Situated in the cultural heart of Europe, Belgium is one of the culturally and historically richest nations in the world. Due to its geographical position, it represents a bridge between the French culture on one side and the Dutch on the other. This dichotomy is visible even though it’s two official languages – Flemish and French. Those who decide to continue their education and careers in Belgium will have all of Europe in the palm of their hand.

However, Belgium is known for more than just its culture and history. Its international character comes from the fact that many EU institutions are located within the county. Thus, it is often one of the first choices for people looking to relocate their career and life. Furthermore, as it currently has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe, many medical doctors have been deciding to relocate their medical practices here.

Thus, to make this transition easier, this article takes a closer look at all the steps to become a doctor in Belgium.

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Steps to Become a Doctor in Belgium

1. One of the first requirements concerns the language.

For those who may not be aware, there are two official languages in Belgium, Flemish and French. As a future medical professional, you will need to know at least one of the two to work in the medical field. This is especially true for those who get medical posts in rural areas, where people speak English less than in larger cities such as Brussels. Thus, proficiency in Belgium’s official languages is an important step to become a doctor in Belgium.

However, keep in mind that language fluency is not a requirement solely for practicing medical practitioners. It applies to medical students as well. Thus, if you are considering studying medicine in Belgium, make sure to check out the universities’ language requirements first. This way, you have a solid head start and can start working towards your language certificate right now.

2. Once you have decided to become a medical doctor, obtain a medical degree.

Of course, Belgium welcomes foreign doctors from all parts of the world. However, obtaining your medical degree in Belgium does come with more than a few benefits. For one, obtaining a medical degree at a Belgium university means that you will not need a language certificate when applying for a position at a national hospital or medical center. Furthermore, you will immerse yourself in their medical culture and become accustomed to Belgian medical practices and etiquette.

All medical programs in Belgium will take six years of full-time education to complete. This period is equivalent to obtaining both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in any other field. However, all Belgian medical programs have a few prerequisites.

Firstly, all applicants are required to have completed secondary education. Furthermore, as medical programs are highly competitive, only the students with the highest marks will be accepted. In addition to adequate prior education, medical programs also hold an entrance exam. This exam is organized by the Belgian Ministry of Education and is held on the national level.

Once accepted, you will be required to complete two three-year cycles. The first is the equivalent of your bachelor’s studies, while the second represents your master’s program. Nevertheless, even after completing a six-year education and obtaining your degree, you are still not allowed to practice medicine in Belgium. To do this, you must first complete a third educational cycle referred to as an “advanced master’s degree”. This may last between three to six years, depending on your chosen specialty and unlike other countries is a requirement for general practitioners as well.

3. The third education cycle contains another requirement – the residency period.

Namely, during the advanced master’s degree, all medical graduates will need to complete their residency training as well. Based on the demand and need for medical practitioners, the Belgian Federal Government determines the specialization quotas each year. Thus, the amount of positions in a certain medical subfield is subject to change. In addition, a specialized selection test makes the application process even more competitive. This is a very crucial step to become a doctor in Belgium.

4. After completing all the previous steps, all that is left is the medical license.

In Belgium, a medical license is issued by the Medical Association in Belgium, also known as the Ordre des Médecins. All Belgian medical graduates who have completed their third medical cycle are eligible to apply to a ministerial commission for licensing. This process is commonly referred to as a “demand d’agrément” and is the last step before beginning to practice medicine in Belgium.

The process described above is the same for all EU residents who have completed their medical education and training in Belgium. Thus, once they submit their application and are approved, they are free to start looking for medical positions. On the other hand, medical doctors coming from outside of the EU/EEA will have to apply for a work permit as well. Although this may sound complicated, it may be done through a regional employment agency online.

 

I hope that you found this article on the steps to become a doctor in Belgium informative and helpful. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!