10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2006
Resident [Any Field]
Thank you in advance for your help. I'm a third year (slightly off cycle and will be a 4th year in late September) medical student interested in EM that is going to delay the 2010 match. My advisor and I talked extensively about the subject and he strongly suggests (given my average academic credentials) that I delay this upcoming match and try for the 2011 match OR have a backup plan like FM or IM and reapply. I don't really want to try the latter. Basically, he states that I would be able to do more away rotations and present myself in a better light than what my application shows. I have decided to do this, but I'm wondering if the gap between med school and residency would be viewed negatively. I've been considering talking with a local community college paramedic program to see what's required for me to test out of their certification and get a job as a paramedic (I'll gain some good experience). I realize most if not all states/facilities require step 3 for moonlighting gigs, but does anyone know if there are any other opportunities available. Thanks!

p.s. I'm currently in Texas, but I'd appreciate any advice you may have.


10+ Year Member
May 31, 2009
Attending Physician
i would say better if you could do some sort of job as a paramedic or TA type position at your medical school in the in between time.


10+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2006
Attending Physician
How do you define 'average'. I would say that US Allopathic graduates who are stone cold 'average' have a GREAT shot at getting into Emergency Medicine Residency...

I was spot in the middle of my US Medical School class, scored just below avg on Step 1 and Step 2, no publications.... I applied to around 50 programs, has 14 interview offers, turned 2 down, ranked 11 spots and ended up at a place near the top of my list...

Unless you have some HUGE red flags (failed a Step, Failed some classes, etc), I think you should apply to EM this year full guns ahead and you will most likely match. I think that 'taking a year off' is generally regarded as a poor idea. If by some change you DONT match, your backup plan should be a Prelim year in Surg or IM, then reapply the second year around...

Just my 0.02..
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Only issue I could see is that if you don't graduate by July 1, you won't get licensed and won't be able to work until you are. Some places will work with that, but others will not.
I think a better backup plan is to reapply the next year if you don't match, not to sign up for a residency you don't want.


Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2005
Resident [Any Field]
One option might be doing research with an EM faculty. Also worth asking your school if you can do extra rotations or if you would have to pay tuition.

Ask about the medic but I haven't heard of too many places where you can test out of medic. Also the truth is that there are a lot of things that paramedics learn in their classes that aren't taught in medical school (how to run a scene, HAZMAT considerations, extracation, splinting etc.) Also medics don't have to know that many drugs but what they do know they have to know cold (dosages, indications and contraindications etc) I think with some additional training most EM attendings would do fine as a medic but the average medical student certainly isn't ready to just challenge a test and work as a medic.
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