether international medical graduates (IMGs) are ready to enter residency or fellowship programs in the US that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and to obtain a license to practise from a Medical Licensing Authority. ECFMG has identified pathways for meeting the clinical skills requirements for ECFMG Certification for IMGs seeking to enter accredited U.S. residencies or fellowships in 2021 as a result of the suspension of the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) due to Covid-19. These pathways include assessment of English proficiency by OET.
OET’s approval by Nursing regulators in the states of Florida and Oregon will be written into the respective states’ rules by the end of 2020; we will advise those interested in working in these states as soon as their OET results will be accepted.
The grades required of IMGs for ECFMG Certification are a minimum score of 350 (Grade B) on each of the four measured components of the OET (Medicine): Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Nurses applying to Oregon must achieve a minimum of 4 Grade Bs (minimum score of 350) and those nurses applying for licensure in Florida must achieve a minimum of 4 Grade C+s (minimum score of 300).
OET CEO Sujata Stead said she was delighted about the test’s acceptance in the US.
“IMGs and nurses world-wide who would like to enter the US health care system can now do so using an English proficiency test that is designed specifically for them. OET test tasks replicate real-life communication scenarios that they are likely to encounter in the healthcare workplace and are therefore far more relevant to their careers,” she said.
“Moreover,” she added, “with OET now recognised in the US as well as nine other countries, including the UK and Australia, it truly is the healthcare professional’s passport to an international career.”
IMGs can pre-register now to take the OET (Medicine) as early as August 2020. ECFMG will accept OET (Medicine) scores that meet the minimum passing requirements for tests taken on or after 1 July 2018.
We’re working closely with boards around the country to expand recognition to other states. We will let you know as soon as we have firm answers from them.
However, Florida is a member of the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). This means that once you hold a license to practise in Florida, you may apply for a multi-state license, which will allow you to practice across state lines in another eNLC state. View all eNLC States.
OET is recognised by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates|Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (ECFMG®|FAIMER®), the Oregon State Board of Nursing and the Florida Board of Nursing. Below are the minimum required grades set by the ECFMG and each nursing board:
- ECFMG: Grade Bs (350) on each of the four sub-tests of OET Medicine, achieved in a single test sitting
- Oregon: Grade Bs (350) on each of the four sub-tests of OET Nursing
- Florida: 4 Grade C+s (300) on each of the four sub-tests of OET Nursing
The recognitions are currently only for nurses in Florida and Oregon, and eligible International Medical Graduates (IMGs) applying for ECFMG Certification in order to enter US residency and fellowship programs that begin in 2021. We are working closely with other healthcare regulators to get them to accept OET results.
Please see the dates below:
- ECFMG: from August 2020
- Florida: from 18 August 2020
- Oregon: end of 2020 – exact date to be advised
As soon as we have a firm date for Oregon, we will post the news on Facebook so please follow us to make sure you are updated.
ECFMG will accept OET Medicine scores from tests taken on or after 1 July 2018. These scores must meet the minimum passing requirements.
The Florida Board of Nursing and the Oregon State Board of Nursing have not yet advised us whether they will accept scores from earlier OET tests. Please follow us on Facebook, where we will post the news as soon as we have answers from them.
If you are sitting OET in the US, you will need to use a current, valid passport as proof of identity when applying for OET.
You must provide the same valid, current passport as proof of identity on test day. No other identification document will be accepted. If the information provided on test day does not match the information entered on your application, you will not be able to sit OET.
If you will not have a valid, current Passport on test day, you will have to request an Authorisation Letter prior to the OET Application Closing date.
If you would like to know more about accepted ID, please refer to 3.2 of our Test Regulations
As per our agreement with ECFMG|FAIMER, applicants will be booking via a different process so that we can best manage their particular needs as they pursue ECFMG Certification.
I am an applicant with an ECFMG/ USMLE ID. I can see there is a test venue near me so can I book directly, rather than filling in the pre-registration form and waiting to hear back from you?
Yes, you may book here if there is already a venue and date available that suit you.
However, you must still complete the pre-registration form so we can let ECFMG know that you are taking OET to complete your Certification, they can verify your results once they are relased, and we can send you preparation resources to help you succeed.
In the ECFMG form, why do you ask in which country I would like to take the test if you don't have a test venue in my country?
We ask you in which country you would like to take the test because this assists us in planning where we need to open test venues or make other arrangements for you to take the test.
OET has been designed to reflect healthcare workplaces in English-speaking countries. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), who are practising doctors and/or leading academics in their medical fields, provide input into all test materials to ensure that the questions and tasks accurately reflect the healthcare workplace. Our pool of SMEs include several who are based in the USA. They check that the terminology and concepts we use are appropriate and will neither advantage nor disadvantage those who aim to work in the US.
I want to work/train in the US so why do I have to take a test that includes non-US accents and British spelling?
OET has been designed for the international workplace and reflects the diverse reality of most healthcare settings. The test therefore includes British spelling and a range of accents, including Australian, British, American and more. Professionals today are regularly required to communicate with colleagues and patients from different linguistic backgrounds so OET ensures that you are prepared for this reality.
For the Listening sub-test, across all three parts, a range of accents are used to reflect the global nature of the healthcare workforce. Main accents are Australian, American and British. Other accents are Canadian, Irish, New Zealand and South African.
For the Listening, Reading and Writing sub-tests, you will not lose marks if you accurately use any variation of English.
No, we accept both US and British spelling as correct.
Yes, we highly recommend that you still prepare for the test. Familiarising yourself with the test format and assessment criteria can make all the difference to your success on test day. It is not unheard of for those who already have a high standard of English to fail to achieve their desired scores, simply because they didn’t understand what the test tasks were asking of them.
[email protected] is an OET test that you take on computer in your own home or other chosen location, via remote proctoring.
Please note: for the first few months after the test is launched in October, [email protected] seats will be by invitation only. This is so that we can prioritise seats for candidates who are in locations where it is extremely difficult if not impossible to attend a test centre, or who have been deferred longest due to Covid-19. See here for more details about [email protected].
At this stage, while [email protected] remains invite only, we strongly encourage you to book your test at the nearest test venue. If a more convenient test location becomes available afterwards, OET will let you know and allow you to defer your test booking to the more suitable location at no cost.
We’ll be in contact with you regularly to let you know of new test date and location options. You can secure a seat at one of our existing locations and if, after you have made a test booking, a venue that you would prefer opens, you will be able to change your venue at no extra cost.
If you need to change your test booking’s date or location, you can do this through the myOET platform. To change your test date:
- Log in to your myOET account
- Click the small arrow in the action column under My Applications
- Click Defer.
If you cannot see a specific OET test date, it is either full or not running. You will need to choose a different test date to defer too.
You must take OET Medicine by December 31, 2020 to help ensure that your test score is reported in enough time for ECFMG to determine the status of your pathway application and to report that status to the NRMP by the NRMP’s ROL deadline (9.00pm, US Eastern Time on 3 March 2021). However, the earlier you take the test, the better chance you will have of obtaining another test date if you don’t achieve the scores you need.
Please refer to the relevant recognising body for further information:
Note: You cannot yet apply to Florida and Oregon with your OET results: The Nursing Board of Florida and the State Nursing Board of Oregon must first write their approval of OET into their states’ rules. We expect them to do this before the end of 2020.
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