The first few months after medical school generate various feelings for different medical students who are just about to graduate. It could come with lots of tension, fear, and expectations for different persons. But one thing that is common for every medical student in this phase is the question; ‘What Next?’. What are the opportunities after MBBS in Nigeria?
For some medical students, it may not be so worrisome as they already have many family and friends whose influence could make their career pathway a smooth ride. But for the majority of Medical students, this questions keeps lurking in their minds.
But after some research, discussions, and interviews with older doctors, I discovered there is an abundance of opportunities after medical school in Nigeria which one can go into.
Both abroad, and within the country. From the advice from older doctors, I gathered that before one can be eligible for any of these opportunities; they must have completed their internship and National Youths service corps.
These were summarized into 6 major categories for easier classification and understanding. And they are all discussed in this post with some links to help you get access to the institutions that offer this types of careers in medicine.
You may have already known of some of these pathways, but there are still some which may still be new to you.
6 Career Opportunities and Pathways after MBBS in Nigeria
1. Scholarship Opportunities
One of the best ways to get ahead in your career after studying MBBS is being lucky enough to bag a scholarship to study abroad. Although most of such scholarships can only allow you to complete a Masters program in any course of your choice; usually public health and related courses.
Don’t forget to read more about how to become eligible and apply for these scholarships on each of their websites which is attached on their descriptions.
Scholarship Positions For Medical School Graduates (Both from Nigeria and Elsewhere)
- Chevening Scholarship
Chevening is an international program owned by the Government of the United Kingdom. This scholarship is not just restricted to doctors alone; but also for people who have distinguished themselves in their various careers as leaders willing to impact a global change. The scholarship for the 2021/2022 session is already closed, but as a young medical student, you can read more about them on their website, follow their updates, and stories of successful candidates, and start making plans on how to participate in 2022/2023.
- Other Masters and Ph.D Scholarships in Universities Abroad
There are over a hundred scholarship opportunities for both undergraduate, Masters and Ph.D students all over the world, especially for applicants from countries in Africa. There is a website that was created and dedicated specially to create awareness for such positions.
The website is called Scholarship Positions. Opting-in to receive their newsletters will grant you access to weekly updates on currently open scholarships in different universities all over the world. Most of such scholarships are sponsored by countries like; Canada, Australia, Germany, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Norway, and Poland. Lot’s of opportunities to choose from, make good use of the website.
- World Scholarship Forum
This was previously a forum on social channels; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram founded in 2017 to help students in over 140 countries to get updates on scholarships and internship positions around the world. But today they own a website called World Scholarship Forum, where anyone can find these updates on scholarships right at their fingertips.
2. Residency Programs
This is one of the career opportunities after MBBS in Nigeria.
Residency programs are specialist training doctors receive to help them get specialized knowledge and skills in a particular field of Medical Practice. After the successful completion of this program, you can now be called a Consultant in Medicine or Surgery, depending on where you specialized.
Being a resident doctor in Nigeria is not an easy job at all. Medical students witness the kind of stress these doctors pass through. Let’s take a look at what a typical residency program entails.
Time it Takes To Complete: From 4 to 6 years (or more depending on the specialty).
Also, Read; THE UNFORESEEN: Doctors Get Depressed Too
This is a screening exam designed for doctors who want to enroll into a residency program in Nigeria. It is usually taken after internship and after you must have chosen a specialty you want to go into. It is conducted by either the NPMC or the WAPMC, and a pre-requisite for entering residency program in the country.
After you must have passed this exam, you will proceed further to serve for 2 to 3 years as a junior registrar in a teaching hospital that is recognized by the Medical council.
2. Part 1
After the completion of your 2 to 3 years of service and training in the teaching hospital, you will further face another major exam called Part 1 FMCOG examination. Candidates who succeed in this are further promoted to the Post of Senior Registrar in the teaching hospital.
3. Part 2
Withing the time of your service as a Senior registrar, you will spend two more years preparing for another major exam called the Part 2 and as well provide a book of clinical cases or conduct a research depending on the program. The Senior registrar also has the responsibility of training Medical students and Junior registrars as a pre-requisite for a successful completion the program.
After a successful completion of your Part 2 examination, you should ideally be promoted to the post of Consultants in that particular specialty.
Note that within all these periods, before attaining the level of a consultant, you are being paid in the Teaching Hospital you serve. Current facts on how much is not yet accessible to us.
3. Practicing Abroad
This is one of the career pathways after medical school that is discussed most among MBBS graduates and young doctors in Nigeria. This involves joining the Medical Council of the Country in question, after passing all their licensing examination. There are numerous opportunities in many countries, though they require that you pay some money to register for the licensing exams, and most are too expensive for Nigerians.
Some of the most popular Licensing exams and their issuing countries include:
PLAB (United Kingdom)
USMLE (United States)
MCC (Canada), etc.
Also, Read; How I passed My PLAB 1 exam; Dr. Usman Zahid.
4. Education and Research Programs
This is one of the least discussed career opportunities after mbbs among Medical students and young medical graduates. But this is program is the reason why we still have lecturers who are doctors in our Teaching Hospitals today.
This program involved pursuing a Masters, Ph.D and Professorship programs in various specialties (in the country). Most doctors choose a course a course in the Basic Medical Sciences and specialize there, and within a few years, they have already completed their masters and Ph.D programs to become Professors in the field.
This is one of the surest and most promising pathways after MBBS for Nigerian Medical Students who still want to keep practicing in the country. Their career opportunities include having the opportunity to teach Medical Students and also actually Practicing as doctors at the same time.
5. Private Practice
In recent years, this is losing more relevance as a career option after medical school in the country. Most older doctors advise that before setting up a private practice, that you should try and specialize (Become a consult) in one of the specialties. This is usually the choice for doctors who crave freedom and would like to venture into entrepreneurship.
6. Innovation and Business
This is the last option on this list. And just like private practitioners, the advice is to specialize in any field at all in Medicine or Surgery before embarking on any innovative or business venture.
The reason being that it is always good to have multiple options as backup when things get hard in the country
Finally, there are many other types of careers in medicine after Medical School, options like Politics, Ministerial Appointments, and others that are a bit beyond the scope of this post. But the fact still remains that MBBS graduates have lots of career opportunities to fall back on no matter the situation of things.
This is irrespective of whether you choose to remain in the country, or whether you choose to practice abroad. Though some options appear more promising than others, in the end, it all boils down to one’s personal conviction and personal effort.