Establish an observership for international medical graduates


An Observership Program may be established by a medical association or interested group of physicians to assist international medical graduates (IMGs) who wish to observe clinical practice in a U.S. setting. 

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These programs should acculturate international medical graduates to American medical practices and help prepare them for residency. Programs typically last from two to four weeks per rotation or specialty. Observers can rotate among several specialties to create a longer experience.

Observership programs are not intended to be organized for profit. Physicians in each specialty should volunteer their time and efforts.

Actual costs (administrative fees, immunizations, etc.) may be itemized and paid for by the observer.

The advice contained in the observership guidelines packet (DOC) is designed to be used as a template for physicians and medical associations seeking to establish an observership program.

The guidelines packet includes:

  • Learning objectives for the observership
  • Eligibility and responsibilities of physician preceptors
  • Eligibility of observers
  • Sample letter templates
  • Application forms for physician preceptors and observers
  • Evaluation forms

Permission from the hospital and/or department chair of the physician should be obtained before beginning the observership program.

Because each medical licensing jurisdiction has its own regulations, program organizers should check with their local boards to see if there are restrictions on or requirements for medical observerships in their state or territory.

For a list of available observerships, visit our observership program listings for international medical graduates page.

If you would like to have your program listed on the AMA website, submit the application, and use the template to provide us with the necessary information.

For additional questions, contact the International Medical Graduate Section at [email protected].

The American Medical Association (AMA) is not an oversight or accreditation entity. These guidelines are for informational purposes only.