Situated in Central Europe, Poland is one of the fastest-developing countries in Europe. As a result of recent internal reform, the Polish educational system has begun to attract more and more international students each year. In addition to semester exchanges, a significant amount of students are choosing to build their lives and careers in Poland, as well.
One of the professions that seem to be blossoming the most is medicine. By opening up its universities and medical system, Poland has welcomed many foreign medical practitioners in the past decade. Because of its economic liberty and high standards of living, many long-practicing doctors are relocating to Poland as well. Therefore, to help in this transition, we look at the steps to become a doctor in Poland.
Steps to Become a Doctor in Poland
1. Those eager to begin their medical careers in Poland will first have to meet the language requirements.
In Poland, all medical practitioners must be fluent in Polish before applying for their medical license. This is a basic step to become a medical doctor in Poland. Language proficiency is determined by an exam administered by the Polish Chamber of Physicians and Dentists.
However, you should not be discouraged by this. Even though Polish has been characterized as a difficult language to learn, it is not impossible. All you need is patience, motivation, and a stimulating language environment. The last one is easily achievable for those who opt to relocate to Poland before beginning their medical careers or for those studying in a Polish medical program.
However, medical students are not required to be fluent in Polish right away. The country offers several medical programs taught completely in English. While studying medicine, you will have a unique opportunity to learn the language through a stimulating and immersive environment.
2. In addition to language fluency, practitioners will also need to hold a medical degree.
Although international medical degrees are accepted, it would be beneficial to obtain them in Poland. For one, Polish medical programs do not set language requirements. Thus, universities such as the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, offer their medical programs completely in English. Even if you are not proficient in Polish upon your arrival, you will be after graduation. In addition, you have the chance to immerse yourself in the culture and become accustomed to the Polish medical system.
Furthermore, Polish medical programs are not attractive solely because of their language of teaching. Rather, these programs are among the cheapest in Europe, bringing in a significant amount of foreign students. Therefore, in addition to a stimulating language environment, you will also be part of a unique international community in Poland.
3. Lastly, to begin your career, you will need to obtain a Polish medical license.
Upon graduation, you are still not a practicing medical doctor. Rather, you need to apply and fulfill all the requirements for a Polish medical license. The first requirement is, of course, your medical diploma, which must be either in Polish originally or translated to Polish before submission.
In addition to a medical degree, all applicants must pass the LEK (Lekarski Egzamin Koncowy), i.e., the Medical Final Exam. All medical graduates are eligible to register for the exam. Furthermore, those who have completed their Polish medical program in English may take the exam in English as well. All interested parties may apply for the exam through the SMK website.
After passing the LEK, you will have to complete a 12-month internship at either a Polish hospital or a medical center. As this is considered practicing medicine, you will need to provide adequate proof of language proficiency before securing your internship.
4. In addition to the aforementioned, foreign medical doctors will need to meet a few additional requirements.
The Polish government distinguishes between EU/EEA and non-EU medical doctors. Therefore, EU/EEA-trained medical practitioners will have an easier time obtaining their medical credentials in Poland. For them, the only major requirement is language proficiency, meaning that they will need to pass the Polish exam administered by the Chamber of Physicians and Dentists.
On the other hand, non-EU practitioners will need extra steps to become a doctor in Poland other than just language proficiency. Firstly, you will need a Polish work and residence permit. However, the former is not something an individual can apply to themselves. Rather, your employer must apply for one for you, meaning you will need to secure a position before uprooting your medical career and life to Poland.
Although the process for foreigners may appear daunting, it has gotten easier in recent years. Namely, Poland has been experiencing a shortage of medical professionals. Therefore, it has made the application process for foreign practitioners much more lenient. This especially applies to EU residents, as all they will truly need is proof of language proficiency and an official translation of their degree.
I hope that you found this article on the steps to become a doctor in Poland informative and helpful. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!